18 Leadership Quotes and Lessons From “The Post” Movie

18 Leadership Quotes and Lessons From the Post Movie
The Post chronicles the decision by The Washington Post and its publisher Kay Graham to publish The McNamara Papers which would uncover sensitive government secrets spanning four presidents. Graham, played magnificently by Streep, faced significant odds including overcoming a white old-boys club, losing her social circle, imprisonment and the paper being shut down. She would become an inspiration to many women during that time period. Her story is one which needs to be told.This movie is very pro-press. Not in a liberal or conservative way, but championing their role to keep power accountable. One thing I did not like is I do not know how many GDs you can have to keep a PG-13 rating but Hanks took it to the limit. I don’t understand is why such a transcendent talent like Hanks has to resort to the style of language.

The following are 18 Leadership Quotes and Lessons From The Post Movie:

  1. Great Leaders Make Decisions Using Measurable Results – McNamara said, “We put 100,000 troops in the field and it’s no better. To me, that’s worse.”
  2. Graham said, “Quality and profitability go hand-in-hand.”
  3. Ben Bradlee, played by Hanks, said, “The only way to protect the right to publish is to publish.”
  4. Great Leaders Never Confuse Activity With Accomplishment – Bradlee said, “Is anybody tired of reading the news instead of reporting it?”
  5. Great Leaders Have Great Influence – Graham said, “It’s hard to say ‘No’ to the President of the United States.”
  6. Great Leaders Put the Good of the Organization Above Their Personal Benefit – “Seventy percent (of the reason we stayed in Viet Nam) was to avoid the humiliation of an American defeat.”
  7. Great Leaders Should Take Great Responsibility – “No president wanted to be the one who lost the war.”
  8. Great Leaders Do Their Job – Bradlee said of his friend President Kennedy, “I never thought of Jack as a source. I thought of him as a friend and that was my mistake.”
  9. Great Leaders Want Great Clarity – Bradlee ask Graham, “So, can I ask you a hypothetical question?” She replied, “Oh, dear. I don’t like hypothetical questions.” To which he responded, “Well, I don’t think you’re gonna like the real one, either.”
  10. Leadership Has Its Limits – Bradlee said, “If we live in a world where the United States government tells you what we can and cannot print, the Washington Post has already ceased to exist.”
  11. Great Teams Have Great Depth – One of the reasons The Washington Post was such a great newspaper was its deep roster of reporting talent.
  12. Great Leaders Find a Way – The Post’s reporters had only several hours to read, process and write an article from thousands of recently discovered McNamara Files. Rather than making excuses or complaining, the team rolled up their sleeves and delivered incredible results.
  13. Leaders Must Not Believe the Lies Told About Them – Bradlee’s wife, Tony, played by Sarah Paulson, said referring to Graham, “When you’ve been told time and time again that you’re not even there, it’s hard to believe it’s not true.”
  14. Great Leaders Should Find Ways to Lift People Up and Allow Them to Utilize Their Giftedness – Tony said, “A woman preaching is like a dog walking on its hind legs. It’s not supposed to happen.”
  15. Great Leaders Surround Themselves With A Strong Inner-Circle – Graham said, “It’s no longer my father’s company. This is no longer my husband’s company. This is my company and anyone who doesn’t like that shouldn’t be on my board.”
  16. Great Leaders Are Decisive – Graham added “The decision’s made. I’m going to bed.”
  17. People Follow Courageous Leaders – After appearing before the Supreme Court, Graham walked down the courthouse steps through a cascade of proud women.
  18. Graham concludes, “The news is the first rough draft of history.”

There will be some Oscar victories, particularly Streep, coming out of this movie. If you want to see movie-making at its best, go see The Post. Just prepare yourself for the language.

This article originally appeared here.

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Brian Dodd
Brian Dodd is a church stewardship & leadership consultant. See www.briandoddonleadership.com for additional insights.

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