You can be on Entrepreneur’s cover!

6 Principles From the Navy SEAL Code That Will Make Your Team Stronger Discover how to build trust, encourage excellence, foster discipline and create a sense of camaraderie in your organization by applying these battle-tested principles.

By Christopher Myers

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Business leaders are constantly searching for ways to build highly effective teams that can deliver results in a rapidly changing business landscape. I've searched high and low, drawing inspiration from philosophy, history and literature. However, I've found the deep tradition of leadership established in the U.S. military, and specifically the Navy SEALs' code of conduct, to be particularly helpful.

The SEAL code is a set of guiding principles that embody the warrior ethos of the Navy SEALs. It is a code of conduct that all SEALs are expected to live by, both on and off the battlefield. The code is based on a set of core values that are central to the SEAL ethos, including loyalty, honor, courage, discipline, respect and excellence.

These values are not just ideals or aspirations but a way of life that SEALs are expected to live and uphold at all times. They are the foundation of the SEAL ethos and are critical to the success of SEAL teams in achieving their missions.

Business leaders can learn a great deal from the SEAL code and apply its principles to develop highly effective teams in mid-sized organizations. Here are some ways that business leaders can utilize the SEAL code to build strong, cohesive and high-performing teams:

Related: How a Navy SEAL Invented a Multi-Million Dollar Fitness Craze By Accident

1. Build a culture of trust and loyalty

The SEAL code emphasizes the importance of loyalty to country, team and mission. This same sense of loyalty and commitment can be applied to business teams, where employees are expected to put the needs of the company and the team above their interests.

Business leaders can build a culture of trust and loyalty by fostering open communication, encouraging collaboration and creating a shared sense of purpose and mission. When employees feel that they are part of a team that is working towards a common goal, they are more likely to feel a sense of commitment to the team and the company.

2. Encourage excellence in all things

The SEAL code emphasizes the importance of striving for excellence in all aspects of life. This same emphasis on excellence can be applied to business teams, where employees are expected to continuously improve and strive for better results.

Business leaders can encourage excellence in all things by setting high standards for performance, providing opportunities for training and development and recognizing and rewarding employees who demonstrate excellence in their work. When employees feel that they are part of a team that values and rewards excellence, they are more likely to strive for it themselves.

Related: Former Navy SEAL Commanders Say New Leaders Always Make the Same 2 Mistakes

3. Foster a culture of discipline and self-control

The SEAL code emphasizes the importance of maintaining a high level of discipline and self-control, both in training and in everyday life. This same discipline and self-control can be applied to business teams, where employees are expected to stay focused, on track and deliver results.

Business leaders can foster a culture of discipline and self-control by setting clear expectations for behavior and performance, providing regular feedback and coaching, and holding employees accountable for their actions. When employees feel that they are part of a team that values discipline and self-control, they are more likely to adopt these same values in their own work.

4. Encourage courage in the face of fear

The SEAL code emphasizes the importance of demonstrating courage in the face of fear and acting decisively and confidently even when faced with uncertainty. This same courage can be applied to business teams, where employees are expected to take risks, make tough decisions, and navigate uncertain terrain.

Business leaders can encourage courage in the face of fear by providing a supportive environment where employees feel safe to take risks, offering opportunities for training and development that build confidence and recognizing and rewarding employees who demonstrate courage in their work. When employees feel that they are part of a team that values and rewards courage, they are more likely to take risks and make tough decisions in their own work.

Related: 10 Inspirational Quotes From Navy SEAL Training

5. Foster a culture of respect for others

The SEAL code emphasizes the importance of treating others with respect and dignity, regardless of their background, rank or position. This same culture of respect can be applied to business teams, where employees are expected to treat each other with respect and dignity and work collaboratively towards shared goals.

Business leaders can foster a culture of respect for others by modeling respectful behavior, encouraging diversity and inclusion and providing training and development that promotes understanding and empathy. When employees feel that they are part of a team that values respect and dignity, they are more likely to treat others with the same level of respect and dignity.

6. Build a sense of camaraderie and teamwork

The SEAL code emphasizes the importance of building strong relationships with team members and working collaboratively towards shared goals. This same sense of camaraderie and teamwork can be applied to business teams, where employees are expected to work together to achieve common objectives.

Business leaders can build a sense of camaraderie and teamwork by promoting social activities that build bonds between team members, providing opportunities for team-building exercises and training and recognizing and rewarding employees who work collaboratively and supportively towards common goals. When employees feel that they are part of a team that values camaraderie and teamwork, they are more likely to work together effectively and support each other through challenges and difficulties.

Regardless of your background or industry, the SEAL code provides a valuable set of guiding principles that can be applied to business teams in any organization. By building a culture of trust and loyalty, encouraging excellence in all things, fostering a culture of discipline and self-control, encouraging courage in the face of fear, fostering a culture of respect for others, and building a sense of camaraderie and teamwork, business leaders can develop highly effective teams that can deliver results in a rapidly changing business landscape. By adopting the values and principles of the SEAL code, business leaders can build teams that are resilient, adaptable and highly effective, and that can overcome even the most challenging obstacles.

Related: The Rules for Leading a Navy SEAL Team Are the Same as Leading a Startup. I Know, I've Done Both.

Christopher Myers

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

CEO @ B:Side Capital + Fund, Professor @ W.P. Carey School of Business

Chris Myers is the CEO of B:Side Capital and B:Side Fund, one of the nation's largest SBA lenders. He also serves as a professor of entrepreneurship and management at Arizona State University's W.P. Carey School of Business.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Resumes & Interviewing

Build a Better Resume with This $35 Subscription

AI Resume Builder promises to help you apply to jobs twice as fast.

Side Hustle

He Took His Side Hustle Full-Time After Being Laid Off From Meta in 2023 — Now He Earns About $200,000 a Year: 'Sweet, Sweet Irony'

When Scott Goodfriend moved from Los Angeles to New York City, he became "obsessed" with the city's culinary offerings — and saw a business opportunity.

Marketing

I Got Over 225,000 Views in Just 3 Months With Short-Form Video — Here's Why It's the New Era of Marketing

Thanks to our new short-form video content strategy, we've amassed over 225,000 video views in just three months. Learn how to increase brand awareness through short-form video content.

Business News

Samsung Makes 6 Day Workweeks Mandatory for Executives as the Company Enters 'Emergency Mode'

Samsung said its performance "fell short of expectations" last year. Now executives are required to work weekends.

Productivity

6 Habits That Help Successful People Maximize Their Time

There aren't enough hours in the day, but these tips will make them feel slightly more productive.

Leadership

You Won't Have a Strong Leadership Presence Until You Master These 5 Attributes

If you are a poor leader internally, you will be a poor leader externally.