321 – Making Yourself Useless Produces Opportunity & Growth

In 1920 there was a major change of attitude in the officer Corps with the U.S. Marines.

General John Lejeune, the Commandant of the Marine Corps at the time, wrote the following on the heels of World War I:

“The relation between officers and enlisted men should in no sense be that of superior and inferior nor that of master and servant, but rather that of teacher and scholar. In fact, it should partake of the nature of the relation between father and son, to the extent that officers, especially commanding officers, are responsible for the physical, mental, and moral welfare, as well as the discipline and military training of the young men under their command who are serving the nation in the Marine Corps.”

I love how General Lejeune recognized that there was great power & potential in the enlisted ranks of the time.  This leadership philosophy was institutionalized within the Marine Corps and has been a direct contributor to the massive success the Marine Corps has experienced.

In this podcast episode I talk about how, as leaders, we need to strive to become “obsolete” and “make ourselves useless”.  The benefits certainly outweigh the mythical fear that you will lose your position or rank.

In fact, the exact opposite happens; abundance always follows the more that you empower and give away.  Selfishly holding onto your knowledge and power only produces scarcity & poverty.

This “Teacher-Scholar” relationship is central to your “make yourself useless” philosophy.  Some of the highlights are:

  • The leadership responsibility has to be spread throughout all levels.
  • The mission demands that anyone should be able to carry-on if the leaders is taken out of the “fight”.
  • Teach your people to take your job; this creates depth & sustainability.
  • Take the ambitions & dreams of your people seriously.
  • If you don’t teach your personnel, somebody else will, for better or worse.

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