Professional and Career Topics

  • 1.  Can you learn leadership skills from TV dramas?

    Posted 11-02-2021 08:41 PM

    I recently finished watching Season 1 of Ted Lasso. While many think of it as a feel good show, I also  think it is a master class in leadership. I was particularly taken back with the episode where he highlights the importance of curiosity and the ensuing take down.  You can see what others are saying about Ted Lasso - leadership but spoiler alert.  Have others watched and what have you noted? Is there another drama that has caught your attention as demonstrative of great leadership skills?



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    Mitch Winkler P.E., M.ASCE
    Houston, TX
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  • 2.  RE: Can you learn leadership skills from TV dramas?

    Posted 11-03-2021 08:13 AM
    I was going to post about the Curse of Oak Island, but it remains controversial among engineers, historians, and scientists.  This season, the Province of Nova Scotia has exerted more control over the island in regard to archaeological excavation.  This is a major step in legitimizing the treasure hunt.  While one must view it in the context of "reality TV," it certainly demonstrates project management, teamwork, and civil engineering solutions.

    I also finished watching the entire series of original Star Trek movies, recently.  Star Trek is based on the navy and has a very clearly defined leadership structure.  Even with ranks, the each of the crew demonstrates leadership in their respective fields.  Certainly, Kirk and Spock have different leadership styles that compliment each other.

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    Chad Morrison P.E., F.ASCE
    Professional Engineer
    Greenville RI
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  • 3.  RE: Can you learn leadership skills from TV dramas?

    Posted 11-05-2021 03:24 PM

    Perhaps it is safe to say that – it all depends. If the story-telling of the drama (for that matter, of movies and others works of fiction/entertainment) is true to the fact – and is well researched and understood by the writer, producer, director and actor – then there may be pieces of portrayals (leadership or otherwise) – one can learn from. Otherwise, things can be misleading.

    As an example, one may think of Gandhi – the movie (R Attenborough 1982). In there, in addition to the colonial British leadership practices – one learns of a political leadership skill that no one ever heard of before in contemporary politics. It was the Indian independence movement of nonviolence. Despite the fact that the British leadership ruled out Gandhi as a nuisance half-naked fakir – Gandhi was stubborn to spearhead his method. Only when Gandhi condemned and protested against violent rebellion attack on a British police outpost – the British took him seriously (that when Gandhi advocated nonviolence, he really meant it by his enormous sacrifice). Note that Gandhi was not after cheap popularity – and there lies one very important quality of leadership – political, business or otherwise. That a leader destined to make a difference of significant impact to spearhead things to good causes – must rise above jealousy – and above the temptation of earning cheap and quick popularity.

    Of course, a business leadership is different in contexts and purpose, but the fundamental spirit is same. In my Leadership and Management piece, I have tried to see leadership roles from different perspectives – and came up with a leadership acronym: HICAP (H – hope; I – Integrity; C – compassion; A – awareness; and P – people). And have discussed the rationale behind selecting each element of this acronym. As we have also talked about on other occasions – curiosity is important – but it should rather have the form of awareness. Awareness or to be awake to see and perceive things that change and evolve in time – to be responsive and proactive to researches and initiatives that occur in his or her sphere of works – in order to develop and pursue an appropriate strategy. This implies that a leader should not be constrained by the rigidity of checklists – but should enjoy freedom and flexibility – to be creative – to move things to uncharted directions, when and if appropriate.

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    Dilip

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    Dr. Dilip Barua, Ph.D, P.Eng, M. ASCE
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
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  • 4.  RE: Can you learn leadership skills from TV dramas?

    Posted 11-08-2021 07:21 AM
    I have conducted extensive research on the topic of leadership in the engineering and construction industry.  Numerous references have been published on the topic of leadership in general, but the most respected publication by far is The Leadership Challenge by James Kouzes and Barry Posner.

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    Lansford Bell P.E., F.ASCE
    RETIRED
    Seneca SC
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  • 5.  RE: Can you learn leadership skills from TV dramas?

    Posted 11-08-2021 08:00 AM
    When I was in the Navy, we were required to watch Twelve O'Clock High for leadership lessons.  It is still considered the definitive movie on leadership, though filmed in 1949.  I recommend watching it.

    https://www.movieleadership.com/2013/05/29/is-twelve-oclock-high-the-definitive-movie-about-leadership/

    https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0041996/




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    Thomas Halmi P.E., M.ASCE
    Principal Engineer
    Steelcase
    Rockford MI
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