3 min

What makes a good team member‪?‬ The Extreme Ownership Rundown

    • Careers

What makes a good team member?

“What makes a good SEAL?” Jocko asked a group of leaders at one of Echelon Front’s Field Training Exercises. Having worked closely with Jocko since 2005, I often know the answer to the questions he poses. But I wasn’t exactly sure which direction he was going with this one.

“It’s not the best shooter, or the best diver, or the best jumper, or the best in any other skillset required in the SEAL Teams,” Jocko explained. “The best SEAL is the person that puts the team before themselves.”

As soon as I heard Jocko’s answer, I knew that was exactly right. I worked with SEALs who were highly skilled individuals in particular skillsets. But if they didn’t put the team first—if they only looked out for themselves—they were not the ones hand-selected for a critical mission. The SEALs that put self-interest ahead of the team or the mission never achieved the respect and admiration of their peers. But the SEALs who put the team first were highly respected, admired among their peers, as well as by their chain of command.

A good team member puts the team before themselves.

What makes a good team member?

“What makes a good SEAL?” Jocko asked a group of leaders at one of Echelon Front’s Field Training Exercises. Having worked closely with Jocko since 2005, I often know the answer to the questions he poses. But I wasn’t exactly sure which direction he was going with this one.

“It’s not the best shooter, or the best diver, or the best jumper, or the best in any other skillset required in the SEAL Teams,” Jocko explained. “The best SEAL is the person that puts the team before themselves.”

As soon as I heard Jocko’s answer, I knew that was exactly right. I worked with SEALs who were highly skilled individuals in particular skillsets. But if they didn’t put the team first—if they only looked out for themselves—they were not the ones hand-selected for a critical mission. The SEALs that put self-interest ahead of the team or the mission never achieved the respect and admiration of their peers. But the SEALs who put the team first were highly respected, admired among their peers, as well as by their chain of command.

A good team member puts the team before themselves.

3 min