Remember the Titians-The Movie
Set during a racially charged time period in Virginian history Remember the Titans is one of those rare films that successfully brings together several issues of life, sexuality, racism and having the will to succeed without compromising on the story it was based on. This article will attempt to show the leadership methods employed by Coach Boone and Coach Yoast in bringing the first ever interracial football team to their season championship.
The movie begins in July 1971 amid racial tensions at T.C Williams High School. It is the first time black students are being allowed an education in a white institution. The Caucasian head Coach Bill Yoast is replaced by African American coach Herman Boone who was originally supposed to work under him as an assistant. This is the first time we see Coach Boone’s skills as a mediator. He delegates the defensive position to Yoast citing that he needs him to be there. He requires his presence to help smooth the transition for the players.
At first coach Boone is quite an imposing figure. He exemplifies the persona of a pace-setting leader. He expect everyone his assistant his players to fall in line and do exactly what he demands of them. He has the drive and the ambition to succeed. He also has the knowledge and the experience to make things happen.
Coach Yoast however is in a quandary at the beginning of the film. He adopts the role of the democratic leader. He is mostly there to ensure the well being of his players while also appeasing his new employer. However, he is unsure of himself or his new position. But of course expects that things will work out. He remains this way for most of the film and thus is mostly in the background in terms of leadership.
As the film goes along the issue of racial harmony is brought into play again. Coach Boone proposes an exercise to mend the racial barriers present in his team. Showing his affiliative side he comes up with an idea for his players to get to know more about the person they are rooming with. Later on when it appears the exercise may be working he encourages them further by sharing the story of civil war veterans. Who fought side by side and spilled their blood so that they could have their freedoms.
The internal conflict between Yoast and Boone soon disappears once their team begins to win their matches. Boone is seen to be very open and flexible when it comes to his players. The coaches work well in sync for most of the film. Yoast often find himself deferring to Boones leadership.
However it is only by their final game that both coaches truly get to shine and show the best of themselves. Boone of course is by this time a commanding presence who has an emotional connection to his players. Coach Yoast at this point challenges the status quo giving up his spot in the hall of fame to ensure that his team gets the victory. By the end of the film both Coaches have a Commanding Leadership style. They both know how to motivate their players and get the best out of them. And they realize enough to stay out of each other’s way and trust the other to do their jobs. Such leadership becomes crucial to their victory. And when they do succeed in winning it shows how leadership can go a long way in ending interpersonal conflicts and creating brilliant opportunities for everyone.
Browne, Jill. Kouzes & Posner’s Five Practices. 1 March 2008. 13 April 2009 <http://accessibletravel.suite101.com/article.cfm/leadership#ixzz0CKege9Ml>.
Goleman, Daniel. Leadership That Gets Results. Harvard Business Review, 2009.
James M. Kouzes, Barry Z. Posner. The Leadership Challenge, 4th Edition. Indianapolis: Jossey Bass, 2007.