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5 Leadership Movies for the Break

Last year I recommended 9 classic leadership movies you should watch over the winter break. A year has quickly flown and before everyone kicks up their feet I’d like to submit another list of classic movies that can illuminate essential leadership lessons.

These movies are entertaining, but they can also help leaders understand more about their leadership style and perhaps themselves.

If you want to make any additions, please do.

1. Paths of Glory

Col. Dax (played by Kirk Douglas) is a WWI commander in the French army who has to deal with mutiny and a glory-sniffing general during a futile attack. Leadership, under great stress, is keenly studied in this Stanley Kubrick film.

2. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

Jefferson Smith (James Stewart) is thrown into a leadership position purely by luck and is forced to navigate Washington’s treacherous political landscape. It’s a leadership tale about never giving up and, under the surface, it depicts how organizations move under the surface.

3. 12 Angry Men

I showed parts of this movie to my class this year and was again struck about how much it deals with the pragmatics of leadership. Juror Number 8 (Henry Fonda) has to build a coalition around his defense of a Hispanic boy convicted of murder.

4. Mutiny on the Bounty

This might be a better exposition of leadership gone bad, but it’s still a compelling account of many leadership themes.

5. Norma Rae

Norma Rae (Sally Field)  fights for longer smoke breaks as well as the unionization of her factory. It’s a leadership story that loudly declares anyone can be a leader if they focus on getting tangible results.

Finally, if you’re concerned with leadership and you want a feel-g00d experience,  great dialogue about coaching, motivation, and engagement, a great case on friendship beyond hierarchies, and if you just want to take the family to see a great movie–run to the nearest theater and see The Kings Speech.

Pic Credit: practicalowl



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