Gen. James Mattis has written an excellent book on leadership, called Call Sign Chaos, (the name Mad Dog was given him by some admiring troops in the Gulf War). If you can get through the military jargon and campaigns, there are some excellent ideas on leadership:
- Lead from the front….be right there with your people on the front lines, let them know that you support them. He didn’t always get along with his superiors, but they knew his sterling record, and gave him a lot of leeway to accomplish his tasks.
- Get rid of poor performers….at one point, Mattis writes a 3 page letter to an enlisted person he cashiered from the Marine Corps. Even when he had 25,000 people under his command.
- Make sure your leadership style evolves, as your organization grows. Mattis went from commanding a platoon of 24 to commanding entire Marine regiments of 50,000 plus. He had to learn how to lead through others, and trust the others.
- Your people will trust you if you trust them. Mattis acknowleges making mistakes in command, and some of his subordinates made mistakes, but he stood buy them as long as they 1) acknowleged their mistakes and 2)didn’t make the same mistake twice.
- Mattis used to write ‘Commanders Intent’ emails that outlined what he wanted to do in a battle, and all the troops had a copy, so there was no mistaking what he wanted from them and what the final outcome would be. A business owner could do the same when embarking on a new marketing campaign. Mattis used to get useful suggestions from everyone (CHAOS stands for Colonel Has Another Outstanding Suggestion), which he funnelled through the chain of command, except when the chain wasn’t working, and he relieved someone of their duty.
The book is well worth the $22.00 at Barnes and Noble!