Leadership And Followership In Action

Submitted By mborkowski08
Words: 2118
Pages: 9

Leadership and Followership in Action:
An Application to Pitch Perfect
Mitchell J. Borkowski
University of Iowa

The success of a group can be deciphered by looking at its leader and is ultimately determined by the communication that individual choses to exhibit. The communication style a leader chooses largely contributes to the success or failure a group and followers will encounter. Relationships, interactions, communicative styles, mediation of conflict, and the recognition of emotion are all profound factors that determine how leadership is transacted with followers in a group or organization. In the film Pitch Perfect, contrasting elements of leadership styles exhibit the profound impact communication has on the interactions of a group. An analysis of the varying communication styles the two leaders in this film chose help contribute to an explanation of their success or failure as a leader when attempting to exhibit influence on followers. From the beginning of the film during The Bellas first practice, it is clear that Aubrey, the group’s leader, has a distinctive style of leadership involving a need for control. Leading with an iron fist, she made it clear that her goals, instruction, and control would dominate the direction of the group. This commanding role was apparent in declaring, “It is my job to see that my soldiers are prepped and you can leave if you have a problem with the way that I run the Bellas.” When Chloe, the second in command leader of the group, attempted to provide input, her opinions were quickly shot down and deemed as unworthy of attention. This strict control over followers, individual regulation of direction, and derogatory communication prove Aubrey to be an authoritarian leader (Hackman & Craig Johnson, 2009). In this same scene, Beca, the freshman cajoled into joining the group, raised concerns about performing the same songs as past groups saying, “there’s nothing from this century on here,” but her ideas too were quickly dismissed. In choosing to ignore the opinions of group members, Aubrey failed to develop quality relationships, leading to followers who were unsatisfied with their roles, unlikely to provide honest feedback, and less motivated to succeed (Hackman & Craig Johnson, 2009). Despite the fact that followers were seeking a collaborative effort to determine the direction of their group, Aubrey embraced tenets of conventional leadership believing that a group should only have one leader and her ultimate duty was to direct followers (Raelin, 2003). Instead of utilizing the perspectives of followers in the group that could have provoked forward thinking and provided a collaborative effort, Aubrey dominated the interaction and upheld her authoritarian leadership role. In a situation where the Bellas required change, Aubrey ignored maintaining disciplined attention and protecting leadership voices from below, two key principles to embrace with adaptive challenges (Heifetz & Laurie, 2001). Despite the fact that Beca was viewed as a subordinate member of the group by Aubrey, during this scene, glimpses of her role as a leader unraveled. In questioning the status quo of the Bellas, insisting that everyone should be included as a part of the decision making process, and questioning the overpowering demands by Aubrey, Beca was encouraging democratic and collective leadership. Beca embraced the view that many people within a group might operate as leaders, especially when important need for change arises (Raelin, 2003). When Chloe presented new ideas during the first practice, Beca supported her, recognized that two heads are better than one and the contributions of followers can improve the overall decision-making process, fundamental components of democratic leadership (Hackman & Craig Johnson, 2009). During the riff off scene, vast differences in leadership styles between the two leaders in Pitch Perfect were uncovered. During this scene, components