“Invictus”, is a powerful movie representing what Nelson Mandela taking the office as the first black president of South Africa and set to accomplish great things. Nelson Mandela was the founder and lead of the African National Congress and spent 27 years in prison on charges for sabotage against the white military and government to end apartheid. The movie starts with his release from prison on February 11, 1990 greeted by the black population eager to fight while the white population was expecting the worse from it.
The environment factors changed dramatically for Nelson and he found himself ready to forgive those that imprisoned him and call them comrades. His amazing strength of character can be recognized in the movie and the Path-Goal Theory’s leadership behaviors can be found along with them. Path Goal Theory Path-Goal Theory argued that subordinates’ motivation, satisfaction and work performance are dependent on the leadership style chosen by their superior. Moreover, a person may perform these by adopting a certain leadership style, based on the situation. I’ve picked Nelson Mandela as the leader.
Mandela has a very difficult task of uniting a country that has been for so long divided and full of hatreds. After his release the black people started riots and Mandela addressed them as a directive leader to the black crowd in Durban, on February 25, 1990 asking to lay down the arms and end the war, saying “My message to those involved in this battle of brother against brother is this: take your guns, your knives, and your pangas and throw them into the sea. Close down the death factories. End this war now! ” Mandela speaks clearly about what’s required of South Africa and give them directions to accomplish it.
He realized that his embattled country needs to unite efforts regarding of race to be able to build a future together. Once a fighter against the regime, he realizes now that only peace and unified efforts can lead to progress and leaving peacefully together. He sets directives as such. Later on, when he won the presidential elections and he is sworn as a president on May 10, 1994 and he wants the best for his country, to stop the suffering and suppression of his people, he asks for building a new country together.
“We must act together as a united people, or national reconciliation, for nation building, for the birth of a new world…Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another and suffer the indignity of being the skunk of the world. ” His message is directive, strong and clear. He had an amazing ability to change depending on the environment contingency factors. On the first day to take office the President Mandela talks to the staff of the former president when he sees them packing and assuming that they’ll get fired from their positions and they are no longer needed.
He becomes a supportive leader and asks for their help. He combines it with directive leadership asking them to do their work to their best abilities. “If you want to leave that’s your right; that you can’t work with your new government leave but if you pack because your language, color or you work for the previous president disqualifies you have no fear. The past is the past. We look into future and we want your help. If you want to stay you’ll do your country a huge favor. Best abilities and a good heart. I promise to do the same. Our country will be shining”.
This shows Mandela strong support and commitment for understanding and unifying efforts among white and blacks. Addressing to a white majority with kind words and pledge and asking for help proves one more time Mandela’s ability to change his leadership style according to the situation and change. Mandela’s commitment to a supportive leader surface again when he assigns four white men to the security team and talk to the head of the security that has assignment concerns since the white security forces were the very men that fought against them and may have killed their friends and colleagues.
Mandela shows support and consideration to the chief’s feelings and takes the time to explain why he made the decision. “Reconciliation starts here… Forgiveness starts here, too. Forgiveness liberates the soul. It removes fear. This is why it’s such a powerful weapon. Please Jason, try. ” The president appeals at the very inner soul of the security chief. To help people reaching to the same goal Mandela saw a rare opportunity in the rugby team. He knew that blacks spent years to hate the game and the Springbok, the rugby team, since for them it represented the white supremacy and their boycott hurt them.
Mandela himself admits doing just the same while in prison on the Robben Island. This time he thinks about using Springbok to unite people and that the team needs to become winners. With one year until World Rugby Cup 1995 to be played in South Africa, and him just taking office, Mandela doesn’t lose time and invites Francois Pienaar, the Springbok captain, for tea in his office to indirectly letting him know about what achievement is expecting of him: to win the World Rugby Cup in 1995 that would be hosted by South Africa. “You have a difficult job.
Captain of the Springbok… We need to exceed our expectations. ” said Mandela. This accomplishment was very challenging since the rugby team’s performance was low but president set up his expectations very high requiring the team to perform accordingly. One important moment of Mandela’s directive leader abilities are captured when he fights the new Rugby Sport Association, composed of mostly blacks, to not drop Springbok’ name, emblem and the team colors. As we can see, Mandela was not only challenged by the white population but by his black people, too.
The blacks don’t support the team because they viewed it as it represents the prior suppression. However, Mandela saw as his duty to keep the Springbok’s name, emblem and colors. “You reached a decision with insufficient info and foresight. I am here to ask you to restore Springbok, the name, emblem and color because , learn enemy to prevail, enemy is not Africana, they are partners in democracy, they treasure Springbok rugby, if we take it away we lose them. We prove that we are what they feared we would be. We have to be better than that. To surprise with with compassion, generosity.
They denied us but this is not revenge time, we have to build the nation using every brick, even if it’s green and gold. You elect me as leader. Let me lead you know. Who is with me? ” Mandela asks the current leaders to change tactics and work towards a peaceful environment. It’s a lot to ask but Mandela’s strong commitment for unity prevails. The very task of uniting the country through rugby shows a supportive leader towards white’s value and love for a sport that meant the world to them: rugby. “Rugby is a human calculation. If we take away what they cherish we enforce the circle of fear.
I must do what it takes to break the circle. ” Mandela even learns the name of the players to be able to address them by name making it very personally and proving his concerns for their well-being. Mandela showed participative leader skills in the movie by working closely with his stuff on key decisions; however, since the movie revolves around rugby we can see him consulting more with the Minister of Sports to understand how the rugby team can get better until the world cup. He learns the rugby game, rules of the games, qualifications in the world cup and the audience the sport reaches. “A billion people watch us?
What a great opportunity! ” He learns about the New Zealand team history to understand Springbok chances to win. “How can we beat them”? It’s not enough, not when we are so close. This country is ready for greatness. It’s amazing to see how one person that once hated even the world rugby and wanted Springbok to lose now puts every effort in the positive direction to participate and contribute towards winning. Expectancy Theory of Motivation Expectancy theory argues that the strength of a tendency to act in a certain way depends on the strength of our expectations of a given outcome and its attractiveness.
There are links to it: the effort that leads to performance (effort), performance that lead to rewards (performance) and the reward that satisfy the personal goals (reward). One follower of President Mandela’s leadership is the security chief, Jason. His assignment is to be president’s bodyguard. His effort goes into protecting the newly black elected president, which is a big task on hand. When the white security forces join the team he makes a special effort to work together as explained above understanding that the whites are very well trained and he needed extra people. His performance depends on his team performance.
Jason’s efforts go into extra precautions when the president attends the rugby games. He knows that performing his job very well is the only way he can protect the president. The movie doesn’t portrait a money reward upon performing very well. The reward comes in pride of protecting the president and willing to sacrifice his own life to protect presidents’. His well performed job was satisfying his personal goal of protecting the president. In a way his willingness to follow the president’s advice of reconciliation leads to a good bodyguard team and turns into a good teamwork.
The scene where they all play rugby proves one more time the good relationships and their unique goal of taking care of the president. Springbok captain, Francois Pienaar, proves to have strength to act on the of president’s expectations. Francois’ meeting with the President Mandela is a turning point in his career. He is asked to perform better than anyone expected and his efforts will be recognized by the president himself. The fact that the president shows interest in his performance makes him want to put every effort in achieving the unthinkable: to win the world cup.
The president’s trust in his abilities makes him believe that his work will lead to performance. To inspire him to perform better the president asks the captain how he inspires the team and what his philosophy on leadership is. “Sometimes by using the work of other…Words helped me to stand up when all I wanted was to lay down. The song inspires me to do better. ” Mandela was referring to the national South Africa song, “God Bless Africa”. He also was referring to the “Invictus” a poem whose words kept him going while he was in prison.
At one point he writes the poem on a paper and gives it to the rugby captain for inspiration to perform better. The captain puts the effort in to teach his team the song knowing it will lead to better performance. The Springbok is asked to perform clinics around the country and he complies understanding that times change and they need to change as well. The team puts the effort into it and manages to perform the clinics. The smiles on the black kids’ faces when they are teach rugby by the national team is a reward to their effort to change and contribute to the unity effort.
Another turning point is when the captain takes them to the island where the president was in prison. They visit the prison to get a feeling for what the president experienced. The president’s prison cell had a just a tin mattress on the floor and a chair. He remembers the poem and understands the deep meaning and his fight for survival. “I am a master of my faith. I am the captain of my soul. ” He knows that his hard work will be paid off and he has a good shot to win the cup that will mean a lot to his embattled country just like the president’s long fight was rewarded with his freedom.
In a way winning the World Cup was liberation from the long battle between blacks and whites. It was his duty to fight now and win. The Springbok won every game in the World Rugby Cup and it culminated with the finals play against the New Zealand, which was an unstoppable team. They won the finals, too. It’s an historic moment for every person in the country but it was an extraordinary moment of reward when the president himself dressed in a Springbok shirt and wearing their hat gives the cup to the Springbok captain. The captain aimed for performance beyond expectations and achieved the best.
His personal goal was achieved. Springbok’s captain is a good example of the Expectancy Theory of Motivation given the motivation and relationship that he builds with the president. But Springbok’s captain can’t accomplish his task by himself. His team is another example of a follower of captain’s dream and goal. Captain becomes the leader and his team the followers. Their own effort to train better, to reach to the black kids, to learn the national anthem, perform the best to their abilities and beyond, and believe in the winning it’s rewarded by winning the World Rugby Cup 1995.
They are bought slowly in by the captain belief for a better performance and play. They see their efforts fructify with every game won and push forward with an ecstasy and growing enthusiasm never felt before. One touching moment is right before the finals when they sing the anthem along with the whole stadium. When the president comes and shakes their hand in their own shirt and colors they are proud of their efforts and hard work. This is a completely different picture than the one at the first game when almost everyone boomed the president when he shook the hands of the team.
At the end of the game with New Zeeland, the president presents the cup to Francois saying, “Francois thank you for what you’ve done for the country. And Francois replied, “No, Mr. President. Thank you for what you’ve done. ” “One team one country” finally became reality. People celebrated the victory regardless of their gender and color. The victory was felt sweet and there couldn’t have been a better reward than feeling pride of a job very well done. This was one historic moment that will always be cherished by South Africa.
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Topic: Invictus – Path Goal Theory
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