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"I Did Not Go on the Attack by Myself, But with My Soldiers..."

In leadership studies, we often speak of the difference between management and leadership actions. There is the occasional example of a person who is effective both as a leader and a manager. As a student of WW2 history, I find that Marshal Vasily Ivanovich Chuikov was very effective in both capacities. It is a well-known fact that Marshal Chuikov cared very much about his soldiers. Although he could be a tough disciplinarian, his soldiers were always in his thoughts, as demonstrated in an anecdote from a Ukrainian historian:


Divisional Commander Nikolai Batyuk (center) and Lieutenant General Chuikov (left) in Stalingrad, 1 January 1943


"In the 1970s, veterans who served with Chuikov during WW2 lived in Zaporozhye, Ukraine. They went to a meeting of veterans in the city of Odessa. Marshal Chuikov was also invited there as their esteemed guest. After a solemn ceremony of remembrance was held, tables were laid with refreshments for the party leadership of the city of Odessa and the command staff of the 8th Guards Army. But when Marshal Chuikov saw that his soldiers who were present at this meeting were not invited to the table, he loudly and seriously told the organizers: "I did not go on the attack by myself, but with my soldiers." His point was taken. Everyone quickly fussed and laid additional tables for ordinary soldiers and veterans."

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