Leadership Lessons from Movies

December 23, 2010
leadership lessons from movies

Leadership Lessons From the Movies

At Harvard Business School we watche the movie 12 O’Clock High before one of our classes and then we discussed the leadership lessons from the film. Albeit an old film it has great lessons for leaders.

Gregory Peck (Wing Commander) and the US Air Force Commanding General tries to find the breaking point of overworked airmen during WWII. Many leaders especially into days economic environment are forced to try to get done more with less.

Watch Twelve o’Clock High in Entertainment |  View More Free Videos Online at Veoh.com

Movies are such a great way to help new upcoming leaders learn lessons quickly by having them watch the film and then have a discussion that follows with great learning targets. When I speak on the subject of Just Ask Leadership, I find it difficult to find iconic leaders who use a question based approach to leadership, perhaps because it does not have the drama of other forms of leadership. Then I realized Dorthy from Wizard of Oz uses questions to increase engagement, alignment and accountability. A great example of this is when Dorthy meets new characters along the way on the yellow brick road she simply ask them questions that engage them into the journey. When she meets the Scarecrow she says, “What would you do if you had a brain?” And he responds…

In a post I did back in January I discussed how Invictus is a great film to teach the lesson of using symbols as a leader. In a recent Wall Street Journal article written by Parminder Bahra she describes how Dr. Allègre Hadida at the University of Cambridge Judge Business School is using movies to teach student. The article is named What Can Businesses Learn From “Godfather’ Trilogy and she suggests movies like the Godfather provide good examples of business diversification and the running of a family business’. And how Dr Hadida uses “Jerry McGuire” to teach lessons on values. What movies would you recommend that people watch for leadership lessons? And what lessons will people be learning?

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