• erikbentzel

Third Platoon: Laws of Combat and Principles of Leadership... (pages 32-51)

Updated: Sep 23, 2020

C. Third Platoon: Overstepping my Bounds

In a training exercise, the platoon was “attacked by the enemy”. The platoon commander hesitated in giving a command, and in that absence, the author gave one to retreat. While his command was tactically correct, not allowing the commander time to give his command of the attack caused the training mission to not be successful. While the author was working under an old military maxim of “In the absence of orders, lead”, he admittedly was in the wrong. He learned that he needed to check his ego for the good of the mission and platoon commander.

I served for three years in the U.S. Army. I learned a lot about myself and why the Army does things. One major takeaway was following the chain of command. It is infused in my leadership style. If one of my staff steps out of bounds, I do not jump to conclusions because I could be part of the problem. I look at it as an opportunity for growth and strengthening of our relationship.

D. Laws of Combat and Principles of Leadership

The author had many deployments in active combat situations. The fiercest was in the Battle of Ramadi where he led SEAL Team Three, Task Unit Bruiser. Most of these experiences are shared in his first two books. After returning the state-side, the author oversaw tactical training for the West Coast SEAL Teams. During one particularly intense training exercise, he witnessed “…an absolute disaster. A complete and utter failure”. It was at this point; he merged his successes in Ramadi with the tactical failures he just witnessed to develop his Laws of Combat: Cover and Move, Simple, Prioritize and Execute, and Decentralized Command.

My first blog examined the author’s first book, Extreme Ownership ( The author can take battle situations he was part of, relate them to one of his Laws of Combat, and then how that Law then relates to the real-world examples. It is a fascinating read and I highly recommend it.

E. The Power of Relationships

The importance of relationships, not just with those above you, but also your peers and those how to serve underneath you are imperative in building a strong team. “The better the relationship, the more open and effective communication there is. The more communication there is, the stronger the team will be”. The author states the easiest way to build a healthy relationship with your boss is through performance. The successful completion of tasks goes a long way in building/maintaining both trust and a strong relationship.

I completely agree. I see performance as the number one ingredient in a strong relationship between the staff member and staff leader.

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