What Robin Williams in The Dead Poets Society from 1989 teaches us on Leadership
How a leader will make his team feel, will determine the team’s commitment to follow his lead.
The feeling affects the motivation, engagement, collaboration and therefore the performance of the team.
Who does not remember this movie scene?
Robin Williams aka unorthodox English teacher John Keating, who was laid off, interrupts the class to gather his leftover belongings.
As he leaves, one of his students stands up on his desk and says
“O Captain! My Captain!”,
which prompts the other students and members of the Dead Poets Society to do the same.
To stand up for their leader, despite being threatened to be fired from the elite school.
Keating has a passion to teach poetry. His duty as an English teacher matters to him and he has a strong vision how poetry can benefit his students.
He sees the big picture, what poetry is to the core and the potential of what studying poetry could mean to the development and the future of his students.
To Keating “the WHY” of teaching is big and crystal clear, therefore “his HOW” of teaching is powerful.
It’s about the feelings that come with understanding the direct and indirect message of poetry, which consequently reveals the potential of the individual student.
Keating knows, in order to communicate and deliver a message, there ought to be an involvement of visuals, voice tone, word choices, body language. With all of that comes the most powerful and lasting impression, that “feeling“… The driving force! That force affects the potential of actions.
How does the leader create the bonding to the team, build trust and inspire to go the extra mile?
Keating sees his students. He sees every student for who they are and makes them see their own strength and capability.
He is having them take turns standing on his desk to demonstrate ways to look at life in a different way. Encouraging them to be bold, think differently and take action.
In a high performing team, it´s individuals are seen and and fit in their position in accordance to their strengths.
As team members are appreciated for their value to the team their commitment increases exponentially.
It matters, how the leader feels about the goal the team is supposed to achieve.
Understanding the WHY and translating it into a “positive feeling” for the team is key to figure out the HOW and the path towards success.
Wouldn’t we all want to be part of a team that acts as one force to stand up for what is the right thing to do?
It is the leader, who creates that kind of team spirit. It is the leader, who develops the individuals to be ready for that special moment.
Let’s lead and have our team-members thrive towards these goose bumps moments in their career.