Leadership and the film Remember the Titans
Movie Team Three
Jon Atkins, Mike Russo, & Matt Brown
June 23, 2012
Movie Team Three reviewed and discussed the film Remember the Titans (Bruckheimer, Oman, & Yakin, 2000). While each member brought up differing perspectives on team leadership principles, there was also a fair amount of consistency across our individual responses. We all appear to agree that while the character of Coach Boone takes a leading role and the focus of the film, the leadership expertise portrayed is not localized to his character alone. Rather, team leadership is exhibited by multiple characters throughout the film. As such, the film is rife with material that demonstrates numerous concepts from the text and lesson on "Team Leadership" (Northouse, 2010, p. 240). The principal aim of this summary is to briefly outline the key points of our discussion on the film and how it correlates with the concepts embedded in the Team Leadership perspective. Tuckman (1965) Group Stages
One concept that everyone in the group recognized is Tuckman's (1965) "Group Stages" idea (forming, norming, storming, and performing) and how the team transformed as a group through each respective stage (PSU WC, Lesson 12). For example, we mention that the initiation of group activity, or "forming" stage, takes place as Coach Boone mandates that all players ride on the bus with either defense or offense, depending on their desired position. This begins the process of "forming" as each player is forced to interact with team members of the opposite race. Likewise, we also discuss the "norming" stage in the scene where Blue, Gerry, and Julius call a team meeting one evening in the gym to reaffirm their commitment to the values of respect for one another, perfection in performance, and teamwork, which they began to develop at camp. It is only after this point in the film that we see the Titan's team performance enhanced ("performing") by moving past many of the recurring "storming" conflicts between one another. As Matt pointed out in his response, the contrast is stark between the face to face conflict between Coach Boone and Bertier (storming) and the team warm up chant and dance (performing).
Leadership and the Coaches
Another topic we cover in our discussion is the difference between "task" and "maintenance" functionality in team development and how each is demonstrated by different characters in the film. For instance, "task" or "team performance" is most consistently exhibited by Coach Boone. Even after Gerry's car accident the viewers are forced to see how committed is Coach Boone to the task of winning football games and schedules a press conference to respond to doubts about his team's performance after losing Bertier. Coach Yoast, on the other hand, more frequently demonstrates the "maintenance" or "development" mentality in his leadership focus. Whereas Coach Boone yells at Petey for underperforming (fumbling the football and missing a block), Yoast is seen coming alongside to encourage him and graciously request that Petey replace Alan at linebacker, a position where he knew Petey would be effective. Between these two coaches the film shows that "task functions are closely interrelated with maintenance functions...if the team is well maintained and has good relationships, then the members will be able to work together effectively and get their job done" (Northouse, 2010, p. 247).
Another area that we discuss is the element of power in the film. Between the two coaching styles mentioned above, Coach Boone and Coach Yoast each employ different methods of influence. As Mike and Matt both note in their discussion, whereas Coach Boone had to be the loving "tyrant" to earn the respect of all the players by asserting coercive power, Coach Yoast was already a step ahead and could wield the influence afforded him by degrees of referent power with the...
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