Throughout this semester, from the movies, class, and reading Northouse’s book, I have learned many things that have changed my perspective in terms of leadership. From the movie “Fury”, I learned that sometimes you have to be harsh when you take on a leadership role. From Northouse’s book, I recognized that leadership can be learned and is not necessarily a born characteristic. Lastly, from class, I was taught that a good leader learns from their followers and adapt to their interests.
Before watching the film “Fury”, I believed that leaders should be civil and kind to their followers to enact change and achieve their common goals. However, after watching the film, my opinion changed. During “Fury”, the main character, Norman, refuses to engage in this type of leadership. Thus, he struggles to kill the enemies. At one point in the movie, a tank gets destroyed because he does not kill the gunman who fired at the tank because the gunman was only a child. To make Norman able to kill Don Collier, his leader forces him to kill an enemy soldier. Don holds Norman down, pushes a gun into his hand and forced Norman to pull the trigger. This action was necessary and was the only tactic that made Norman change so much so that later in the movie, Norman was nicknamed “Machine” because he became a reliable killing machine. This lesson is important because it shows that sometimes, you have to be harsher in your leadership styles, especially when your original method is not working. I could use this lesson to help improve my coaching style. Many times, the kids are hesitant to listen, and I allow them to misbehave. I could adopt parts of Don’s leadership and be stricter or give out “punishments” like swimming more laps or harder strokes when they misbehave. Overall it is essential to understand that a good leader is not always kind and has to incorporate harsh rules into their leadership style.
Leadership Theory and Practice by Northouse has expanded my understanding of leadership and its processes. One of the most important things I have learned from the book is that leadership can be learned, and it is not a characteristic that specific individuals have when they are born. The importance of this idea translated into my life because I now have confidence leading when I did not before. I used to think that I could not be a leader because I typically did not assume leadership positions that were not forced upon me in school or when working with others. I now and will continue to try to lead as much as possible and force myself to assume small but still powerful leadership positions when I do work. It also taught me that I can always improve my leadership skills and abilities. Although I feel as though I am finally emerging as a leader, I am now aware that I can become a stronger and better leader through experience and practice, something I would not know without the teaching of Northouse.
Lastly, from class, I learned that a good leader learns from their followers, adapts to their interests, and finds new ways to motivate their followers. Many times, in class, you changed your teaching styles to motivate your students(followers). One way you did this was through Jeopardy. You saw a weakness in your followers, our lack of understanding of the theories, and created a fun way to strengthen our abilities and knowledge. You found a new way to motivate your followers to learn about the theories by replacing Jeopardy grades with grades we would have received for papers. I plan to use this once again in my coaching style. I can change the way I motivate my swimmers and adapting more to their interests by playing games that teach technique. They would be more interested in the game then swimming laps, and I could manipulate the games so they would still learn the technique. It is essential to understand that one way of leading and motivating does not always work in every situation. Different things ultimately motivate people, and it is a leader’s job to adapt to their interests and find ways to motivate their followers.
Through this course, I have expanded my knowledge and changed my understanding of leadership. I have already incorporated not only these lessons and ideas, but other lessons and ideas I have learned from the movies, Northouse’s book, and class to my life. I am going to continue to work to become a better leader by using the new information I have learned and now understand that leaders cannot always be kind, that leadership is an ability that can be learned and that good leaders have to learn from their followers to find new ways to motivate them.