08: Former Special Assistant to President Obama for National Security Affairs and Retired Navy Seal Jeff Eggers

On Episode 8 of the Rhinomind Coaching Podcast, I’m joined by Jeff Eggers, a retired Navy SEAL, former Special Assistant to President Obama for national security affairs, and the current Executive Director of The Leadership Institute at The McChrystal Group. In this interview, Jeff shares stories from his time as a Navy SEAL, and also describes what he feels were President Obama’s most effective leadership behaviors. We also discuss why Jeff feels that redefining leadership around the realities of behavioral science is the key to unlocking future American prosperity.

Jeff, General Stanley McChrystal, and Jay Mangone also recently wrote a book, Leaders: Myth and Reality, where the authors show us that leadership isn’t what we think it is…and never was! We discuss the book and a whole lot more, so please enjoy a conversation with someone working at an exceptionally high level to help people develop more effective leaders and teams! 

One thing we know about leadership is that even though decisions are made at the top, insights often come from further down in an organization.
— Jeff Eggers

Show Highlights:

  • Jeff’s background, family life, path to the Naval Academy, and how he “one-upped” his Air Force dad [2:58]

  • Discovering a new level of hunger for understanding leadership [6:51] and what Jeff learned about leadership and teams [10:35]

  • The old leadership model, a new threat, and learning to perform under pressure in war [14:54]

  • How Jeff ended up working for President Obama [19:07] and what kept him on the National Security Council for five years [21:30]

  • The #1 leadership skill of President Obama [24:17]

  • Jeff’s plan to start with executive coaching and studying behavioral science---and what he discovered [30:10]

  • The idea for the book---where it came from and how the journey progressed [32:15]

  • Jeff’s burning questions around leadership that still exist [40:11]

  • Jeff’s dream and hope for our culture regarding leadership [45:39]




Find Jeff on Twitter: @jeff_eggers

Leaders: Myth and Reality by Stanley McChrystal, Jeff Eggers, and Jay Mangone

Todd on Twitter: @rhinomind

Todd Iarussi