I recently had the chance to get up before dawn and spend a day learning about leadership from two former US Navy SEAL commanders, Jocko Willink and Leif Babin.

Willink led SEAL Team 3 Task Unit Bruiser, the most highly decorated special operations unit of the Iraq War, and Babin was his second in line, the more senior of two platoon commanders. They formed a leadership consulting firm called Echelon Front in 2010, their 2015 book “Extreme Ownership” became a New York Times bestseller, and Willink’s podcast is one of the most popular in the country.

Willink and Babin invited me and Business Insider video producer Joe Avella to their two-day “Muster” conference in New York in May and waived the roughly $2,500 fee.

I attended the first day of Muster in full, and even though I had read their book and interviewed them a few times before, I picked up some practical insights that I could take back to the office. But still, while I understood the intense discipline and responsibility that the concept of “extreme ownership” entails, I wondered how the guys thought that dynamic should play out beyond the relationship between commander and direct report, manager and employee.


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