Lionel Logue and Leadership

I saw The King’s Speech over the weekend. Stop reading if you don’t want to be spoiled, although the plot is formulaic enough (not in a bad way) that you can see some of this coming a kilometre away. This movie is really about the characters, not as much the plot.

I saw the movie after spending the day in church leadership training, so of course that colored my impressions of the movie. That said, the Geoffrey Rush character had many marks of a transformational leader. (Leadership doesn’t always imply an assembled group; leaders can lead individuals into new places as well.)

First, Lionel Logue had a very intentional sense of purpose and vision and remained faithful to it (I meet with clients here, nowhere else; I will call you Bertie; we will meet everyday).

He expected the people around him to work hard and he held them accountable (practice an hour a day).

This weekend we talked about the job of a congregational leader, namely, to train more leaders. He certainly did that; he helped train a king!

Transformational leaders do not rely on outsiders to give them their credentials; their authority comes from within. This was demonstrated in the way Logue handled the confrontation with Bertie over his not being a “real” doctor.

He exhibited an extremely high level of empathy. He was an attentive listener and he used what he heard to increase his effectiveness and care for his famous client. His fidelity to his vision grew out of his love and concern for others and a belief that straying from that vision just so people would feel safe and comfortable would not serve them in the long run.

And yet he also was very authentically himself. He shared about his humble beginnings and was visibly hurt when Bertie blasted him with these personal details in the park. Later, when confronted about his lack of credentials, he didn’t stammer and rationalize and beg for a second chance. He shared his experience with quiet confidence and let the chips fall where they may.

Lots to chew on.

In short, it is a testament to Geoffrey Rush’s performance that I was more captivated by Logue than by Colin Firth in Royal Attire. *cough*

Have you seen the movie? What did you think?

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4 thoughts on “Lionel Logue and Leadership

  1. Sarah E says:

    Haven’t seen the movie but your reflections about the characters and leadership are very helpful – and they do resonate with me (did some work on this in my Duke FOCL group last year). Can’t wait to see the movie and see where my thoughts go.

  2. Sue says:

    interesting – food for thought. and yes, up too late again.

  3. Notshychirev says:

    I am a huge fan of the movie, and I think both performances were brilliant and BOTH showed lessons in leadership–one person who was a natural transformational leader and one who was thrust into a leadership role against his will, but, after some difficulty, was willing to trust and to change.

    Great observations!

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