Sunday, June 11, 2006

Mr.Jack Welch and Capt Jack Aubrey
I was reading WINNING by Jack Welch over the weekend and also watched the movie Master and Commander.
Mr. Welch in his book,has listed 8 rules of leadership. While watching the movie, quite naturally i started to look for these traits in Capt Jack Aubrey (enacted by Russel Crowe) who was out hunting for the french Man-O-War "Acheron".

1. Leaders relentlesly upgrade their team, using every encounter as an opportunity to evaluate, coach and build self confidence.
Capt. Jack Aubrey is shown mentoring his subordinates. In one particular scene he severely reprimands one of his midshipmen for tolerating insubordination and tells him about earning the respect of his subordinates and enforcing discipline. He talks about walking the fine line between befriending the foremosts jacks and being a tyrant. He also entrusts junior officers with important tasks and motivates them to succeed.

2. Leaders make sure people not only see the vision, they live and breathe it.
The Captain is shown as a fine orator who tells the crew that England is under invasion and though they are far away from land, the ship is no less than their country. He eggs them on telling anecdotes from the days he served with Lord Nelson in the Nile. The crew seemed to well understand that they were not merely fighting a ship to ship battle , but were part of a larger campaign to defeat the Bonaparte and to stop him from conquering Europe.

3. Leaders get into everyone's skin, exuding positive energy and optimism.
The Captain can be seen climbing up the Mast, talking to the carpenters, the lieutenants and other members of the crew in a very friendly manner and keeps them focussed on their tasks.

4. Leaders establish trust with candor, transparecy and credit.
Captain Aubrey is shown discussing strategies with his officers and also allows them to disagree with him and put forth their points.

5. Leaders have the courage to make unpopular decisions and gut calls.
The public flogging of a popular crew member for not showing obeisance to a senior officer is one example.

6. Leaders push and probe with a curiosity that borders on skepticism, making sure their questions are answered with action.

7.Leaders inspire risk taking and learning by setting the example.
The plan to attack the Acheron is the best example of display of brilliance and risk taking. The crew calls him "Lucky Jack" and appears ready to follow him anywhere.

8. Leaders celebrate.
On several occassions,Capt. Aubrey rewards his team members with an extra ration of grog or rum for their efforts.

"Master and Commander" is based on one of the 21 novels that form part of the Aubrey–Maturin series, also known as the Aubreyad by Patrick O'Brian, set during the Napoleonic Wars and centering on the friendship between Captain Jack Aubrey of the Royal Navy and his ship's surgeon Stephen Maturin, who is also a physician, natural philosopher, and secret agent. The 21st novel of the series, left unfinished by O'Brian's death in 2000, was published in late 2004.


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