Stories about Leadership in non-military settings

Flammifer

Well-Known Member
In last class, there was discussion of Gandalf's leadership of the Company, and the comment that stories of leadership outside of the military are uncommon.

It was mentioned that some of the company would have seen leadership from the perspective of their military experiences. Of course, so might JRRT, as he was in the military, on the front, during WWI as a junior leader (Lieutenant in the Lancashire Fusiliers). His view of 'leadership' was skeptical, "The most improper job of any man ... is bossing other men. Not one in a million is fit for it, and least of all those who seek the opportunity."

Going back to the prevalence of the theme of leadership among stories not set in the military, I agree that it is not common, but it exists. One setting where it is found is tales of the sea. 'Moby Dick' with the obsessed Captain Ahab, 'Captains Courageous' with its excellent leader in Captain Disko Troop, and 'The Sea Wolf' with amoral and brutal captain Wolf Larsen, are all examples which explore leadership (not that leadership is the main theme in any of them).

Anyone else please chip in with other stories which have non-military 'leadership' as one of the themes?
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
I mean, it's certainly partially a theme in the MCU. The point of the story being told in the Avengers is how you get a group of people who are very much loners who do their own thing to work together. Captain America's stories revolve around his ability to lead a team - naturally, the Howling Commandos are within a military structure, but the Avengers in the battle against the Chitauri are decidedly not. His work with SHIELD in Winter Soldier is within a heirarchy (not exactly military), but certainly breaks off from that by the end. After Ultron, he is forming his own team, not under SHIELD oversight, and presumably bankrolled by Tony Stark (a private citizen). After the accords in Civil War, he goes rogue, so his team is working against the wishes of the American government while he's Nomad (though presumably with the support of the nation of Wakanda). And part of the challenge in Infinity War is that (because he is rogue) he is not in the loop or prepared for the next alien invasion.

So, one could say that the story of Steve Rogers (as told in the MCU) focuses on his leadership role and the tension he has with authority (both military and governmental) as well as his ability to bring a team together who would not play nicely with someone else at the helm. Well, not the entire story...but it's certainly a theme!
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
For another film example, the King's Speech is all about leadership in the monarchy during a war. I recognize that typically members of British royalty have military service experience, though I don't recall that playing any role in the story. It was, of course, about overcoming a stutter to be able to reassure the nation through wartime speeches.
 
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