Navy SEAL commanders reveal the two mistakes that all new leaders always make
Being a Navy SEAL is obviously incredibly stressful, and not just any old person can stroll up to the job centre and sign on for the role. It takes years of training to hone the physical and mental abilities needed to become a good naval officer, and even more time to be fit for leadership.
As with any job, though, there are people that are better at it than others - and even those who go on to succeed in their field often make simple mistakes at the beginning.
In an interview with Business Insider, Jocko Willink and Leif Babin, two former senior Navy SEALs, revealed the two major mistakes that people in their field often made - and also how those mistakes can affect those in 'regular' jobs, too.
The first mistake, Willink explains, is that new leaders think they have to know everything. Realistically, though, they won't.
Sure, they might have worked their way up the ranks and seen what previous superiors did before them, but they only understand that from an outside perspective. A senior role is still a new role if you've only just started it, and therefore there's no shame in asking for some help.
"The best possible thing you can do as a new leader is, if there’s something that you don’t know, raise your hand and say, ‘Hey guys, I’m new at this. Do you know a better way to do this?’ or, ‘Do you know how to do this?’ or, ‘Can you give me a hand?'" Willink said.
According to the former Task Unit Bruiser, the reason that new leaders don't ask for help is that they're afraid of losing trust and respect. On the contrary, though, honesty from a leader will increase those things.
"So don’t worry about saying, ‘I don’t know something,'" Willink said. "It’s perfectly fine. You just showed up! No one expects you to know everything. Relax. And ask some questions."
Babin, meanwhile, pointed out the second error: new leaders think their problems are unique.
"And they think their problems are harder than everyone else’s problems," he said. "It’s very common. I’ve fallen into that trap, as well.
"This tendency is ultimately about shifting responsibility. Because as long as you’re making excuse for yourself, an excuse for your team, you’re never going to actually solve the problems that are causing you to not perform the way you should, and therefore you’re going to keep repeating those same mistakes. Step up, find a way to solve those problems, and win."
Realistically, the problems you face in a job won't be unique, and someone else has probably had to deal with them before.
So, even if you're not a Navy SEAL, there's obviously some great advice here: don't be afraid to ask for help in a new role, and don't assume that you are alone in your problems. Workplaces always function better when everybody works cohesively - so nobody's going to respond badly if all you're trying to do is make that happen.