Monday, 16 January 2012

War Horse: leadership as an act of waiting

Having seen the stage production of War Horse only a few months ago, I had to make a very deliberate decision to go and see the latest movie directed by Steven Spielberg. I knew it would be impossible not to compare the two productions. Whilst the film has it merits, the stage show using puppets and minimal sets is more realistic and moving, and ultimately tells a more integrated story. The film is worth seeing - but also find the money from somewhere to go and see the play. You will not regret it.

But as to my leadership 'thought from the film' - there is much that could be said about courage, perseverance, loyalty and compassion. However, what I will highlight is the role of the main (human) character's mother. She displays a quiet patience that is breathtaking. I don't want to spoil the story by describing the events where this patience shines through - but if you see the film - watch for this.

So I will say that leadership is often about waiting, quietly, patiently for change happen and events to unfurl. Often we are 'sold' the image of action leaders, out there, driving change, making things occur. But I would contend that sometimes it is entirely appropriate to just wait and see. Such pausing patiently can be a supreme leadership act. Sometimes it is all that you can do. And sometimes it is the best thing to do.

When was the last time you patiently waited as a leader? Was it the right choice? 

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