What War Teaches About Management vs. Leadership

The  most important military story the Washingtonian ever published was headlined “Where Have All the Warriors Gone?” Written by Nick Kotz, with much of the reporting done by the students in his investigative reporting class at American University, it was published in July 1984 and won the National Magazine Award for Public Service.

The story’s deck: “Great Military Leaders Have Always Had Guts, Toughness, Daring. But Now Our Armed Services Are Led by Men Who Act More Like Corporate Managers Than Soldiers. Could MacArthur Make General Today? Could We Win a War?”

As an editor, I always emphasized the power of good pull quotes and picture captions to pull readers into a story. With this story there was a pull quote that for me was the most powerful we ever published. It was from Dandridge Malone, a tough Army colonel described as “a cult figure among the informal cadre who seek a tougher, more effective military.”

“Soldiers cannot be

managed to their deaths.

They must be led there.”
Also see this related piece on how Nick Kotz and his journalism class did the story. It includes a link to the 1984 prize-winning article.

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