Remember the Titans
The Disney film ‘Remember the Titans’ gives a perfect opportunity for the analysis of the evolution of leadership based on the development of a team. In order to comprehensively analyze the film using different stages of group development, it was important to use Tuckman’s Model which uses four stages of development: forming, storming, norming and performing(Newton, 2015). The ruling by the United States Supreme Court to end all state imposed segregation in public schools in April 1971 set the stage for the movie ‘Remember the Titans’ with Denzel Washington (Herman Boone) stared as the head coach of the Titans. The primary four leaders represented in the movie were: Herman Boone, the black head coach; Bill Yoast, the white assistant coach; Gerry Bertier, the white unofficial leader of the white athletes and Julius Campbell, the black unofficial leader of the black athletes.
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In the movie, Herman Boone was first represented in the movie as the only black assistant coach dominated by the white coaching staff. After sometime, Boone was appointed as the head coach, a position he was reluctant to accept due to past experience he faced in South Carolina when white coach was appointed over him(Yakin, 2000). But after realizing that white community see him as a symbol of respect and pride something that was missing in the community, he accepted the position. The movie started with demonstration following the death of black teenager killed by a white storeowner. The incident highlighted the tension of racial discrimination that has been deeply rooted in the society(Yakin, 2000). However, head Coach Boone ensures that he overcome the challenge of racism within the community, the coaching staff and within the team. Boone strive to build winning team composed of mixed racial. In order to build a high performing football team, Boone required different leadership style at various points of growth.
The forming stage
The forming stage in the movie started when Boone was appointed as the head coach of the team (5:50). Following this development coach Yoast convened a meeting with players and parents and informed them that he will no longer be the head coach of football team (9:19). Many player threatened to leave the team if Yoast was allowed to leave to coaching staff(Yakin, 2000). The meeting organized by Boone in preparation for the start of the football season was a significant event in this stage (13.18). In an attempt to disrupt Boone’s first address and interaction with player, Yoast arrived the meeting late with the players. Boone and Yoast engaged in a heated debate regarding their responsibilities and roles as the coaching staff after the meeting, hence developing a leadership dynamic that ended the forming stage (13.40).
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During this stage the football team falls into the R1 category in terms of readiness. This analysis is based on the fact that the team exhibited unwillingness to continue playing (9:19). In addition, Yoast indicated the signs of not willing to cooperate and work together with Boone by creating conflict at the meeting (13:18)(Yakin, 2000). As a result of R1 level observed in the team, both coaches instigated the transition to S1 style by instructing and telling the team members on what to do. During the meeting Yoast informed the players and parents that they will be playing under Boone as a coach (9:19), and Boone also inform the both new and old players that were signed by Yoast that he will be the one to determine how the season progresses.
This stage started when Yoast and his players attempted to disrupt team meeting (13:18) and this also signifies the end of forming stage. The events observed in the movies that signifies storming stage included the confrontation between Coach Boone, players Ray and Gary outside the bus (15:11) before the preseason, Boone encouraging new and old player to bond together and integrate by assigning roommates (18:27), and the rift between white and black roommates/teammates (19:00, 28:52)(Yakin, 2000). Players were required to learn from each other, failure to do so risks facing three a day practices. It is during this moments that Julian questioned the leadership of Gary as a captain (24:54, 29:30). The confrontation between Gary and Julian signifies the end of storming stage(Yakin, 2000). Other events observed include confrontation between Gary and his white teammate for intentionally missing a block, the bonding between Julian and Gary in the “Strong Side, Left Side” as well as the direct positive response to the confrontation Julian and Gary had previously (34:20, 35:20).
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In this phase the team remain stagnated in the R1 phase of development because both leaders exercised S1 leadership by instructing and telling the players on what to do. Boone moved leadership from S1 to S2 when he informed the team the importance of joining forces and working together (33:27) as well as assisting players to accomplish their duties in the field and practice (21:22)(Yakin, 2000). During storming stage individual members of the team moved to R2 development by accepting and working with colored teammates to achieve the overall objectives of the team.
This stage started when Julian and Gary engaged in discussion regarding “Left Side, Strong Side” in the practice session (35:22). In this stage, team exhibited bonding characteristics both in the field and off the field, thus enhancing bonding among the team members (42:10). Players were seen embracing each other and sharing jokes in the locker rooms especially about ‘Yo Mama’ jokes (37:39). At the end of the pre-season players were seen singing jubilation songs as they return into the bus (43:00)(Yakin, 2000). These events signified the unity formed in the team(Newton, 2015). The unity of the team was tested when Julian and Gary exchanged fists in the hall necessitating Black and White players to engages in bitter exchange of words (1:00:05), the unwillingness of Gary’s girlfriend to interact with Julian’s mom and Julian himself (54:45, 56:45), and the incidents of unfriendly celebration by the mixed groups to celebrate after the win (53:40)(Yakin, 2000). Following the incident player make an effort of bringing players together and initiating a warm-up that create resilience and bringing players together (1:03:50, 1:07:27). The events that followed included the team winning consistently and overcoming the tension of segregation.
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At this stage the development of the team is categorized as R3 stage since the team had been trained and prepared to compete at high level, but winning was not always guaranteed. During norming stage both Yoast and Boone exhibited S3 style of leadership, which was observed when they engaged and encouraged to take part in decision making process(Yukl, 2006). Boone assigned Captain Gary the responsibility of leaving friends that were not committed to the team activities (1:25:00). In the movie it was also observed that Boone exhibited participative style of leadership when he gave Sunshine a confidence of inspiring pep talk prior to entering the game to quarterback the team (1:15:08). When Boone reprimandedPetey for not doing enough on the offensive line, Yoast took the responsibility of guiding him (50:50)(Yakin, 2000). This indicated that Yoast was helping Petey to overcome emotional need and perform as expected in the field. Toward the end of norming stage, Boone and Yoast started bonding. It was observed that Boone visited Yoast in his home to share ideas and scouting information that he had gathered (59:05). Either coaches exhibited participative or S3 leadership style.
The movie entered the performing stage when the team started warm up and persistent efforts to unite the team in the field and off field as well as winning the games (1:07:27). During the halftime in the championship game, Julian emphasized the importance of the team remaining united always (1:38:15)(Yakin, 2000). The team also supported Gary to recover after being injured in an accident (1:26:24). Further it was observed that the unity of the team extended to the entire community when they cheered Boone for winning the championship (1:25:00) and according Gary’s mom a standing ovation in the final game (1:34:01). In addition, former Gary’s girlfriend tried to get to know Julius better (1:35:09)(Yukl, 2006). In the field, Allen relinquished his position to Petey because he knew he could do better job (1:39:50). Rev who was injured in the quarterback came in and assist the team to win the game in the final seconds of the championship game (1:42:40). All these events set the stage for the performing stage.
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During the performing stage, the team entered the development stage of R4 readiness category. It was observed that the team had developed the ability and confidence to progress into new heights. Both Boone and Yoast exhibited understanding and delegated duties to the players and practiced S4 leadership style. In the halftime, Boone gave Julian the opportunity to withdraw his earlier statement and encourage the team as they go into the second half of the team (1:38:15)(Yakin, 2000). Towards the end of the movie it was observed that Boone and Yoast were working collaboratively to ensure that the team achieve the best(Yukl, 2006). They were frequently consulting each other thus creating the best team in offensive and defensive (1:39:48). In an effort to win the game, Yoast allowed Allen to make a decision of relinquishing his position to Petey (1:39:50). In the end of the movie, it was observed that both Boone and Yoast acknowledge the importance of team success which culminated to the high performance as a group (1:44:40).
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