Leading Comments

Leading Comments / July 2001


Due to the rapid increase in subscriptions to Leadership Opportunity I would like to make sure we are in the same field as you read this e-journal. First, I wish to express my gratitude to the many kindnesses, suggestions and offers of support LeadershipOpportunity has received.

The mission of this e-journal is to be a practical guide to the application of an integral perspective to the challenges of leadership in business and life.

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In the March 2000 issue of Inc. there appeared an article that recognizes the link between our ideas about leadership and our culture. The focus is on one specific expression of culture, perhaps one of our richest:

“Everything I Know About Leadership, I Learned from the Movies,” Leigh Buchanan and Mike Hofman.

Here are some examples:

Apollo 13: Two themes

  1. Failure is not an option.
  2. Sharing complete information and maintaining a verbal lifeline they were able to retain control in a chaotic situation.

The Bridge on the River Kwai

Catastrophe is the consequence of not considering the purposes toward which leadership is being placed.

Dead Poets Society

Despite his extraordinary capacity to inspire, his clumsiness in institutional relationships suggests that Keating (played by Robin Williams) is a role model for dot.com CEOs whose investors are looking for real leadership.


Queen Elizabeth learned leadership the hard way and renounced her own sweetest dreams to lead her country.

Glengarry Glen Ross

The epitome of what not to do.

It’s a Wonderful Life

This Christmas classic represents the epitome of a socially conscious entrepreneur(Jimmy Stewart).

Norma Rae

This increasingly resolute union leader (Sally Fields) leads while never foregoing her roots and membership among the workers she inspires.

Other movies are One Flew Over the Cuckcoo’s Nest (Jack Nicholson as the visionary leader), Twelve Angry Men (Henry Fonda as the quiet and resolute leader who keeps a deliberating jury focused) and Twelve O’clock High (Gregory Peck as the disciplinarian whose men come to respect and love).

What is the quality of leadership in your favorite movie? How does our culture communicate about your approach to leadership?

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Thanks for taking the time to consider this e-publication in a world of data overload. For leaders, collaborators, consultants, academics and coaches alike; I welcome you to some ideas and a dialogue that may benefit us all. I hope you will contact me soon with your idea, reference or article. Suggestions on improvement are welcome.
Russ Volckmann, PhD, Coaching Leaders in Business and Life
Email: russ@integraleadershipreview.com
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