During his deployment in Iraq in 2006, Jocko Willink oversaw about 100 people as the commander of US Navy SEAL Team 3 Task Unit Bruiser.
In an episode of his podcast, Willink explained that he developed a habit that could annoy his troops but also serve as a real motivator.
From the podcast:
“One of my direct subordinates, one of my guys that worked for me, he would call me up or pull me aside with some major problem, some issue that was going on. And he’d say, ‘Boss, we’ve got this, and that, and the other thing.’ And I’d look at him and I’d say, ‘Good.’
“And finally one day he was telling me about some issue that he was having, some problem, and he said, ‘I already know what you’re going to say.’
“And I said, ‘Well, what am I going to say?’
“He said, ‘You’re gonna say, Good. He said, ‘That’s what you always say. When something is wrong and going bad, you always just look at me and say, Good.'”
Willink wasn’t being snide or dismissive. Rather, he was forcing his troops to find a way to grow from a failure or challenge they were having difficulty overcoming.
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