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“You’ve always got to keep your mind open, your mental aperture, because if you think you know it all there’s a good inclination that hubris is right around the corner knocking on your door, and ready to come strike you down.” – John Havlik

Being an effective leader today is much more than having the ability to make decisions, and often it is the hubris or arrogance of the leader that is holding him or her back from connecting with others in a way that makes people feel heard, trusted and valued. Today’s Finding Brave guest shares his deep personal insights and experiences from a distinguished career as a leader, and focuses on helping others from falling into this all-too-common trap of letting their arrogance crush their impact, reputation and their ability to lead. 

CAPT 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 all SEAL teams on both coasts, including the famed SEAL Team SIX.

Coach Havlik is a Special Advisor to Giant Leap Consulting and regularly speaks about leadership and working as a team under arduous and stressful conditions. Along with Bill Treasurer, John co-authored The Leadership Killer: Reclaiming Humility in an Age of Arrogance.

What John reveals in this episode is critical information that needs to be heard today. If you think you have to know everything (or believe you already do know everything) in order to lead others, you don’t understand what true leadership is and this episode will benefit you greatly. 

Highlights from this Episode:

  • What John and Bill Treasurer were seeing in leadership that led to them writing their book together [4:26]

  • How hubris and arrogance are related, and why John feels people take on these traits [9:07]

  • The reasons that being a good leader is more than just making decisions [11:23]

  • What to consider when leading introverts, and the coaching lessons that John has learned along his journey [13:33]

  • A time that he believes got too arrogant, and what happened as a result [15:48]

  • What John means when he says everyone should “have a check”, plus what it looks like to put one in place [22:34]

  • Why mental aperture is so important to have for any leader, or inspiring leader [31:30]

  • Why good leaders don’t need to know everything [32:43]

For More Information: 

Resources Mentioned: 

John’s Book, The Leadership Killer: Reclaiming Humility in an Age of Arrogance & Audible Version

Kathy & John’s Forbes Blog, One Common Personality Trait That Crushes Leadership Success, Value And Reputation

Episode 7: Overcoming Your Biggest Blocks to Courage, with Bill Treasurer

Kathy’s Forbes Post, I’m Sick Of Our Culture’s Bias Against Introverts — And I’m Ashamed To Admit I Share In It

Quiet Revolution (Susan Cain)

For more about Kathy’s upcoming book The Most Powerful You: 7 Bravery-Boosting Paths To Career Bliss, sign up for her weekly newsletter at for updates, free giveaways, contests, and more, coming in Spring 2020. And to discover if you are experiencing any of the 7 damaging power gaps today, take Kathy’s Power Gap Survey and find out!                                                                                                                                                                                         

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“I think for leaders and athletes, in order to be good you have to be confident in your abilities, but I think hubris takes it to the next level. It tends to cloud your judgment.” [6:55]

“Good leaders know how to incorporate and make people feel like they’re part of the process.” [12:04]

“I quickly found out that the biggest, strongest and fastest don’t always get promoted. It’s often who you knew, and I didn’t do real well at that.” [16:36]

“I didn’t have a mentor, and I tried to do it alone. I tried to manage my career alone, which is not very smart.” [19:56]

“I think people are afraid to have somebody that calls them out, especially if you’re doing well and successful.” [23:47]

“Part of the thing I learned was how much I didn’t know.” [31:33]

Sponsor Highlight!  

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Kathy’s new book The Most Powerful You: 7 Bravery-Boosting Paths to Career Bliss shares vital information on the 7 most damaging power gaps that 98% of professional women face and how to overcome them. Boost your power and confidence today!


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