Movie Review: Leadership in the Movie “Remember the Titans.”

The Movie Remember the Titans demonstrates core concepts of leadership by offering a contrasting portrayal of authoritarian and participative leadership. Set in Alexandria, Virginia, the movie’s principal themes are racism and prejudice brought out in a school that is forced to integrate following a 1971 by a federal court order, with such themes extending to the surrounding community. To highlight these themes, the movie centers on a football team (Titans) in which conflicts start right as the movie starts. Conflicts start with the replacement of the successful white coach (Bill Yoast), who has been coaching the white team before integration and was expecting to be inducted into the school’s hall of fame that year, by a black coach (Herman Boone), as the head of the coaching team in the resultant integrated school – TC Williams. In a larger context, however, the movie highlights various leadership concepts, which this paper discusses in subsequent sections.

A central aspect distinguishing the two coaches, apart from their race, is their leadership styles. Whereas coach Boone is an authoritarian leader who allows little input from other members of the coaching team, coach Yoast, the assistant coach, is a democratic leader who, for instance, recognizes the input from his players to reconsider his decision to leave his coaching duties in TC Williams High School (Yakin & Bruckheimer, 2000). On the concepts of directive, supportive, achievement-oriented and participative leadership proposed in the House model (Schermerhorn, Hunt, Osborn & Uhl-Blen, 2010, p. 313), coach Boone’s style is directive but also having characteristics of achievement-oriented leadership. Exemplifying such a directive nature is Boone’s instructions, which spell-out the tasks that the players, at times the assistant coach, should take. For instance, in one of the games when the team is not doing well, Boone tells Yoast that if the opponents score once more, he would take over the running of the defense, a responsibility that rested with Yoast (Yakin & Bruckheimer, 2000). With regard to achievement-oriented leadership, coach Boone’s preoccupation with winning is for instance demonstrated when he agrees to a press conference where he reinforces their resolve to win, within days of a debilitating accident that rules out the team’s captain from ever playing football (Yakin & Bruckheimer, 2000). Coach Yoast on the other hand demonstrates supportive as well as participative leadership traits. For instance, he agrees to become the assistant coach despite being surpassed unfairly for the head-coaching job and in spite of getting offers to become a head coach in other schools (Yakin & Bruckheimer, 2000). Continue to part 2.

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