The movie “Master and Commander ” depicts the five practices of leadership - modeling the way, inspiring a shared vision, challenging the process, enabling others to act, and encouraging the heart.
In the movie, Jack Aubrey, Captain of battleship HMS Surprize, models the way by staying focused in his mission to defeat Napoleons battleship named Acheron. For example, at the beginning of the movie he never second-guesses his lower ranking soldier who heralds spotting the enemy. Instead he re-assures his claims and stays on guard, further investigating the possibility of the enemy within the dense fog. Captain Aubrey models the way by remaining alert, focused, disciplined in catching sight of the enemy. He models the way in strong leadership, resulting in saving the lives of crewmembers from the unexpected attack of Asheron.
Another example of modeling the way is when Captain Aubrey sees one of his officers being disrespected. He quickly responds to the insubordination with strict discipline. He models the way through the ranks, first in mentoring his officer and then following through promptly by punishing the lower-ranking sailor with lashes. His Lieutenant returns to the shipmates’ quarters, where subordinates stand to attention and salute, following protocol to superior rank as expected.
Unfortunately, the lieutenant shows weak leadership and fails to model the way. Instead of building upon the leadership displayed by his Captain, he cowers in fear, leading to his suicide.
The next step of exemplary leadership is to inspire a shared vision. At the beginning of the movie, the battleship is almost destroyed and in spite of the damages they do not return to dock but continue to sail. Jack Aubrey inspires his vision by uniting his crewmembers to accomplish the orders to sink, burn or capture Napoleons vessel. The crew repair damages from Asheron’s cannons, gunners continue to train for battle and business continues as normal on HMS Surprize.
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