In this post I’d like to try something new, something a little different from what I’ve done in the past. I am an avid movie watcher and I believe that there is leadership value to be taken away from every movie you watch; you just have to know how and where to look for it. I am going to list 5 movies that I think are exceptional examples in displaying leadership via the silver screen. If you haven’t seen any of these I highly recommend watching them next chance you get.
1. Remember the Titans
This classic football flick is a perfect example of change and how to go about it the right way. The question this movie asks is “How can you bring effective leadership skills to an athletic team comprised of both whites and blacks for the first time in their lives?” It shows the necessity of being innovative in a time where you’re trying to accomplish things that have never been done before. Not only have they never been done before but these practices of leadership are passionately protested. This movie shows the importance of leadership training through various exercises where dissimilar people are being forced to work together and get to know each other. Watching and learning from this movie will absolutely give you new insight on how to change the culture of an organization successfully.
Leadership in this movie can be seen through the main character: Gerard Butler as Leonidas. Not only does this movie depict the act of defying odds but also inspiring others. Leonidas is brimming with inspiration and passion in this movie. He believed in his army and knew they had the necessary skills and training to achieve the unthinkable. What should you take away from this movie then? NEVER give up on those you are leading. You are leading them for a reason, and you must do everything in your power to instill a sense of ‘yes we can’ in every individual.
William Wallace may be one of the greatest leaders ever to hit the big screen. He led his followers with such charisma against the tyranny of the English rule. Not only was he exceptional at uniting every single one of his followers towards a common goal, but he was willing to do whatever it took to see victory. Sometimes what’s best for your cause/organization is sacrifice. We can learn a great deal about self-sacrifice from watching and understanding this movie.
4. Forrest Gump
Story-telling, communication, creating life-long relationships/friendships. These are just a few of the most important leadership aspects of this incredible movie about one man’s life journey. Did Forrest Gump go out of his way to try to become a successful leader? No. Was Forrest Gump considered a leader? Absolutely! Not only was he a leader, he was an excellent leader. Things just seemed to fall into place for Forrest, but did that happen for no reason? Forrest displayed great leadership skills and attributes without necessarily being aware of it. Through communicating his life story to others, he was enthralling as an orator. Through this act of communication he built some of the strongest relationships that this world has seen. Another thing that can be noted about this movie is the fact that in order to be a successful leader you must have an open mind.
5. Office Space
You may be wondering what this movie has to do with good leadership skills…..well it doesn’t. In fact, this movie is great at depicting exactly what NOT to do in certain situations. If you’ve ever wondered what will happen when your work has zero value associated with it, watch this movie to find out. Your employees, or those working for, under or with you, must have meaningful work! This cannot be stressed enough. When your work lacks value to the organization, a slippery slope of dreadful events ensues. Next, connect with your subordinates! Not just those that work under you but also those that work all around you. It is apparent in the movie that Peter and his boss don’t have the greatest relationship. On a more comedic, but still serious note, don’t give your employees the run-around when it comes to where their work station will be, how to go about doing their tasks, the whereabouts of their paycheck AND favorite shiny red stapler.
These are just some of the greatest movies associated with leadership that I could think of off the top of my head, there are countless more. On top of that, these are only some of the leadership skills associated with these movies, there are certainly more. I hope that you will take these Hollywood leadership lessons to heart and apply them wherever your life may lead you.
“Every man dies, not every man really lives.”
– Mel Gibson as William Wallace in Braveheart
Guest post from Adam, Not Your Ordinary Intern