July 3, 2012
The movie Invictus tells the inspiring true story of how Nelson Mandela joined forces
with the captain of South Africa's rugby team to help unite their country. Newly elected
President Mandela knows his nation remains racially and economically divided in the
wake of apartheid. Believing he can bring his people together through the universal
language of sport, Mandela rallies South Africa's rugby team as they make their historic
run to the 1995 Rugby World Cup Championship match
A leader’s behavior is acceptable to subordinates when viewed as a source of
satisfaction and motivational when need satisfaction is contingent on performance and
the leader facilitates, coaches and rewards effective performance. The original Path-
Goal theory identifies achievement-oriented, directive, participative,
and supportive leader behaviors
The directive path-goal clarifying leader behavior refers to situations where the leader
let’s followers know what is expected of them and tells them how to perform their tasks.
In the movie, Mandela Challenges the process beautifully in several scenes. He
consistently challenges his staff to think differently about issues and policies. For
example he challenges his black head of security to ensure his black staff works
collaboratively with their more experienced white colleagues. How they learn to work
together as a single team, both cheering for the Springboks, provides one of several
great sub-texts to the story.
On another occasion Mandela challenges Francois Pienaar ( White Captain of
Springboks) to think positively and creatively about the possibility of a win even though
the odds are stacked against them. His challenge, his personal commitment, his quiet
leadership enable Pienaar to begin to see the long shot as a possibility, thus Enabling
him to Act to lead his team to train harder than ever.
The achievement-oriented leader behavior refers to situations where the leader sets
challenging goals for followers, expects them to perform at their highest level, and
shows confidence in their ability to meet this expectation.
One of Mandela’s words of wisdom -“We need inspirations to aspire because in order to
build our nation, we must all exceed to our expectations.”
One iconic scene features Mandela in his first meeting with Francois Pienaar and the
Springboks captain. Pienaar is invited to meet the President and arrives at Government
House uncertain of the reason for the meeting. Mandela’s personal style, his warmth,
the way he treats everyone around him with great respect and appreciation completely
charms Pienaar who leaves with the realization that something very significant has just
happened to him. During their brief but meaningful time together Mandela has skillfully
inspired a Shared Vision about the importance and meaning of a Springboks win to
South Africa. A leader's job is to get followers to believe they are capable of doing more
than they think possible. Encouraging people to believe in themselves so that the
organization can achieve.
The participative leader behavior involves leaders consulting with followers and
asking for their suggestions before making a decision. Mandela arrives at the National
Sports Council meeting to let the members know of his plan/decision and get their buy
in .Mandela wanted to restore the Springboks and restore their name, emblem and
color. That was an extremely difficult decision to make and even more difficult to get
the Sports Council members to accept that. As the President, he didn’t really need the
member’s permission but he beautifully justified the cause for his decision. Although the
member’s didn’t accept the decision in their minds, they could not argue back to the...