Leadership Lessons from Oscar Nominees

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Since the Academy Awards were last night, I might as well related this week’s leadership post to an article I found about how four Oscar nominees can teach us a thing or two when it comes to leadership. The article can be found here. It is written by Steve Denning, whom Caroline talked about today in class for her book report.

Denning introduces four Oscar nominees: Tinker Taylor Soldier Spy, Moneyball, The Descendants, and The Iron Lady. For each film, he is able to discuss the plot and draw out the “intended moral” of the story and pairs it with what the “real leadership lesson” the audience is actually left with.

I have not had the time to see the four films he mentioned so I cannot compare my thoughts on the leadership lessons for each film. But, as I was reading the article, I noticed he somewhat compared The Iron Lady to what Caroline was talking about today in class — “Story-Listening.” In the Iron Lady, the leadership lesson he provided was that “listening is equally as important as speaking,” where by story-listening, a leader can figure out the needs and wants for his or her followers to make them a more effective leader.

No matter how staged Hollywood can seem, it is nice to know that there are still some films out there that can leave us with valuable skills. Have you seen the films mentioned in this article? Do you agree with what Denning has said, in terms of leadership lessons learned?



2 Comments on “Leadership Lessons from Oscar Nominees”

  1. Jessica,

    Haven’t seen any of the movies yet, but I am intrigued by Denning’s storytelling principles and the concept of listening. When we think of leaders we think of great orators who are able to compel the masses to action, but we may not always consider their role as listeners.

    I know this is a skill I need to work on (and the “active” kind of listening)… What about you?

    Jess V.

  2. Hi Jessica,

    I think I am more of a listener than a “great orator.” While sometimes I do step up to the challenge to speak, I’d much rather stand on the sidelines and listen to somebody else move the crowd. Before reading about Denning’s storytelling principles, I had my doubts on listeners being leaders. But thinking about it now, it makes sense. A leader must also have great listening skills to know what his or her followers want, and it is also a main component in communication.


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