Topics: Leadership, Malcolm X, Nation of Islam Pages: 10 (3064 words) Published: April 24, 2014

Introduction about the Movie:
The Movie “Malcolm X”, directed by Spike Lee is based on the story of “The Autobiography of Malcolm X” where Denzel Washington plays the lead role of Malcolm X. The movie portrays the legend’s life in three sections. The first is about the troubled childhood life of Malcolm Little. The second part of the movie follows Malcolm's life in prison, where he is introduced to the teachings of Nation of Islam. The final section of the movie gives a picture about Malcolm X’s principles for black Americans for separation from white society. Malcolm X- A Human Activist for Black Americans

Malcolm was born on May 19th 1925 in Omaha, Nebraska to Earl Little and Louise Little. During his school days, his goal was to become a lawyer. But, he was advised by his teacher that “A lawyer—that’s no realistic job for a nigger” (Day, 2007). He was disheartened and he went on to choose the path of crime by gambling, drug dealing and armed robbery. He was convicted for burglary and was sentenced to ten years of prison term. In the eight years, he was introduced to Baines, a follower of Nation of Islam who preached him the black separatism and resistance to white repression. Malcolm adopted the surname X for symbolising the slavery for Black Americans. His charisma, passion and blatant confidence meant he became a highly effective speaker for the organization, increasing its membership rapidly in just few years (Waldman, 2005) The assassination of Malcolm X on February 21st, 1965 brought tears to brotherhood of black Americans. Though he took violence as the weapon for achieving his goal, his leadership qualities are never underestimated. He had great enthusiasm and had the ability to capture and maintain attention, offering hope and inspiration for Black Americans.  

What is Leadership?
Leadership is the art of motivating the followers for achieving a goal. Leaders always question the assumption and they dig the truth based on fact not prejudice. Edwin H.Friedman once famously quoted that “Leadership can be thought of as a capacity to define oneself to others in a way that clarifies and expands a vision of the future” (Wisdom Quotes). Malcolm X had the vision and his goal was to see African-American people achieve self-reliance and independence (Daniel, 1999). The essay provides sufficient information about a leader who had passion and commitment in fighting for a separate state for Black Americans.

Malcolm X- Trait theory
Leadership trait theory is the idea that believes certain people are born with definite traits. Malcolm X, a charismatic, enthusiastic and courageous was described as an Authoritarian leader who did not share his power and his ruthless and fanatical belief set him apart from other civil rights moment leaders(Day,2007,). Dominance is considered to be an important trait for a leader. Malcolm X leadership styles as depicted in this movie can be seen when he uses Sophia, a white girl friend as a way to improve his social stand in his eyes of friends (Haley, 1964). Detroit Red’s dominant trait is seen in when the cop asks him to state his number , he refuses to state his number and he abuses the cop and because of his dominant trait he is been put in dark room for ten days. The dominance of Malcolm is clearly demonstrated when he asks Sophia, to kiss his feet and also to feed him food. Malcolm enforces Rudy to assist him in the burglary by keeping a pistol on his nose. This scene is shown approximately running between 50 and 51 minutes. Intelligence is also a part of Leaders trait. During his school days, Malcolm use to study well and excel in academics. His intelligence is also shown where he gets into debate with a chaplain Gill and trying to prove that Jesus Christ is a Hebrew.

Malcolm X as a Transformational Leader
Transformational leaders stimulate their followers and colleagues to perceive their goal in new perspective. ‘Transformational leaders raise followers to a...

References: Badrinarayan S. Pawar (2003) ‘Central conceptual issues in transformational leadership research’. Leadership & Organization Development, 24, (7) pp 397-406.
http://www.bc.edu/schools/cas/communication/meta-elements/pdf/thesis07.day.pdf. [Accessed on 2nd February 2010].
Blackwell,J.E. (1985) The Black Community: Diversity and Unity (2nd Edition).New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, Inc.
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