By Col. Cherie Roff, 315th Mission Support Group Commander
JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. (AFNS) -- My family and I had
movie night a couple of weeks ago and as I was watching, I was immediately
struck by the leadership modeling prevalent in the movie.
For years, Air Force Professional Military Education has
had leaders watch the movie Twelve OClock High as a portrayal of leadership
examples, as part of the curriculum.
Twelve OClock High, a World War II depiction of
leadership challenges, is now dated, and in my opinion, boring and not relevant
to our up and coming leaders. I feel, we now have a new, much more exciting
movie that should be on the PME listing for leadership movies, Marvels Black
The movie represented a very good depiction of status-quo
leader example in the main character TChalla/Black Panther, in his focus to
protect his people, he would not change the paradigms of the past to meet the
demands of the future.
The change agent or courageous leader example is the love
interest Nakia, who wanted to help the world by sharing of the technology and
improvements, by seeing a vision of the future and what it could be.
The integrity dilemma leader is the commanding General
Okoye, who struggled with a responsibility to uphold her position and not
challenge the leader, even knowing that it was wrong for her people.
And finally, the toxic leader is the villain Erik
Killmonger, who by winning the contest of strength became the leader yet he did
not care about the people unless it benefited him.
I found it very fascinating that this story contained such
great examples of what we are trying to teach our young leaders. I was also
amazed at how quickly the leadership models could be identified and as the movie
played out. I am reminded of the discussions we often have on leadership and the
examples we desire in our leaders.
We all desire our leaders to be inspirational and set a
vision of an achievable goal greater than themselves. Unfortunately, leaders
often fall short only continuing with the status-quo, because they are
distracted by the day to day tasks and fires that need to be managed.
The courageous leader is the one we admire, the one who
faces bad news without giving up and takes on difficult situations with
confidence in their people and can reach their goal.
The integrity dilemma is something all leaders face in day
to day scenarios and represents the leader who has to maintain their integrity,
even when it would be easy or convenient not to.
Lastly, no leader wants to be defined as a toxic leader,
but some leaders can get caught up in the drive towards the mission objective
and they forget about the people behind the mission.
So, I would challenge you as you watch Black Panther to
look at the leadership displayed by the characters and determine your path to
that inspirational and courageous leader. If you do, we will all cheer as the
good guys win.