Situational Leadership Model In Remember the Titans Movie

Situational Leadership Model

            Situational leadership is described as phenomenon whereby a leader or manager changes his/her leadership style to conform to the existing situation. Hershey and Blanchard indicated that the change of leadership style is determined by the teams’ development and readiness to accept the type leadership presented on them(Hersey, & Blanchard, 1988). The team readiness is dictated by two factors: the ability and willingness. Ability is described as the team have acquired the requisite experience, skills and knowledge. On the other hand, willingness is described as motivation and commitment. Hershey and Blanchard put forward theoretical model that matches the team readiness level with a suitable leadership style.

At the readiness level one (R1), the team exhibits low confidence and low ability. As a result, the appropriate leadership style that a leaders/manager applies is S1 which is characterized by dictatorship. The leader issues specific instructions and closely monitor the performance. This type of leadership styles requires low on relationship and high on task behavior. This type of leadership style is referred to as directive(Gammage, et al., 2001).The readiness level two (R2) is characterized by team low in ability and high in willingness. R2 calls for leader/manager to use S2 leadership style which requires high on task and high on relationships. The leader/manager using this style of leadership take time to explain to the team his/her decisions and allows the team members to seek clarifications(Bruckheimer, & Yakin, 2000). This type of leadership style is known as coaching. The third stage is readiness level three (R3), which is characterized by high on ability and low on willingness. It matches with S3 leadership style which is described by low on task and high on relationship. This type of leadership style is described as supportive. The fourth readiness level (R4) is characterized by high on ability and high on willingness. The leader/manager uses S4 leadership style by delegating responsibilities, decision making and implementation to other team members. The leaders/managers also allows the team members to relinquish their responsibilities to other team member who performs better.

Remember the Titans

            This is a movie that depicted a true story about the abolition of the segregation and integration of football teams in high school following the directive issued by United States High Court in 1970’s(Bruckheimer, & Yakin, 2000). This movie provide perfection illustration of situation leadership model and team readiness as the football team undergoes leadership changes and integration of racially mixed players.

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Directive leadership style

            The movie begun by highlighting the comfort in which separate football teams hangout with their teammates. The team member were observed to be free and comfortable to hangout with colleagues from the same race. The team members were comfortable carrying out their responsibilities on their various teams. The problem arises when the teams were merged to become one team and coach Boone was appointed was the head coach and Yoast appointed as the assistant coach(Hersey, & Blanchard, 1988).These development puts the teams in uncertainty and shyness the features that are characterized with Bruce Tuckman’s model of group development. The team is in a confusion mode since they do not know what to expect from their head coach and from other team members. However, Coach Boone made it clear to the black players that this is a dictatorship, not a democracyand he is the law (11:15).

Few minutes later, Coach Yoast entered the meeting room with white players with the intention of disrupting the meeting. As the two coaches engages in the heated discussion, Boone was able to establish himself and sets the tone for the team to follow, which clear sign of directive leadership style in the forming stage (13:25). Despite the fact that the team is technically in the forming stage, there was a sense of tension and conflict in the team and could spill over to the community and the entire nation(Bruckheimer, & Yakin, 2000). By the use of directive leadership style, Coach Boone was able to provide leadership and take the team to the next stage of development.

Coach Boone remained in directive leadership style for the most part of the movie. For example, as the team prepared to go for pre-season training camp, Coach Boone reshuffle the players by directing black and white players to sit together and share rooms (17:00). Studies indicated that Coach Boone intentionally pushed team into a tension and conflict mood so that they can exit the forming stage and enters the storming stages. Coach Boone authority was further witnessed when Ray and Gary attempted to suggested the appropriate ways of managing the team (15:30)(Bruckheimer, & Yakin, 2000). Instead, Coach Boone reiterated that he is in charge and reminded them of their duties and responsibilities. The directive leadership style was very important for Coach Boone in the forming stage since it enabled him to earn respect from the team and community.

Coaching leadership style

Although in the storming stage, Coach Boone continued to exhibit directive leadership style. The application inclined towards coaching leadership style. For example, during the training session, Coach Boone punished the players every time they dropped the pass, missed the ball or fumbles a football by making them to run a mile (19:24, 20:37)(Bruckheimer, & Yakin, 2000). The punishment may seemed punitive but it worked well for Coach Boone because he needed to instill the team the norms of productivity and increase cohesiveness in the team. At some point, it was observed that Coach Boone informed the team and the coaching staff the importance of coming together (33:27).

Read also Leadership Coaching – Benefits Of A Professional Coach To Clients

Coaching leadership style in this stage was important because it helped the coach to balance between extreme directive leadership style and coaching directive leadership. This style of leadership helped the team to acquire norms of cohesiveness and productivity in the major championship games since the skills instilled were applicable during competitions and championships.

Supportive leadership style

            Coach Boone exhibited supportive leadership style as the team transited from storming to norming stages. During this period players were seen engaging in constructive criticism especially the talk between Gerry and Julius (31:45). Coach Boone effected supportive leadership style through the use of “Lesson from the Dead” It was observed that Coach Boone woke up players at 3:00 AM and took them to run through woods until they arrived at Gettysburg battlefield(Bruckheimer, & Yakin, 2000). As the players run through the woods it was observed that they assisted each other and pushed themselves to finish the run. At the Gettysburg battlefield the players were very exhausted and they had no energy to fight each other. This is the time Coach Boone took the opportunity to explain to the player about the Gettysburg battlefield(Gammage, et al., 2001). At this point, Coach Boone had realized that no amount of yelling and providing directives to the players would help them integrate if they are not willing. Coach Boone changed the leadership style from coaching to supportive because after the run the subsequent scene showed players training and playing as a team. The team spirit was evident and players were now embracing each other (36:00). Also, when Rev got injured in the game, Ronnie had to came in but it seems that Ronnie was not confident of himself and Coach Boone had to show some support by assuring him that he was a good player and his team needed him to provide leadership.

Delegating leadership style

            The delegating leadership style surfaced when the team was preparing for Groveton game and the two coaches were very busy and had no time to convene the team meeting. As a result, the player took upon themselves and convene a meeting and addressed their difference (01:05:52)(Bruckheimer, & Yakin, 2000). A clear scene in the movie that showed Coach Boone applying delegating leadership style was when he stand in the backseat and allowed Gerry to handle the issue of substituting Ray from the team (1:12:30). Delegating leadership style was appropriate at this point since the team had exhibited high on confidence and high on ability and Coach Boone was driving a point of showing the team leaders that he trust and support their decision.

Remember the Titan is generally a good movie for illustrating situational leadership model. The movie enables the viewer to observe Coach Boone transit from one leadership style to another based on the situation.

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