Lessons on leadership from comics

A colleague of mine drew my attention to this very interesting short clip on the web by Tom Bernard, where the latter humorously mixes his interest in popular culture and leadership.

Have a look at this by clicking on the following link: 

It takes Character by Tom Bernard

I really enjoyed this clip. And there’s lots to learn from it.

However, in my view, there should be a couple of “Health Warnings”.

While fun, and the presentation does highlight good leadership principles, we do need to beyond the obvious! In this regard, it is important to analyse the assumptions behind the examples of ‘leadership’ illustrated by the various clips.  You can find good practice in any discourse. It’s the big picture that counts.

For me, while Holy Grail pokes fun at our modern notions and assumptions of leadership by cleverly caricaturing these in a different era (particularly on how power is exercised), it does not go on to suggest an alternative to the norm.

Star Trek goes beyond, to imaging what human relationships could be like in a post-capitalist world. My intrigue about this however is that they kept the military style of leadership (albeit a benevolent one) as the model for leadership in this brave new world!!! Apparently in this world, following “the chain of command” and “overcoming the enemy” is the key to maintaining peace in utopia.  I remember an episode where the alien said something like “for a Starship designed for study and exploration you sure are heavily armed”.

Perhaps the most obvious point about underlying assumption (in all the examples?) is that leadership is male.

It’s not as simple as just coming up with a list of female heroines to counter this argument. I tried to do that but apart from Wonder Woman – most heroines appear as subservient/inferior to the male role model, eg, supergirl, catwoman, batwoman, various Dr Who sidekicks, invincible woman.

Even in the brave new world of Star Trek there is only one female Captain. Even then Janeway’s leadership style in the series is more a Thatcherite, masculine model than an attempt to genuinely explore a post modern approach to leadership.; and in doing so “To explore new worlds, to seek out new life and learn new ways of organising where no man has gone before!”

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