Monday, 20 January 2014

Wolves are beautiful creatures

Watching The Wolf of Wall Street is an uncomfortable experience. Don't get me wrong: it is a darn good movie and DiCaprio has deservedly received an Oscar nomination for his performance. It is a film that you should see.

But it will disturb you.

I am imagining that Terence Winter and Martin Scorsese stuck closely to the autobiography on which the film is based. It depicts a man driven by the hunger for money which in turn drives him to excess and over the edge. The lead character, Jordan Belfort, is not a man I would have around to tea: he is not a beautiful man. At times the film portrays an enterprise run with all the ethics of the dying days of the Roman empire. This is a desperate, avaricious and hypnotic story that will take you over and draw you in to almost as being as much in love with Belfort as his staff seemed to be. But steel yourself and go.

Essentially this film is a study in charisma. 

Often people think that without charisma you cannot be a leader. Without doubt, Jordan Belfort shows just what can be achieved with it: he inspires a loyalty amongst his followers that is almost unbreakable. But like the commander of the Light Brigade, he leads them into very dangerous and choppy waters.

But do you need to be charismatic to be a leader? 

In my view, charisma can sustain a bad (using both the ineffective and ethical meanings of that word) leader. A good leader can be boosted by charisma. But I think a person can still be good or excellent leader without charisma. Because in the end what sustains good leadership are ideas: ideas that people want to follow and build on. 

So what ideas have you had today?

This is the eighth of my new series of blogs about leadership ideas to be found in the movies of our time. You can read here as why I am doing this. Please subscribe to this blog if you want to read more. Thanks. Click the label 'film' to see all the others.

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