Movieclips Monday: 2 management tips for July Fourth
This week we will celebrate America’s 236th birthday. We recognize the Fourth of July as Independence Day, the day the Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Continental Congress in 1776. (Although it was not called Independence Day until 1791.) Of course it makes me think of the movie “Independence Day” and the scene in which the U.S. president (played by Bill Pullman) steps up to rally the American people around him to defeat the aliens.
For me, there are two key takeaways from this movie. Spoiler alert: Although an unlikely hero, Randy Quaid’s character, Russell Casse, literally saves the day. When Russell becomes the hero, it sends an interesting message because throughout the movie he is the outcast, portrayed as the washed-up, incapable character. But as this movie shows, in certain situations these marginal people can come through in a pinch.
We often hear about unlikely heroes in emergency situations — individuals that step into action when the people on whom we usually rely freeze up in the wave of panic. In the workplace, perhaps there are employees that are not your go-to people. There might be times when their managers and coworkers do not see the value in reaching out to them. However, these people might have knowledge or abilities that are untested, and they can be key players when challenges arise.
Tapping into valuable skills has a lot to do with how a company manages and uses talent, which brings me to my second thought: leadership. As we see in this above scene (and again later in the movie), the president was able to rally the troops and lead them into battle rather than just dictating orders. In any environment, good leaders lead by example and don’t ask their charges to perform a task that they wouldn’t do themselves.
Effective leaders understand how many and which tasks they should delegate. Delegating is an important skill and an empowering method for leaders, but delegating too much puts a leader at risk of being too far removed from detail. It can also give the team the impression that its leader is shoving off work on others. The best leaders properly motivate a team by inspiring it with relevant messages, leading by example, and delegating enough so the team can grow and learn.
Enjoy a safe and meaningful Independence Day.