[September 16, 2021] General George S. Patton was one of America’s greatest generals. There is hardly a person alive today who has not heard of him and his exploits during World War II. But that’s only part of the story. Patton surrounded himself with some of the best minds in operational warfare and allowed those people to do their job without interference.
“Don’t tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results.” – George S. Patton
Great leaders know that too many things are continuously happening to be controlled singlehandedly, so they put their efforts into what they do best and delegate the rest. By having talented, trustworthy, and honorable people surrounding them, they have ensured that their mission will be achieved.
New commanders find themselves in charge of an inherited staff from the previous commanding officer. The best of those officers were able to mold their new staff into a great, effective, and creative team and improve them over time by adding even better people. This concept is certainly not new and has been taught in management courses for a long time for the simple reason that it works.
Often, we can determine the competence of a leader by the people they have around them. There’s a saying – but I can’t find the quote – that goes something like this; great leaders surround themselves with great people, marginal leaders surround themselves with substandard people. Marginal leaders are afraid to be seen as inferior by having smart people around them. Great leaders have intelligent people around them to get the job done.
David Ogilvy tells us that “If you ever find a man who is better than you are, hire him.” This is undoubtedly good advice. Every great leader I’ve ever known possessed this characteristic; the ability to have great people around them … regardless of where they came from, who they were, or who they worked for.
Great leaders surround themselves with great people. That is one of the marks of authentic leadership.
Gen. George S. Patton … great man. Here is info on a museum in his honor.
Hint, it’s on Ft Knox KY
I’ve been there. The whole of Fort Knox is a wonder to behold. Go there if you can. The museum, which I did not go in (I was in a hurry) is supposed to be wonderful. I will go back soon, however, and would never miss it.
Quotable quote, “Great leaders know that too many things are continuously happening to be controlled singlehandedly, so they put their efforts into what they do best and delegate the rest. By having talented, trustworthy, and honorable people surrounding them, they have ensured that their mission will be achieved.”
Excellent! Thank you Gen. Satterfield.
Yes, I was going to add that I have witnessed in my life plenty of mediocre and bad leaders. I learned a lot from them, mostly what NOT to do (aka Gen. Satterfield always saying this) and I appreciate what they did for me (altho it might have been teaching me lessons accidentally). But I did learn. Now I’m far better than I would have ever been without them, so thank them for that. But I’m now better as a human and leader. Keep that in mind, I did. Work hard, tell the truth, and do good for your family and community.
Well said, Willie and I will add that this is all any nation could expect. Too many young punks today have terrible lives and yet try to blame everyone else for things we have no control over.
Correct, and don’t let victimhood ideology take hold of you.
Yes, another spot on idea that many of us today tend to ignore. If you have great folks around you, you will succeed even if you are mediocre. Keep the best around you. Some one once said that if you find a person smarter or better than you, hire that person immediately. Smart advice.
Excellent article, Gen. Satterfield. I see you are on a streak writing about “character.” Good idea.
Good point, Gen. Satterfield and I hope others are reading this the way I am. With good people at your side, they can help you maintain good things in your life. Support them, help them, as well. This is part of being a good team member. Good to great is not an easy step but can be done only with others.
Good comment Pooch. I agree. And, this is Gen. S’s point.