How Will YOU Use Your Leadership Power?

Man holding globe powerfully under arm.

Happy October GLC Readers!  

It’s a big month for Bill and me, as our book The Leadership Killer: Reclaiming Humility in an Age of Arrogance, will be officially released on October 30th! I can’t wait for you to read it, because it highlights hubris (aka BIG EGO) as the single most lethal leadership flaw, and offers insightful stories and actionable strategies to the reader to help them become, and more importantly stay, a more effective, confident, and humble leader.

The book also helps the reader answer two timeless leadership questions: “How will I use my leadership power?”, and Will you lead or will you rule?”  It’s a timely book for what is currently happening in our country and in the world today and I’m confident you’ll enjoy its perspective!

Various versions of The Leadership Killer book.

When I first got into the SEALs, there were a lot of senior officers and enlisted leaders who tried to change me into a more vocal and “in your face” type of leader because they didn’t like my more reserved and stoic way of doing business. They were always quick to point out that SEALs and what they did was special, and that leading these super warriors required officers who were louder and more gung ho than the norm.

I felt these seasoned leaders didn’t want to take the time to understand that my style was more comfortable and effective for me than it may have been for them or my fellow junior officer contemporaries.

This “professional development” advice always surprised me, because I had never failed to get the job done in any of my SEAL leadership billets. These folks just felt that I needed to be more vocal. It was this poor “my way or the highway” leadership advice that kept me from asking anyone to be my mentor (or “sea daddy”).

I felt these seasoned leaders didn’t want to take the time to understand that my style was more comfortable and effective for me than it may have been for them or my fellow junior officer contemporaries.

But, to appease leadership (and keep my performance rankings high), I tried to become that more vocal leader, an officer more “out there.” What I quickly realized was that this style wasn’t me and that the only thing I was becoming was a more ineffective ruler, and not a more effective leader.

I also found myself becoming more of a bad person, my growing hubris consistently compromising my core values and blocking my ability to use my leadership power to its fullest (and best) extent, just so that I could be louder.

What I quickly realized was that this style wasn’t me and that the only thing I was becoming was a more ineffective ruler, and not a more effective leader.

So, much to the dismay of my senior officers, I reverted back to the leadership style that best worked for me.

Did I take heat for it? Absolutely! But what I learned is that to be the best leader I could be, I needed to be true to myself and not listen to those who were trying to change me into someone that I wasn’t comfortable being.

Team being lead by powerful and effective leader.

Coach’s tip(s) for this month: Be true to yourself as a leader, and fight the urge towards becoming a supervisor someone else thinks you should be! It will require some intestinal fortitude on your part, but in the end, seniors and followers will respect you more for standing your ground!


APT John “Coach” Havlik, USN (Ret), retired from the Navy in 2014 after 31 years of distinguished service in the Naval Special Warfare (SEAL) community. He has served on SEAL teams on both coasts, including the famed SEAL Team SIX. Coach completed graduate studies at the Naval War College in Newport, RI, receiving an M.A. in National Security and Strategic Studies. He graduated from West Virginia University with a B.S. in Business Administration and is a 2017 inductee into the WVU Sports Hall of Fame.

Coach Havlik is a Special Advisor to Giant Leap Consulting and regularly speaks about leading high-performance teams under arduous and stressful conditions. John Havlik and Bill Treasurer are authors of the forthcoming book, The Leadership Killer: Reclaiming  Humility In an Age of Arrogance (October 2018).

About John Havlik

CAPT John “Coach” Havlik, U.S. Navy SEAL (Retired), led special operations teams around the world during his 31-year naval career, to include the Naval Special Warfare Development Group, the SEAL’s most elite operational unit. CAPT Havlik was a nationally-ranked swimmer, and is a member of the West Virginia University Sports Hall of Fame and Mountaineer Legends Society. @CoachHavlik www.CoachHavlik.com

What People Are Saying

Join The Conversation