The Lengths of Leadership
This Freshman Seminar displayed the power of leadership in all of its forms. There are many types of leadership skills and characteristics; however, they all are encompassed by a set of core values one must follow to be a leader. We explored what could be called the ten commandments of leadership during class discussion and how they applied to a series of movies including Apollo 13, Courage Under Fire, Norma Rae, and Cry Freedom. In each movie, every character showed a different type of leadership, rather it be negative or positive. In this seminar we also distinguished between transactional and transformational leadership. In this research paper I will examine each film by identifying the concepts of leadership found within them, if they demonstrate transactional or transformational leadership, and how they relate to my personal experiences. Apollo 13 displayed how even under life threatening circumstances, it is essential to stay focused and work together. Ground control acted with strong leadership as well as the astronauts whose lives were at risk. Ground controls actions had the potential to destroy the mission, leaving the astronauts dead; however, they worked tirelessly to save their lives. They had to understand the consequences of each move they made, and how they could calculate them to get the astronauts home safely. They gained insight by researching and simulating all of the components they were working with. Ken Mattingly, an astronaut who was originally supposed to be in the space shuttle but was removed from the mission, put his feelings of resentment aside and worked non stop in finding a solution that would bring his friends home. Once the shuttle started to shut down, more and more issues arrived and it was ground controls responsibility to work through them. Successful communication between ground control and the astronauts is what brought those men home. I believe that being able to convey a message is one of the most powerful forms of leadership next to leading by example. The three men in that aircraft knew that that could have been the last day of their lives, but they held it all together. They had faith in each other and the men back home that they would make it home safe. When the stress became overwhelming, the men started to act on edge. Jim Lovell stepped in and led by example, reminding his colleagues that fighting was not tolerated or productive, and that they needed to work together not against each other. Overall in Apollo 13, the men demonstrate transactional leadership. They weren’t trying to go above and beyond their mission, because their mission has already failed. Transactional leadership can be defined as “maintaining the normal flow of operations, or keeping the ship afloat” (Ingram). They were more or less trying to bring the ship home, not do something revolutionary; therefore, I believe Apollo 13 showed only transactional leadership. I can relate to Apollo 13 to a certain degree; however, I have never been placed under such stressful circumstances where my life was at stake. When I think of Apollo 13, I compare it to putting on an event. When things begin to go wrong, you must work together to find a solution; if there is a will, there is a way. I picture an event like homecoming, and say the flowers didn’t arrive and the decorations don’t fit, you would have to call around and get different flowers last minute, and reconfigure the decorations. While it is important to find a solution, good leadership is important rather things are running smoothly or not. To execute a mission there must be a plan and a strategy to implement it. Courage Under Fire exposes a variety of leadership styles ranging from Nat challenging himself and keeping faith, to Karen’s commitment to her values and honest strength. Each character brings out an element of leadership. I believe that anyone affiliated with the military exudes leadership. In this movie you see men and...
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