Allow Me To Tell You About General Palmer

I have yet to meet or speak with General Palmer. As Superintendent of West Point from 1986 to 1991, he was responsible for changing the cadet leader development culture from a punitive structure to a more mature and mentorship-based system. He was able to do this when leaders such as Eisenhower and MacArthur tried without success.


Several years before completing this book, I sent General Parmer a draft copy of my manuscript. He liked what I was writing and encouraged me to complete the project. What followed was a series of wonderful emails between us. I now consider him as one of my mentors.


I asked him if he would be kind enough to write the foreword to my book and thankfully he agreed.


He is an accomplished military historian and has written many books on military history.


Forward by Dave R. Palmer

Lieutenant General, U.S. Army Retired


Library shelves groan under the weight of a seemingly unending flow

of tomes devoted to exploring that essential but elusive element called

leadership. Yet it remains stubbornly elusive. What is it? How does it differ

from management? How does one acquire it? Is it inherent at birth?

How is it measured? And on and on. Trying to answer those questions

has been a continuing challenge over the ages. Still, the questions persist.


Mark Scureman confronts that challenge head-on in this exceptional

book. His approach is unique—and successful.


To begin with, he knows what he is talking about. He writes from a

lifetime of experiences in a variety of organizations, where he himself

was a boss on several levels and also had ample opportunities to observe

others, both good and bad. He graduated from our nation’s premier leader

development institution and served a career in the Army before entering

the business world, where he has devoted years to lecturing and consulting

on the topic of leading and managing. His grasp of the parameters of The

Boss’s Challenge is both personal and thorough. As a result, this book is as

rich as they come in solid guidance on how to lead and manage--and how

to recognize the difference between the two. In short, how to become a

competent and effective boss.


Society is full of organizations requiring leaders and managers. These

people are omnipresent and come with any number of labels: commanders,

chiefs, presidents, governors, mayors, captains, supervisors, directors,

chairmen, superintendents, commandants...and the list goes on. Here all

are gathered under a single title: The Boss’s Challenge.


Scureman starts by stating six humbling realities a potential leader or

manager must weigh before accepting a supervisory position. Significantly,

the very first one is, “You could have said no.” Then he posits a slate of

differences between managing and leading that every supervisor at any level

must wrestle with, and describes each in an easy to follow narrative. Most

have an entire chapter devoted to them, facilitating studying them in any order. 

Anecdotes highlight his discussions. He stays faithful to the rule that

the more complex an issue the more valuable is an appropriate anecdotal

example. Points made by story tend to stick. Compellingly illustrative is the

very initial one, appearing a few pages into Chapter One. Read it before

going into the whole book.


His writing is marked by common sense delivered in plain English, his

prose stands free of military, academic, or technical jargon. That rare style

alone nudges the book toward classic-hood.



Notably, and insightfully, the book’s focus is more on developing leaders

than merely addressing leadership in theory, another factor making it stand

out starkly among the genre of leadership publications.


A suggestion...print in large, bold font a listing of the titles for Chapters

Two through Thirteen. Frame the resulting chart and hang it in your office

where it can be seen every day at work. It will serve as constant guidance

for your continued development throughout a full and satisfying career as