How do I get others to take ownership?  

Powered by RedCircle


Leif Babin is a former Navy SEAL officer, co-author of the New York Times best-sellers, “Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win” and “The Dichotomy of Leadership.” He is  President/Co-founder of Echelon Front, a premier leadership training and education firm.


How Do You Get Others To Take Extreme Ownership?

When it comes to taking ownership, perhaps the most frequently asked question we get at Echelon Front is: How do I get others to take ownership?

In the workplace, the question is often directed toward a peer who dropped the ball on something, at a boss who blames the team for under performance, or toward a team that isn’t getting the job done to a leader’s satisfaction.

On the home front, the question is often directed toward a spouse who reacts negatively to even the most constructive criticism, kids who won’t listen, or toward parents or siblings who refuse needed help or guidance.

Everywhere, in human interactions, we see others who could benefit if they would only stop making excuses, accept feedback, put their ego in check and take ownership.

So, how do you get others to take ownership?

You Take Ownership

The most successful people don’t cast blame. They don’t make excuses. Instead of complaining about challenges or setbacks, they develop solutions and solve problems. They leverage assets, relationships, and resources to get the job done. Their own egos take a back seat to the mission and their team, whether on the work front, or in their family on the home front. These people, no matter their title or position in an organization, are leaders. And eventually, the people around them start to take ownership as well.

When you take ownership, others start to follow. When you check your ego, others check theirs. When you take ownership of what you could have done better to improve a situation, others are willing to do the same.

When people take ownership, problems get solved. Performance accelerates. Extreme Ownership spreads until it becomes part of the culture. It doesn’t happen overnight. But it will happen. And your team (whether a company, organization, or family) becomes unstoppable.

Extreme Ownership isn’t about anybody else. It’s all about you. So, start taking ownership yourself, and you will see the huge difference it makes in everyone you interact with, both in business and in life.

Real-World example:

A father asked me: How do I get my teenage son to listen to me? He was clearly a concerned parent who only wanted to help his son succeed in life. But, despite the father’s best efforts, he told me his son seemed to resist any guidance given to him.

I asked the father: “Did you listen to your dad when you were a teenager?” I know I didn’t—not near as often as I should have.

The point: most teenagers don’t listen to their parents. This is a common thing. So how do you improve this?

It’s all in the approach. Directly confronting someone and telling them they need to stop making excuses and start taking ownership is most likely to deliver the OPPOSITE OUTCOME of what is desired. Instead of accepting the feedback, the person gets defensive. Instead of taking ownership, they point fingers, cast blame, and make excuses. This is the situation this father was dealing with. In trying to get his son to take ownership of the things he needed to improve upon, he was pointing fingers and putting all the blame on his son.

Instead of directly confronting his son about where he was failing and how he needed to improve, I advised the father to start by taking ownership himself. Where could he do a better job of explaining the why, of listening to his son and learning about the challenges he was dealing with, of developing a stronger relationship with a greater ability to influence his son to get on the path toward success?

The more ownership the father took, the more ownership his teenage son would take as result.

The pathway to get others to take ownership is to take ownership yourself.

For Action:

Identify one relationship that needs improvement and examine where you can take ownership.

Focus on a specific person you might be frustrated with, on whom you’ve been casting blame, or making excuses as to why they aren’t taking ownership. Write down three ways you will take ownership to improve that relationship and solve the problem going forward.

Leadership Development & Alignment Program | (LDAP)

OVERVIEW: Leadership Development and Alignment Programs are highly interactive engagements that match clients with a dedicated team of Leadership Instructors who work in group settings, small team setting, and one-on-one to identify and address the most pressing leadership challenges facing the organization. Each program is co-created and customized with Echelon Front and the client and built to meet specific needs and objectives. Programs range from 3 months – 24 months and can incorporate training sessions with any and every level of leadership within an organization. LDAP clients have full access to individual and team assessments, workbooks, our web-based training platform, one-on-one coaching and advising, and the EF “Tank” which taps into the collective knowledge of the entire EF team including Jocko.


RESULTS: A nucleus for building a culture of ownership in your organization. These outcome and metric-based programs provide clients with an extensive knowledge of the principles and application of Extreme Ownership, immense personal and professional growth as leaders, and organizational and individual implementation plans for improvement and sustainment. It’s the most practical leadership training in the market today. We build custom programs that fit each organization’s unique context and learning objectives. These programs transform large groups of leaders, managers, and frontline employees by connecting Extreme Ownership leadership principles to the daily challenges your organization faces. We work with clients by utilizing a variety of building blocks to create the right solutions and ensure lasting impact by helping to tie these solutions to the enduring impact.

Leadership Assessments

EF assesses organizational health and creates alignment around what needs to change to unlock growth. Sound diagnostic expertise – coupled with strong interpersonal coaching – transforms teams, creates a culture of performance, and positions companies for high performance, and positions companies for high achievement. These can be run as organizational, individual, or 360 assessments all centered around the principles of Extreme Ownership.

Instructor-led Training, In-Person or Virtual Options

In-person and virtual training options introduce key leadership principles through an engaging workshops/webinars utilizing practical application exercises, role play scenarios, fire team immediate action drills and open Q&A sessions. Generates excitement and provides a common language to discuss leadership challenges and principles to apply in order to solve problems.

Leadership Sustainment Training

This interactive program is designed to train individuals or small teams through a detailed, multi-tiered certification program. Using the expertise of EF Senior Instructors and the vast resources of EFOnline, leaders can train and certify to facilitate and eventually instruct on the principles taught initially by EF. This critical process is what allows companies to continue a self-sustaining leadership culture long after the engagement with EF has completed.

Web-Based Training –

A scalable, cost effective model that provides 24-7 access to EF content and leadership instructors. The training includes video lessons, interactive decision-making scenarios, quizzes, self-reflection exercises, downloadable tools among others. The lessons are pragmatic, applicable, and geared toward every level of leadership. When applied, these lessons will actually make your people better leaders and change the culture of your organization.

Co-creation of Leadership Development Programs

We provide thought partnership to integrate Extreme Ownership leadership principles into existing leadership development programs or completely new training programs. Using the framework of EF’s Leadership Development Model, we can support from the instructional design phase through the implementation of these highly transformative programs.

Leadership Coaching and Strategic Advising

Sessions with EF Instructors will enable personalized growth, development and live problem solving of leadership challenges. During our engagements, Executive teams will have access to EF instructors for regular check points. Team-wide advising programs foster seismic shifts for both individuals and organizations.

“Right-up front, let me say that this is the best outside training that I have received in nearly 41 years of my career. I only wish I had another 5-10 years here…to see where we are headed“

Online Leadership Training

Get on-demand leadership training from Echelon Front Instructors. Premium and Free courses are available. Sign up now.