One of my favourite movies for demonstrating what leadership is and isn’t is The Last Castle. In this movie, Robert Redford plays a former General who is sent to a military prison and ends up battling with the Prison Commandant for control of the prison. It is an excellent study in leadership and one which shows the Commandant using his position, power, and control to remain in charge versus the disgraced former General who now has no position.
Redfords character shows his command of leadership, his knowledge of what it takes to inspire people, to motivate and engage them and ultimately to get them to follow him.
He helps rebuild the self respect of the prisioners, makes them feel valued, and see the best in themselves. He shows them what they are capable of.
To do this you do not need a position, only the desire to do it.
Yet so many in leadership positions fail to do so.
The colonel retaliates by bullying, trying to humiliate and break him.
But this only serves to reinforce Redfords position as he shows the mental and physical resolve to overcome the challenges pitted against him.
Now there is mutual respect between Redford and the rest of the prisoners which helps create a bond of trust, and it is this trust that is the cornerstone of leadership.
Usually, with position, there is an element of trust built into it, but it’s the actions of the leader that either increases this trust or erodes it. It’s your actions that determine your that ultimately determine whether you are a leader or not, not the title that you have or the role that you occupy.
If you want to know more about how to increase your leadership then I highly recommend this film. But don’t just focus on Redford, look at his adversity too who over the course of the movie erodes his position through his action.