Sunday, 22 March 2015

Still a leader?

Still Alice is not a fun night out but then you wouldn't expect this movie to be so: this is the agonising story of a woman diminished in her prime by the ravages of Alzheimers disease. Julianne Moore has rightfully received an Oscar for her portrayal of the title character: a linguistics professor who starts to lose her words.

But this is a hugely important film in the way that Rain Man taught the world about autism. This film will be long remembered and is probably already being used as way of learning about dementia. Of course each story of dementia is unique but for people like me, who rarely come across people with the disease, this film provides a valuable narrative hook on which to hang any experience of it that I might have. This is a closely directed movie with some stunning acting all round. Go see it for its humanity and poignancy.

According to the movie (and this is not really a SPOILER, but stop here if you want to know absolutely nothing about the story...) people with Alzheimers who are more intelligent often show more rapid declines in their functioning than less intelligent people. (The central character is a university lecturer of international repute so probably comes into the category of 'more intelligent'...) This, we are told, is due to such people being initially adept at finding methods to mask and work around their mounting cognitive difficulties. (We see the main character doing this.) But there comes a point where these methods no longer work and they tumble into decline.

And so this got me wondering whether some managers do this too: do they create 'workarounds' that mask their lack of leadership? Can you think of managers who do this perhaps by initiating mission statements and business process re-engineering etc etc - which could simply be tricks to make them appear to be good leaders?

What are the tricks that some people use to make it appear they function well as a leader when in fact they don't....?


This is the eightieth of my 2014/2015 series of blogs about leadership ideas to be found in the movies of our time. You can read here as why I began doing this (with an update at the end of 2014). Please subscribe to this blog if you want to read more. Thanks. Click the label 'film' to see all the others.

No comments:

Post a Comment