A Summary of the Main Idea of

The Dichotomy of Leadership

Balancing the Challenges of Extreme Ownership

By Jocko Willink and Leif Babin (2019)
Leadership is always a balancing act.

Great leaders know when to lead out and when to be good followers instead. They also sense when to aggressively maneuver and when it's better to pause and let things sink in. Great leaders take ownership of results without becoming too extreme.

Specifically, to become a great leader you've got to learn how to balance the big three dichotomies which leaders face all the time: To become a better leader, find and maintain the right balance.

Every behavior or characteristic carried out by a leader can be taken too far. Leaders can become too extreme and upset the balance required to effectively lead a team. When balance is lost, leadership suffers and the team’s performance rapidly declines.
Jocko Willink and Leif Babin
Balance in leadership is crucial to victory. It must be monitored at all times and it must be modulated to specific situations as they arise. It is not easy to maintain the constant shift, continual modulation, and frequent adjustment necessary to balance all the dichotomies across every spectrum of leadership characteristics. Yet this skill is essential for effective leadership. Every good leader must develop the ability to recognize, understand, and adjust that balance. While it isn’t easy, through knowledge, disciplined practice, and sustained effort, anyone can master finding the equilibrium in the Dichotomy of Leadership. Those who do will dominate their battlefield and lead their teams to victory.
Jocko Willink and Leif Babin
JOCKO WILLINK and LEIF BABIN served as U.S. Navy SEAL officers in the Naval Special Warfare Task Unit. This unit was the most highly decorated special operations unit of the Iraq War. After leaving the Navy, Babin and Willink formed Echelon Front, a leadership training company which takes their military experiences and uses that to teach businesspeople how to build, train and lead high performance teams. Willink and Babin are the authors of Extreme Ownership which was a New York Times bestseller. Jocko Willink is also the author of Discipline Equals Freedom, Way of the Warrior Kid and Marc's Mission. Jocko Willink is a graduate of the University of San Diego. Leif Babin graduated from the United States Naval Academy.