Surrounding Yourself with the Best People

By | October 29, 2021

[October 29, 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 people in operational warfare and allowed them 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

The best 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. Having talented, trustworthy, and honorable people surrounding them has 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 because 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.

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Please read my newest book, “Our Longest Year in Iraq,” at Amazon (link here).

Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article every day on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

12 thoughts on “Surrounding Yourself with the Best People

  1. MrJohn22

    I think many missed this article and its importance. You cannot overemphasize the fact that by surrounding yourself with the best people possible, you make yourself far more likely to exceed even your own expectations of success. Gen. Satterfield, you nailed this one.

    Reply
    1. Frank Graham

      Yes, overlooked but not less important.
      Surround yourself with the best people you can find, delegate authority, and don’t interfere as long as the policy you’ve decided upon is being carried out. == Ronald Reagan

      Reply
    2. Bryan Z. Lee

      I missed it but going back to re-read many articles. Keeping all this “thinking” is not easy. I practice thinking in order to do more thinking.

      Reply
  2. Janna Faulkner

    Hi Gen. Satterfield, just to let you know, I and my whole family are big big fans of yours. We just love your website and the clean interface you have (making it easier for my elderly mother). Your articles hit home all the time. My husband asked that I write you about this and say hello.

    Reply
    1. Dead Pool Guy

      Yes, and a continuation of his mini-series on how “character” plays an important role in the development of good leadership. Those who are prone to lie, cheat, steal, and dishonor themselves, their families, and communities, are no good sots. They should pay a little closer attention.

      Reply
    2. Max Foster

      … and yes, but why a good article? I suggest that it is because this rings true for us all. If we have good people around us, they help correct our behavior when it strays from the good (moral and right). Important for us to define “good” like Gen. Satterfield does. He reminds us on a regular basis that there is a clear, unbending moral foundation for those who do the most for us.

      Reply
      1. Rusty D

        Correct, and that is why I keep coming back to this leadership website. There is often times when I must write something and ask for feedback. This helps solidify my thinking.

        Reply
        1. Plato

          … and so do most of us Rusty. Hardly a day goes by that I don’t do a quick long on to read what Gen. Satterfield has written for the day. I’m a huge fan of this senior leadership website and I will continue commenting in the leader forums. I have improved a number of my thoughts by feedback from some really good folks here.

          Reply
  3. Greg Heyman

    Having a great day today and now reading Gen. Satterfield’s blog is making it even better.

    Reply

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