Leadership in Film and on TV
September 27, 2009 5:24 PM   Subscribe

Examples of leadership on film (or tv).

I have to give a presentation to resident advisors who have been RAs for at least 2 years. In this presentation I need to show warm-up clips from film or TV that demonstrate good (and bad) leadership. These examples can be serious or funny, but I do need to have this in mind:

".... these are the students that mentor the new RAs and that are given more responsibility than the RA, they advise hall council and occasionally lead staff meetings. So with leadership we would be highlighting being a good mentor, managing a staff, how to hold people accountable and how to clearly articulate what you want from the team, but also how to lead by example (such as, making sure that you are taking care of yourself and your classwork before attempting to be that superstar RA. This tends to be an issue with some of our RAs that want to do everything and easily overwhelm themselves)."

I plan on showing sections of the Futurama episode "Brannigan Begin Again" (where Zapp leads a mutiny against Leela), sections of To Kill A Mockingbird, something from Star Trek: TNG, but I have to admit, I am coming up a bit blank on this. Any help would be appreciated, especially if you think I could find the clip on youtube or Hulu. Thank you in advance!
posted by oflinkey to Education (22 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Whenever I watch Ace of Cakes (on Food Network) I always find myself remarking on what a great boss Duff seems to be. Sorry I can't point you to a specific episode.
posted by matildaben at 5:31 PM on September 27, 2009

Two words: Michael Scott.
posted by battlebison at 5:31 PM on September 27, 2009 [2 favorites]

I'm not sure how easily excerptable it is, but the (fantastic) Firefly episode "Out of Gas" is entirely about Mal's (the captain's) leadership of the crew, both in how he manages them under pressure and (in flashbacks) how he recruited them in the first place. If I had to pick some scenes, I'd try the ones where Mal is interacting with Wash after the accident.
posted by Johnny Assay at 5:35 PM on September 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

Seconding battlebison on Michael Scott--Just about any scene from The Office will give you great examples of how NOT to lead!
posted by bookmammal at 5:47 PM on September 27, 2009

According to Scott Berkun, Henry Fonda in 12 Angry Men, and Gary Cooper in High Noon. Also watch Apollo 13.
posted by jasondigitized at 5:56 PM on September 27, 2009

These two clips of Denholm from the IT Crowd are great examples of bad leadership (best watched in order).
posted by farishta at 6:09 PM on September 27, 2009

Liz Lemon and Jack Donaghy from 30 Rock
posted by inconsequentialist at 6:10 PM on September 27, 2009

seconding Firefly!
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 6:12 PM on September 27, 2009

A few good TV leaders come to mind:

President Josiah "Jed" Bartlet in "The West Wing"
President David Palmer in "24" (Seasons 1-3 I think)
Colonel Sherman T. Potter in "M*A*S*H"
High Commander Dick Solomon in "3rd Rock from the Sun" (in the 'counterexample' category)

Apollo 13 can teach a few things about project management and crisis management.
The Bridge on the River Kwai has many good examples of leadership under duress.
Even Office Space can teach you a few things not to do.

And I said, I don't care if they lay me off either, because I told, I told Bill that if they move my desk one more time, then, then I'm, I'm quitting, I'm going to quit. And, and I told Don too, because they've moved my desk four times already this year, and I used to be over by the window, and I could see the squirrels, and they were married, but then, they switched from the Swingline to the Boston stapler, but I kept my Swingline stapler because it didn't bind up as much, and I kept the staples for the Swingline stapler and it's not okay because if they take my stapler then I'll set the building on fire...
posted by Hardcore Poser at 6:18 PM on September 27, 2009

Ah, WWJLP do? Jean-Luc was my first thought. I think a good episode for this would be when whatever problem with the ship traps Jean-Luc in a turbolift with three kids, and he makes them officers and leads them to save everybody, especially because he "hates kids." Clips are probably on Youtube.

Outsourced: an American guy goes to India to train the new outsourced call center. He has to learn how to lead a team of people very different from himself, etc. It's on Watch Now on Netflix, maybe you can rip some scenes from there?
posted by thebazilist at 6:20 PM on September 27, 2009

We just started re-watching Tour of Duty, a show about VietNam which aired in the 80s. The sergeant, Zeke Anderson, came to mind when I read your definition of good leadership.
posted by DrGail at 6:50 PM on September 27, 2009

The recently filmed TV series of CS Forester's Hornblower with Ioan Gruffudd as Horatio is what you're after. The whole series of novels were about leadership and responsibility, and just about every scene in every episode is a rich mine for the kind of thing you want.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 6:52 PM on September 27, 2009

Kyle Chandler as Coach Eric Taylor on Friday Night Lights (tv).
posted by UrineSoakedRube at 7:03 PM on September 27, 2009

Kyle Chandler as Coach Eric Taylor on Friday Night Lights (tv).

As an example of good leadership, in case that wasn't clear.
posted by UrineSoakedRube at 7:05 PM on September 27, 2009

Tom Hank's character in Saving Private Ryan, particularly when he organizes the defence of the village of Ramelle.
I hesitate to recommend George C. Scott's performance in Patton, because he leads by intimidation and brutality as much as by responsibility, strategy, or management.
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 7:20 PM on September 27, 2009

How about Bill Pullman's speech from Independence Day?
posted by Jon-o at 7:33 PM on September 27, 2009

Samuel L Jackson in Deep Blue Sea.
posted by Sebmojo at 8:11 PM on September 27, 2009

Jon-o, Bill Pullman's speech pulled some chops from the St. Crispian's Day speech from Henry V.

There's always Sidney Poitier's performance as a teacher in To Sir With Love, complicated by cross-cultural misunderstanding, racial tension, and raging adolescent hormones. With bonus extra beehive hairdos! The scene in which he decides the approved curriculum isn't relevant to his East End students and starts teaching them life skills instead is a classic.

Russell Crowe in Master and Commander?
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 8:57 PM on September 27, 2009

Definitely have to use something from the office.

The first season of LOST had some great stuff about leadership, especially Jack's "Live together, Die alone" speech.

Someone mentioned 30 Rock. In addition to the Jack/Liz mentor relationship, there are some great scenes, again in the first season, dealing with Liz struggling to simultaneously be friends with and manage the writing team she works with.

The movie Milk has some really great leadership scenes.
posted by lunasol at 10:17 PM on September 27, 2009

I don't have any youtube links handy but you could probably find some good leadership examples looking at William Wallace in "Braveheart."

Capt. Winters in "Band of Brothers" would also be a good subject.
posted by PFL at 7:30 AM on September 28, 2009

Tom Hank's character in Saving Private Ryan, particularly when he organizes the defence of the village of Ramelle.

A better short scene might be when he defuses the face off between Tom Sizemore and Ed Burns.

There are some scenes that could well demonstrate leadership from The Thin Red Line, but which may not really be desirable in an office environment. See (1) John Cusack volunteering to lead an attack on a bunker, (2) Elias Koteas standing up for his men against his careerist commander and (3) a less known actor seeing his two point men shot then having to order himself and his men forward to pretty rapid death. And more!
posted by biffa at 11:49 AM on October 1, 2009

The 1949 Gregory Peck movie "12 O'Clock High" has long been shown to military members as an example of leadership.

Another idea might be the 2004 Kirk Russell movie "Miracle," about the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey team. It's the kind of movie I would normally never see, but then you watch it, and you think, "Hey -- this is actually pretty good!"

- AJ
posted by Alaska Jack at 10:57 PM on October 3, 2009

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