Lieutenant General Lewis B. Puller, or Chesty Puller, is a legend in the annals of the Marine Corps. His reputation for being a hard charging and hard fighting military leader is legendary.
In his book, Chesty: The Story of Lieutenant General Lewis B. Puller, author Colonel Jon T. Hoffman, USMCR, describes Chesty as,
He was indeed a courageous warrior, but that was not the source of his legendary status. What endeared him to his fellow Marines was his leadership…The rare quality of outstanding leadership can come in many forms. Some inspire their followers with lofty words. Others command respect due to their unrivaled competence. Puller’s ability to motivate men came from a simpler source. His marines knew that he would ask no more of them than he was willing to put forth himself, and that was everything he had. They knew that when they were putting their lives on the line, he would be right out front with them.
Chesty Puller knew that as a leader there a certain things that cannot be delegated. There are certain things that only a leader can do.
A leader can’t delegate leading from the front.
A leader can’t delegate being courageous.
A leader can’t delegate being present with those he or she leads.
A leader can’t delegate being visible to those they lead.
A leader can’t delegate being a servant to their followers.
As long as there is a Corps, Chesty Puller will continue to inspire Marines to look out for their subordinates, give their utmost, and lead from the front.”
Thomas Merton once wrote,
He is bound by his vocation to fight the enemy. He cannot avoid the battle. And it is a battle that he alone can never win. He is forced to let Christ Himself fight the enemy in him. He must do battle on the ground chosen not by himself but by the Cross. That ground is the hill of Calvary and the Cross. For, to speak plainly, the priest makes no sense at all in the world except to perpetuate in it the sacrifice of the Cross, and to die with Christ on the Cross for the love of those whom God would have him save. || No Man Is An Island
It’s a battle and leadership is crucial. We can’t avoid the fight or delegate it others. We need to be on the front lines with those we lead to fight and carry our cross together.
You can’t delegate being engaged, sensing, or awareness. No one can do that for you. Leaders are present. No one can be courageous for you. Your team can’t do it for you. You must be courageous if you are to lead. You can’t delegate being on front lines and serving those you lead.
A good leader delegates…but a great leader knows what he or she must never delegate.