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Leadership not doing a "Good Job" in Movie WhipLash

Leadership - not doing good job

 In the Academy award winning moving Whiplash, Fletcher, a teacher at a prestigious music school, yells, swears, and throws instruments around the room when students don't live up to his standards.  "Not my tempo" was his favorite saying when Andrew, the young drumming prodigy, can't find the beat.  Fletcher was looking for the next world class musician, and had seen in Andrew that possibility.

I have coached many leaders like Fletcher.  Passionate people who believe their leadership style will bring out the best possible results from their staff. But when passion turns into anger, rather than motivating and inspiring, it ends up creating a culture of fear and anxiety.  (Of course the movie goes to an extreme to make a point, but the point is still made.)

Fletcher's Def'n of Leadership:  To use anger and extreme tactics as a tool for assisting someone to discover their full potential to achieve an outcome.

In Whiplash, Fletcher's leadership style is counterproductive.  It is based on having a limited number of tools for which to bring about a goal.  Eventually unless the person being taught is very strong, most people end up becoming passieve "yes men", going along with the leader's wishes rather than standing up for what they believe in.

There are better leadership tools to help people see their own potential, than the short sighted (and harassment lawsuit risk) 'Fletcher' method.

6 Leadership tools "Fletcher" needs to learn:

    1. Believe in the person more than the person believes in themselves
    2. Be tough with regards to holding the person responsible for their actions and their word
    3. Support them through the ups and downs (without accepting 'good enough' as the standard)
    4. Recognize that failure is critical to learning
    5. Inspire rather than motivate
    6. Tap into the person's own need for success

In the movie "Fletcher" doesn't have enough strategies to draw on when trying to inspire his protege to excellence.  The message in the movie about believing in someone's potential, and how far you're prepared to go, is powerful.

 The key is can you do it with finesse, sophistication, while not accepting "good job" as "good enough."

 

 

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