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It is widely accepted that there are different patterns of authority. The film “Glory” (1989) is a thought-provoking and captivating representation of various types of leadership that are applied in military settings. Interestingly, apart from management qualities, it brings into focus racial discrimination in the light of the African American’s subordination to the colonel. The film sheds light on the peculiarities of military leadership and its particular outcomes. The spectator may get acquainted with transactional and transformational styles of leadership that in some cases are shown indirectly by means of integrating the disagreements between the chiefs. Although the film regards military leadership in particular, it serves as the trigger to foster general understanding of management.
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The film “Glory” (1989) is particularly based on the formation of the new regiment, including African Americans. As these people do not know the simple standards of war and are not ready to fight, Colonel Shaw and Major Forbes are becoming the leaders that provide their subservients with the knowledge of simple techniques that would be helpful at war. The hackneyed truth of the film consists of the assumption that nowadays leadership does not mean friendship (Forck, 2011). This conjecture may be viewed through the prism of the relationships that existed between Forbes, Shaw, and Searles. The spectator may affirm that their friendship fails because Shaw is a transformational leader whose actions are long-term oriented. He offends the colored regiment, thus making them feel the gist of the war. Searles, the member of the colored regiment becomes Shaw’s subordinator, and this position practically ruins their friendship. However, it is reasonable to remark that Shaw’s behaviors were affected by his attitude to the African American people. This negative side of leadership reveals at the beginning of the film. One of the reasons why the friendship in the military settings failed is that the communication that was previously horizontal takes vertial position that enables the discordance in the views. In this context, it is necessary to put an emphasis on the colonel’s actions, as he did not fully understand what leadership actually was. According to Taylor (2008), “Leadership is not hierarchical, top-down, or based on positional power and authority” (p. 1). Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that friendship and leadership should co-exist in order to achieve a shared purpose, which in the context of “Glory” is to win the battle. Presumably, the characters of the above-mentioned film should not change their relationships.
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As Shaw is the main personage, his leadership behavior is the most striking one. It seems that his actions may determine him as a transformational leader. Colonel Shaw is ambitious and his management style is marked with the presence of the peculiar features characteristic for the transformational style. It is widely accepted by the researchers who deal with management that such type of leadership means long-term orientation on the well-being of an organization. However, in the military settings, Shaw takes care of the colored regiment. The simple examples of this particular concern demonstrate Shaw’s anxiety regarding the military equipment and clothes in particular. In order to become ‘glorious’, as the title suggests, the colonel sticks to do everything that may help the soldiers in future. Interestingly, he is in charge of raising public spirit of his regiment. Realizing it, Shaw sacrifices his own money for the sake of his soldiers’ pride. Although the character dies in the end, the spectator may feel that he was a good leader due to the reason that the crux of his leadership originated from what he did for the sake of his objective – glory.
Apart from Shaw’s character, one may see another transformational leader John Rawlins. His position in the film is not central, perhaps because he is an Afro-American soldier, and “Glory” presents racial discrimination. Rawlins is a character that fully understands thee needs of the regiment. In order to warrant his leadership position, Rawlins always communicates the needs of his regiment to the colonel that makes final decisions. In addition, there are two other characters that fit into the leadership picture. Before the battle, Tripp and Searles deliver their speeches on glory and their main objective. Their leadership qualities have rather hidden meanings because each of the characters supplements the picture of the film. This particular complement can be explained by Searles’ ability to teach the regiment read. However, the most striking incident in the film concerning Searles’ character manifests itself in his being shot. In this context, Searles wants to continue fighting regardless of his position. The most thought-provoking scene is displayed in Tripp’s being punished. The quality of a leader in his character specifically manifests itself in his persistence and patience.
Taking into account the entire list of personages, one may notice that each of them has certain leadership abilities. In the military settings, it is reasonable to dwell upon Forbes’ ability of sympathizing, Shaw’s logical reasoning and actions, Tripp’s patience and loyalty, as well as Searles’ longing to fight and protect his regiment despite all the troubles. Forbes seems to be a transactional leader as he is portrayed as the leader who is worried about the contemporary situation in the regiment. Another character that has not been discussed yet is Mulcahy. Unfortunately, his leadership qualities are very poor due to the reason that he takes a top-down position. However, this particular character plays a huge role in the film as it reminds the spectator of the army’s atmosphere.
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To sum up the foregoing, the film “Glory” (1989) is a vivid representation of different leadership qualities. All the characters preserve some of these underlying traits and they are considered in the military settings. The spectator tends to understand the peculiarities of military management after watching the film.
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