Here’s CCL’s Clemson Turregano, who has facilitated “leadership at the movies” sessions for years:
“I started using movies when I was teaching at West Point and then at the Naval War College,” he notes. “Movies, like a case study, offer real-life portrayals of examples of leadership in crisis. Viewers can use these portrayals to discuss the behaviors they would like to emulate or avoid during similar circumstances.”
“Using purposeful viewing, participants can key into leadership behaviors that are both positive and negative,” says Turregano. “They can reflect on their own reactions to those behaviors and whether the behaviors are conducive to good leadership.”
During a recent workshop, for example, Turregano featured the movie The Legend of Bagger Vance, the 2000 film about a golfer and his mystical caddy, Bagger Vance, played by Will Smith. “I asked one group in the audience to look at the relationship and how Bagger developed and built on it. Another group was asked to view how Bagger assessed the golfer’s ability, while a third group was asked to comment on the golfer’s challenges and how Bagger supported him through these challenges. This provided excellent commentary for discussion around themes of coaching and developing others.”
I’ve had teams watch full movies as an evening activity at an off-site, and have used short clips during training sessions or team development workshops. YouTube provides us with a searchable library of leadership content on any topic.
Movies are also a great way for leaders to learn about leadership on their own!
Here’s a list of my 20 favorite leadership movies, updated with links to purchase the DVD on Amazon. See the comments section for lots of other reader suggestions.
2. Office Space (funny examples of what not to do; can also use scenes from “The Office” television series)
3. Dead Poet’s Society
4. Apollo Thirteen
5. The Great Escape
7. Twelve O’Clock High
8. Remember the Titans
9. Mr. Holland’s Opus
10. The Lion King
11. The Firm
12. In Good Company
14. Glengarry Glen Ross
15. The Bridge on the River Kwai
16. Wall Street
17. It’s a Wonderful Life
18. We Were Soldiers
19. Lord of the Rings
20. The Thing