What the Movies Can Teach Us About Leadership

Movies telling the story of real-life people or events often invoke inspiration by demonstrating the indomitable human spirit. The bravery, courage, and persistence of a movie’s main characters also portray qualities that most would deem leadership characteristics. Several films serve to inspire and teach about leadership.

Norma Rae -1979

Sally Field played the part of real-life employee advocate Crystal Lee Sutton. Living in North Carolina during the 1970s, Sutton and her co-workers suffer from poor working conditions and less than adequate wages. She talked with supervisors and company owners to improve the plight of the employees. However, when efforts failed, Sutton decided to establish a union; her colleagues soon joined her in battle. But, she was deemed a trouble maker and fired. Sutton was also briefly incarcerated. Her desire to improve wages and working conditions led to her becoming a union organizer.

The Pursuit of Happyness – 2006

Will Smith portrayed real-life Christopher Gardner, a salesman for a newly developed medical device known as a bone density scanner. Unfortunately, the market did not exist for the device, which left Mr. Gardner unsuccessful despite hours and days of trying to convince others of his product’s benefits. His persistent endeavors cost him his marriage and his home. Gardner became homeless and the single parent of a young son. The duo slept in shelters and bathed in public bathrooms. Until at one point, Gardner was able to impress a Wall Street broker with his tenacity. He was awarded a position that provided himself and his son with a better life.

Eddie the Eagle – 2016

Taron Egerton assumed the role of the young man who was determined to become an athlete despite having musculoskeletal limitations. He developed an interest in skiing and trained to participate in the Olympics. But, regardless of how hard he tried, his skills did not improve. Eddie’s attention turned to ski jumping. With the help of a reluctant coach, Eddie was determined to qualify. Once he satisfied the terms of qualification, he decided to make his mark by jumping from the highest platform in the 1988 Olympics. Although his score was last in the standings, Eddie won people’s hearts around the world. The real Eddie received a law degree and became a torch-bearer in the 2010 Olympics.