What leadership traits did you observe that portrayed transformational leadership? How did this affect relationships and the outcomes?
This movie is a story regarding conflict, racism, and football. In Alexandria, Virginia, forced integration has resulted in two schools closing and consolidating, this assimilation includes the football team which is fraught with anger. The white players do not want to play with the African American players, and vice versa. When Boone first met the Titan coaching staff, it was clear he was not wanted, however, he remained polite, and respectful.
Boone exhibited an autocratic, transactional leadership style, ruling by fear and consequences with the players and coach Yoast. Boone set the tone by showing his legitimate authority and control in an attempt to create structure and order, for example, on the buses traveling to pre-season boot camp, Boone forced integration of the players based on offensive and defensive roles rather than race. Additionally, Boone asserted his dominance over coach Yoast at the outset, leaving no doubt who was the head coach.
Given the significant racial issues and unrest due to the federally mandated integration and the anger that ensued, it was imperative that Boone make a stand and persevere in the face of this adversity. However, Boone was also a transformational leader in that he inspired the team to transcend the racial issues, their self-interests and hatred for the good of the team. Boone inspired the team to achieve and excel, he set the vision and expectations, challenging players to be their best. Boone humanized the races by forcing them to get to know one another
Coach Yoast was a relationship centered leader who focused on the needs of individuals and garnered his power by identifying with the players on a personal level.
Team Captain, Gerry Bertier was a conscientious authentic person who was steadfast in his beliefs and was not afraid to stand up and act on his values. Bertier, although an informal leader, was a transformational leader in every aspect. Much of the success of the team was due to Bertier and his intolerance for hatred.
Defensive player, Julius Campbell was a quiet young man who was a socialized charismatic leader that focused on others rather than self. Campbell was pivotal in creating relationships between the white and the African American players when he challenged Bertier as the team captain regarding his players, not blocking for the African American players. Campbell’s interaction with Bertier changed Bertier’s perspective.
The achievements of the Titans would not have been possible without the leadership of Boone, Yoast, Bertier, and Campbell. Each brought a different, yet equally important leadership style to the table that fostered relationships amongst the players.
What negative leadership behaviors did you observe in the movie? How did this affect relationships and outcome?
Boone stated “I am the law, this is not a democracy, it is a dictatorship” (Disney Productions, 2000). This was a clear illustration of autocratic leadership through fear and intimidation.
What issues of trust and mistrust were portrayed? How did this affect relationships and outcomes of the movie both positively and negatively?
Remember the Titans was based on the mistrust between the races during desegregation. There was a complete lack of trust between the whites and the African Americans in the community of Alexandria, the coaching staff, and the players. The town was in turmoil due to the federally mandated desegregation. Both races exhibited fear, hatred, and anger, fighting, protesting, and battling the change.
Initially, the mistrust created a climate that appeared insurmountable, however, as the coaches and players began to integrate and understand one another, trust was built. The trust that grew amongst the players was the ingredient required for a winning team. As the community saw the faith and friendship build among the players, the tide of racism began to turn. Once the Titans began to win games, most of the town began to support the integrated team.
What activities of the characters enhanced or diminished others self-esteem? What were the consequences of this?
Boone’s initial “in your face” confrontation of the white players diminished their self-esteem and increased their resentment. Conversely, Boone believed in Ronnie “Sunshine” Bass and his ability to pass the ball, subsequently, Bass, believed in himself. Another illustration in this movie of Boone enhancing self-esteem is the interaction between Boone and Lastik. Lastik did not believe he was smart enough to go to college, however, with Boone’s encouragement Lastik maintains a C average and makes it to college.
Boone and Yoast experienced tension as Boone was appointed over Yoast as head coach. Yoast, having positive regard for the white players he had coached, remained as assistant coach under Boone at the demand of his players. Together, Boone and Yoast’s perspectives of racial equality and their love of football brought together the team, and ultimately the town of Alexandria.
Bertier and Campbell began the season filled with animosity, however, they gradually began to understand and trust one another, first through confrontational behavior, then collaboration and fellowship and they developed a lasting friendship. Bertier and Campbell established the example for the entire team by setting aside their differences and supporting the Titans together.
Choose 3 strategies of complexity science and describe how they were portrayed in the movie and influenced relationships and outcome.
Co-evolution: As the attitudes of the players changed, their environment changed, they began to accept one another, despite race. The outcome of co-evolution was acceptance and collaboration.
Embedded systems: The football players were components of a complex adaptive system embedded in the team, which was in turn embedded in the community. The team was the major influence in changing the racial relationships of Alexandria. The Championship of a desegregated team was the catalyst that set in motion racial acceptance.
Natural emergence: Acceptance of one another despite race occurred on a global scale, however, it emerged after many interactions on a smaller scale amongst multiple agents (Zimmerman, n.d.).
What did you observe in the movie that portrays the old paradigm of viewing the world as a clockwork mechanism characterized by control, hierarchy, and linear relations?
Boone clearly exhibited a hierarchical leadership style of control. Boone made it very apparent that he was the boss and the locus of control was his and his alone.
What did you observe in the movie that portrays the new paradigm of viewing the world through the lens of complexity?
Experiencing angst, anger, racial tensions, unpredictability, and operating on the edge of chaos, the football team was a microcosm of the community. Boone and Yoast appreciated that if the team were to be successful, they would have to pull together. Each and every person coaching and playing were an element of a greater entity, each interdependent on the other for success. The triumph of the Titans required the perspective of many agents and their interaction and cooperation in order for the team to prosper (Burnes, 2004).
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