Remember the titans review (part 3)

Overall, Remember the Titans exemplifies the importance of matching leadership style to leadership situation. Matching leadership style to the situation ensures better outcomes are achieved, since by being relevant to a leadership situation, a leader’s traits become pronounced in their effect (Schermerhorn et al., 2010, p. 310). In the movie, by being black thus lacking respect of the white community that considered blacks as inferior, coach Boone needs to use a directive approach to establish his authority in the beginning of his tenure. Coach Yoast, on the other hand, has to adopt a participative approach that allows the white players to express their ego and in the process learn to respect coach Boone.

The movie also portrays the growth of a team from an immature one to one that is mature, possessing attributes such as excellent feedback mechanisms and clear communication. At its immature stage, the TC Williams football team lacks cohesiveness with white and black teammates not supporting each other (Yakin & Bruckheimer, 2000). As the team progresses, team members start getting into conflicts frequently. For instance, when they are provided with drinking water in the camp, a conflict arises when a white player disallows a black player to drink water before him; the resultant brawl leads to the spilling of the water that was provided for the entire team, thus all team members – who were thirsty – lose (Yakin & Bruckheimer, 2000). Such a stage is analogous to the storming stage of team development when conflicts between team members are widespread (Schermerhorn et al., 2010, p.166). At later stages in the camp, once the team visits the site for the battle of Gettysburg where coach Boone gives them a speech on learning from the dead, the team starts to come together and work towards bettering their performance. This is synonymous to the norming stage of team development, where an initial integration and harmony among team members develops (Schermerhorn et al., 2010, p.166). As the team comes out of the camp it has moved from an immature to mature form. For instance, despite racial differences remaining within the rest of the school and the surrounding community, the football team remains united thus ensuring an unbeaten run for the entire season. Such a stage is synonymous to the performing stage in the team development process where total integration of the members has taken place (Schermerhorn et al., 2010, p.167). Through this integration, the team is able to proceed to the adjourning stage, which is demonstrated by their coming back together for the burial of Bertier, several years after having left TC Williams High school.

The movie offers various lessons for leaders facing a similar situation. For instance, in the case where a leader’s authority is challenged out of characteristics rather than ones performance and capabilities, establishing clear guidelines for performance of tasks would ensure members do not sabotage team performance. However, once team cohesiveness has been established, a more participative approach would better the confidence of the members thus allowing them to tap their strengths to the benefit of the team. Accordingly, a principal lesson that is portrayed in the movie is that of matching ones leadership approach to the prevailing situation.


Schermerhorn, J. R., Hunt, J. G., Osborn, R.N. & Uhl-Blen, M. (2010). Organization behavior (11th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Yakin, B. (director), & Bruckheimer, J. (Producer). (2000). Remembering the titans [DVD]. United States: Jerry Bruckheimer Films.

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