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Reel To Real Part 2: 5 Movies That Inspire Leadership Skills Every CEO Can Use To Get Better Results For Their Company

movie that inspire leadershipReel To Real: 5 Movies That Inspire Leadership Skills Every CEO Can Use To Get Better Results For Their Company (Part 2!)

Movies That Inspire Leadership: Audrey Hepburn famously said, “Everything I learned I learned from the movies.” And if you’re a CEO intent to lead your team to achieve better results, everything you need to know, you can learn in an underdog sports story.

Cindy Anderson’s powerful discussion around leadership traits was the catalyst for this fun series.  This is part 2 in our two part segment: Reel To Real, Movies That Inspire Leadership Skills For CEOs. (If you missed Part 1, check it out here!)  Earlier this week we dove into our first two picks on awesome sports-inspired movies that inspire courage and the leader within us all.

If you need permission to binge on some excellent flicks in the name of Leadership Development, here’s your ticket!

3. The Karate Kid (1984)

In comparing the teaching styles of the two Senseis, this is a classic of all classic movies that inspire leadership shows how a leader can be an authority without being authoritative.

Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita) guided Daniel (Ralph Macchio) in his tasks and Daniel followed his lead. Meanwhile, Kreese (Martin Kove) of Cobra Kai barked down orders and dominated his students with fear.

Good leadership is finding the balance between being charismatic versus being bureaucratic. So while Mr. Miyagi’s style is better (and more preferred by employees) than Kreese’s dictatorship, it still could use some adjustments.

And this is where Cindy’s recommendation of setting check-ins and milestones for projects come into play.

Because Mr. Miyagi didn’t properly communicate the rationale of the tasks to Daniel, and only came to check on him at the end of each assignment, he got frustrated in his training.

In a real business scenario, this frustration leads to disengagement in your employees, which can cost your business an average of $600,000 a year in salary for days where no one worked.

As Mr. Miyagi says:

“First learn balance. Balance good, karate good, everything good.” – including your business and leading your team.

4. Moneyball (2011)

From start to finish, this is one of the greatest movies that inspire leadership is all about making decisions.

Sometimes it’s a quick and informed decision. Like when Billy (Brad Pitt) brought Peter (Jonah Hill) to his team, after noticing how much influence he had over his boss at the meeting. Other times, it’s a practical decision, like when he had to cut or trade players to get the maximum results for his team.

There were also situations when he had to make radical and controversial decisions. Such as when he adapted the Moneyball strategy or when he had to trade players so Coach Art Howe (Philip Seymour Hoffman) will have no choice but to stick to his plan.

Of course, there were also decisions that didn’t work the way he planned. Like when he chose to go pro rather than accept his academic scholarship. And, depends on who you ask, when he declined the $12 million offer of the Red Sox.

But the takeaway here is, as a CEO you will have to make decisions. As a leader you will have to clearly and concisely explain the rationale of your decisions to your team to get better results for your company.

The perfect example of this is when Hiroshi Mikitani, founder and CEO of Rakuten, Japan’s largest online marketplace, introduced the Englishnization program to his company.

Almost overnight, everything in the company, from signs, communications, and memos changed into English. Employees and management also had to attend compulsory English lessons sponsored by the company.

The radical decision was initially met with skepticism especially from other CEOs, who can’t understand why a Japanese company would change their corporate language to English. Even Rakuten’s employees weren’t immediately onboard with their CEO’s leadership vision.

But Mikitani’s decision to transition into an English-speaking corporation has resulted in Rakuten acquiring stakes in other global companies like Lyft and Pinterest, hiring international talent, and opening opportunities outside of Japan for their employees.

In other words, as a CEO you have to be ready to lead and to make a range of decisions for your company, with sound information, an open mind, and the courage to make another one if things aren’t going the way as planned.

5. Remember The Titans (2000)

When it comes to movies that inspire leadership, Remember The Titans captures the essence of what it means to set an example in leading your team.

While Coach Boone (Denzel Washington) was tough on his players, his consistent treatment of his white and African American players despite racial pressure from the community, led to his team mirroring his example.

One of the times was when Blue (Earl Poitier) and Louie (Ethan Suplee) took the initiative to call all their teammates together to bridge the growing tension they face between themselves after camp.

Another instance, was when Bertier (Ryan Hurst) decided to cut a player he thought didn’t have the team’s best interest in mind. Boone, instead of doing it for him, gave Bertier the responsibility of being accountable for his decisions.

And, as this movie shows, modeling expectations doesn’t only happen from the top-down, even CEOs can learn something from their employees.

Just like when Coach Boone and Yoast (Will Patton) decided to take their own advice and got to know each other on and off the field, resulting in a stronger coaching staff which won the team the championship.

The lesson here is, great leaders, breed even greater leaders. It doesn’t matter where you are on the ladder. Being a leader is more than just a title, “but, rather, a set of actions. It’s not someone you are. It’s something you do.”

Are you inspired yet? I hope this post on movies that inspire leadership leaves you energized and encouraged about building the culture in your business.

If you loved this Reel To Real Series, check out our other Leadership-Inspired Articles:

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