50 Best Leif Babin Quotes On Leadership and Extreme Ownership

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Below is a list of the 50 Best Leif Babin Quotes that we’ve highlighted from the former NAVY Seal and New York Times best selling author. 

When it comes to leadership, there are few people that know more about it than Leif Babin. He’s a former Navy SEAL now turned best selling co-author of Extreme Ownership with Jocko Willink who spends his life traveling the world to inspire people to take responsibility for their own actions.

His brutally honest approach to teaching leadership has been transforming the lives of people around the world. His formula for taking control of your life has rung true especially with athletes as well.

The reason why is because Leif Babin preaches ownership and accountability. His books are full of anecdotal stories from his experiences in life that hone in one on central message: You can’t take control of your life until you take ownership of your excuses.

If you’re looking for some leadership quotes on accountability, all you have to do is check out the following list of our favorite Leif Babin quotes. We know that you’ll find some in there that will help you take ownership and win the day.

The 50 Best Leif Babin Quotes

50. “A leader has nothing to prove, but everything to prove.” – Leif Babin

49. “A leader must be a true believer in the mission. Even when others doubt and question the amount of risk, asking, “Is it worth it?” the leader must believe in the greater cause.” – Leif Babin

48. “If a leader does not believe, he or she will not take the risks required to overcome the inevitable challenges necessary to win.” – Leif Babin

47. “As a leader, your default setting should be aggressive — proactive rather than reactive.” – Leif Babin

46. “If your boss isn’t making a decision in a timely manner or providing the necessary support for you and your team, don’t blame the boss. First, blame yourself. Examine what you can do to better convey the critical information for decisions to be made and support allocated.” – Leif Babin

45. “In chaotic, dynamic, and rapidly changing environments, leaders at all levels must be empowered to make decisions. Decentralized Command is a key component to victory.” – Leif Babin

44. “Ask questions until you understand why so you can believe in what you are doing and you can pass that information down the chain to your team with confidence, so they can get out and execute the mission.” – Leif Babin

43. “Combat is reflective of life, only amplified and intensified.” – Leif Babin

42. “Discipline — strict order, regimen, and control — might appear to be the opposite of total freedom — the power to act, speak, or think without any restrictions. But, in fact, discipline is the pathway to freedom.” – Leif Babin

41. “Discipline equals freedom.” – Leif Babin

#40 of the Best Leif Babin Quotes – “Discipline in such a situation started with the little things: high-and-tight haircuts, a clean shave everyday, and uniforms maintained. With that, the more important things fell into place: body armor and helmets worn outdoors at all times, and weapons cleaned and ready for use at a moment’s notice. Discipline created vigilance and operational readiness, which translated to high performance and success on the battlefield.”

39. “Discipline starts every day when the first alarm clock goes off in the morning. The moment the alarm goes off is the first test; it sets the tone for the rest of the day. The test is not a complex one: when the alarm goes off, do you get up out of bed, or do you lie there in comfort and fall back to sleep? If you have the discipline to get out of bed, you win — you pass the test. If you are mentally weak for that moment and you let that weakness keep you in bed, you fail. Though it seems small, that weakness translates to more significant decisions. But if you exercise discipline, that too translates to more substantial elements of your life.” – Leif Babin

38. “Every leader must be able to detach from the immediate tactical mission and understand how it fits into strategic goals.” – Leif Babin

37. “I had to take complete ownership of what went wrong. That is what a leader does — even if it means getting fired. If anyone was to be blamed and fired for what happened, let it be me.” – Leif Babin

36. “Extreme Ownership is a mind-set, an attitude.” – Leif Babin

35. “Human beings are generally not capable of managing more than six to ten people, particularly when things go sideways and inevitable contingencies arise.” – Leif Babin

34. “If frontline troops are unclear about the plan and yet are too intimidated to ask questions, the team’s ability to effectively execute the plan radically decreases.” – Leif Babin

33. “If you don’t understand or believe in the decisions coming down from your leadership, it is up to you to ask questions until you understand how and why these decisions are being made.” – Leif Babin

32. “Some of the boldest, most successful plans in history have not come from the senior ranks but from frontline leaders. Senior leaders simply had the courage to accept and run with them.” – Leif Babin

31. “It is essential to develop a standardized planning process.” – Leif Babin

#30 of the Best Leif Babin Quotes – “Leaders must have a competitive spirit but also be gracious losers. They must drive competition and push themselves and their teams to perform at the highest level. But they must never put their own drive for personal success ahead of the overall mission success for the greater team.”

29. “We have to own everything in our world. That’s what Extreme Ownership is all about.” – Leif Babin

28. “Leading people is the most challenging and, therefore, the most gratifying undertaking of all human endeavors.” – Leif Babin

27. “Once the wheels were in motion and the full resources of the team were engaged in that highest priority effort, I could then determine the next priority, focus the team’s efforts there, and then move on to the next priority.” – Leif Babin

26. “Overconfidence was risky in such a hostile environment, a mistake most often made by warriors who had never truly been tested.” – Leif Babin

25. “The American public and much of the Western World lived in willful naivete of the barbaric, unspeakable tactics these jihadis employed. It was subhuman savagery. Having witnessed this repeatedly, in our minds and those of the people who suffered under their brutal reign, the muj deserved no mercy.” – Leif Babin

24. “The most important question had been answered: “Why?”” – Leif Babin

23.“The SEAL Teams and the U.S. military, much like militaries throughout history, are based around building blocks of four-to-six man teams with a leader.” – Leif Babin

22.“The book derives its title from the underlying principle — the mind-set — that provides the foundation for all the rest: Extreme Ownership. Leaders must own everything in their world. There is no one else to blame.” – Leif Babin

21.“The goal of all leaders should be to work themselves out of a job. When mentored and coached properly, the junior leader can eventually replace the senior leader, allowing the senior leader to move on to the next level of leadership.” – Leif Babin

#20 of the Best Leif Babin Quotes – “The leader is truly and ultimately responsible for everything.”

19. “That “us versus them” mentality was common to just about every level of every chain of command, whether military unit or civilian corporation. But breaking that mentality was the key to properly lead up the chain of command and radically improve the team’s performance.” – Leif Babin

18. “The temptation to take the easy road is always there. It is as easy as staying in bed in the morning and sleeping in. But discipline is paramount to ultimate success and victory for any leader and any team.” – Leif Babin

17. “There can be no leadership when there is no team.” – Leif Babin

16. “You’ve got to be a leader and take charge and not wait for others to solve problems, but also be a follower and go with others’ plans and execute as if it’s your own.”  – Leif Babin

15. “If you’re an overbearing leader that’s constantly in people’s face or raising your voice and losing your temper with people, it doesn’t work. It’s not effective.” – Leif Babin

14. “They didn’t have to jump for joy at the though of fighting alongside Iraqi soldiers on a dangerous battlefield. But they did have to understand why they were doing it so that they could believe in the mission.” – Leif Babin

13. “To implement real change, to drive people to accomplish something truly complex or difficult or dangerous — you can’t make people do these things. You have to lead them.” – Leif Babin

12. “Waiting for the 100% right and certain solution leads to delay, indecision, and an inability to execute.” – Leif Babin

11. “When setting expectations, no matter what has been said or written, if substandard performance is accepted and no one is held accountable — if there are no consequences — that poor performance becomes the new standard. Therefore, leaders must enforce standards.” – Leif Babin

Top 10 Leif Babin Quotes On Leadership & Extreme Ownership

10. “Leadership doesn’t just flow down the chain of command, but up as well.” – Leif Babin

leif babin quotes on leadership chain of command

9. “Leadership is not black and white. It works only in the grey area.” – Leif Babin

best leif basin quotes leadership is not black and white

8. “The leader is truly and ultimately responsible for everything.” – Leif Babin

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7. “Leadership requires belief in the mission and unyielding perseverance to achieve victory.” – Leif Babin

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6. “It’s not what you preach. It’s what you tolerate.” – Leif Babin

best leif basin quotes on leadership its not what you preach

5. “There are no bad teams, there are only bad leaders.” – Leif Babin

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4. “Good leaders don’t make excuses. Instead, they figure out a way to get it done.” – Leif Babin

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3. “Ego clouds and disrupts everything.” – Leif Babin

leif babin quotes ego clouds everything

2. “If you allow the status quo to persist, you can’t expect to improve performance, and you can’t expect to win.” – Leif Babin


1. “When personal agendas become more important than the team and the overarching mission’s success, performance suffers and failure ensues.” – Leif Babin

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If you loved our list of the best Leif Babin quotes, we know that you will love this list of the best Jocko Willink quotes to help teach you how to live a life of hard work, integrity and discipline.

And, you can pick up Leif’s new book that he co-wrote with Jocko Willink, The Dichotomy of Leadership: Balancing the Challenges of Extreme Ownership to Lead and Win, on Amazon today.