Leadership Style in the Movie Gladiator

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GROUP PAPER/LEADERSHIP GLADIATOR, by Ridley Scott (2004)
1. INTRODUCTION

Acting as observers in this case, we are reviewing the leadership from the perspective of the son of Caesar, Commodus. A man, with love lost. A man, without the desired virtues set by his Father. A man, without morals, as stated by his Father. A man, who competes for favor, trust, honor and value with an authentic leader like Maximus, someone whom has also had the love of Commodus Father and fails to connect with his followers.

1.1 Within and under the guardianship of his father, Commodus struggles to attain any of the qualities connected to an ethical type of leadership that was set up by his Father, namely wisdom, justice, fortitude and temperance, and with the gap seemingly too wide he is instead trying to create something that stands apart from that very thing. (Ridley Scott, 2004) His other virtues, according to himself- ambition, resourcefulness, courage and devotion- fell short of making the desired impression. He moves further into vices quite opposite of what Romes was built on. It is very interesting from the point of virtues being “characteristics of a person that are not inborn but acquired and developed through learning, instruction and continuous practice” as per Lampous arguments (2002:8) Supported in the movie by Caesar the former, Marcus Aurelius, in his statement: “Your faults as my son is my failures as a father” (Ridley Scott, 2004) To further describe Commodus, we have to turn to the defintions of pseudotransformational leadership, which refers to “leaders that are self-consumed, exploitive and power oriented, with warped moral values” (Northouse, 2013:187) and as such a personalized leadership, focused on self-interest rather than the interest of others and the common good.(Northouse, 2013:187) In contrast to a transformational leader he struggled with concepts of trust, social architecture, vision and self-image, something that affected his power of influence for everyone around and under his rule; i.e individuals, the collective and society. (Northouse, 2013:197) True transformational leaders would have been more able to tap into the social realms due to their larger focus on other people’s interests instead of their own. One could argue that he orchestrated a narrative and a drama, through stage management, as per Sharma & grants argument (2011), however, with a lack of virtues to match the former Caesar, it was not as effective in swaying key people into understanding a new vision. This possibly due to the lack of collective incentive. His storytelling could be said to have been geared towards distracting the public and the organisation from new discursive activities, i.e his definition of the Caesar-role and his world for the followers (Sharma & Grant, 2011:3) Principles of distributive Justice, as described by Northouse, could be applied in the reasonings behind Aurelius treatment of Commodus. It is evident that he applied the principle of justice according individual need, a person´s individual effort, societal contribution and merit as well as performance. (Northouse 2013:434) Unfortunately, Commodus couldn´t see this reasoning due to his lack of altruistic features within an ethical mindset, and thus only viewed such justice as side-stepping his natural born rights..

Problem 1: Lack of virtues and morals for Commodus

1.2 It is fairly evident that the Rome-ideal, formed by Marcus Aurelius to an extent, has been set up with an ideology. The continuum of such a structure could then in effect create an atmosphere of improved ethics, a strive for excellence and thus altruistic ides which can be seen in him, Caesar the former, and as it happens he wants to take it even further and surrender leadership completely and make Rome a republic, governed by the senate. The son, lacking in moral is thus a dilemma for such a structure and a threat to the whole ideology, hence the decision by Aurelius, to remove the...
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