Leadership in the *Kings Speech*

Leadership styles in the
“Kings Speech”
By :Shassha Loftman
Student №: 100336396
Submitted in partial fulfillment of
the requirements for
EDUC 5201G
Foundations in Leadership
October 21st 2012
Why this film ?
“Option E”
• Won the Academy Award for Best Picture, Best Director, Best
Actor, and Best Original Screenplay . The film had received 12
Oscar nominations, more than any other film in 2011.
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_King's_Speech )
• Also won seven awards, in 64th British Academy Film
Awards. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_King's_Speech )
Why this film ?
• A great leadership journey is depicted here. The potential
leader who doesn’t feel adequate and is at some level afraid of
the responsibility. The commitment to serve a cause larger
than himself. The struggle to find his unique voice. The
willingness to be vulnerable and accept support. The hours of
practice and dedication it takes to refine your skills . The
ability to get past the issues of power and control that
surround leadership and just be a catalyst for change .
The King’s Speech touches on many enduring themes,
but among the most salient are leadership and the
behaviours of those who mentor and enable leaders.
Plot Summary
• The King’s Speech tells the true story of Prince Albert, known as
‘Bertie’ but known to history as King George VI. He is a
reluctant leader thrust on the throne after his brother’s
abdication. Bertie’s challenges are magnified by a debilitating
‘stammer,’ a speech impediment widely perceived as rendering
him unfit to be King. This film is far more driven by character
than by plot. The film focuses on Bertie's transformation from a
reluctant, struggling navy officer to King George VI, an
inspirational leader of wartime Britain.
• See website for the movie trailer and further information:
Analyzing leadership challenges and
opportunities using various leadership
Monarchs as Leaders
• The principal advantage of hereditary monarchy is the
immediate continuity of leadership. This usually means that
the heir to the throne is known well in advance of becoming a
monarch to ensure a smooth succession. ( sdfdfd)
• This is indifference to the fact that the individual may or may
not have the abilities to perform the duties.
• It is expected that they will have the leadership traits because
of their inherited blood line.
• In essence it is the “great man theory” at it’s finest .
The Leadership Team
“Bertie” the Protagonist
“Bertie” the Protagonist
• Much like the inner workings of a monarchy. It’s still not
uncommon for people to be promoted into leadership roles
based on their subject or technical competence rather than
their leadership potential. It’s not surprising, therefore, that
“Bertie” felt ill-prepared.
• This is the situation in which Bertie (the future King George
VI, played by Colin Firth) finds himself. He’s a man faced
with one of the most challenging leadership jobs
of all – becoming king.
Bertie’s Positive Behavioural Traits
in Leadership
• The best leaders realise there’s always
something they don’t know, and that they
can’t do everything on their own. As a leader,
Bertie eventually realises he can’t conquer his
stammering alone, and is able to show the
humility to go back to Logue and ask for help.
This show humility and a sense of team work.
Bertie’s Challenges in
• “Bertie” had the desire, integrity humility and intelligence to
lead England. But like most great leaders, he still had
noticeable flaws and areas for improvement to master before
he could be the King her needed to be.
• Rather than viewing his flaws as a hopeless impediment to
leadership, he bravely admitted it, addressed it, and improved
it. It is my opinion that great leaders seek out help to
overcome or manage their flaws; they don’t ignore it or let it
control their leadership progression.
Bertie’s Challenges in
• Bertie’s had many flaws but the most pronounced
flaw was that of communication .This was the flaw
the interfered the most with his ability to become and
effective king.
• Bertie’s communication deficit manifested it’s self in
the form of a stammer. This would interfere with his
ability to give speeches and or give orders in a timely
“Effective leadership is still largely a matter of
- Alan Axelrod. Elizabeth I, CEO:
The Power of Communication in
• Communication is the transmission of meaning from one
person to another or to many people, whether verbally or
non-verbally. (Barret 2006 ) .This is extremely important for a
king when preparing his kingdom and country for war.
• Good communication skills enable, foster, and create the
understanding and trust necessary to encourage others to
follow a leader. Without effective communication, a manager
is not an effective leader.( Barret 2006 )
The Power of Communication in
• Being able to communicate effectively is what allows a
manager to move into a leadership position. .( Barret 2006 )
Thus illustrating the main conflict in the King’s Speech.
• Bertie is self aware of this problem and expresses his
frustration in his inability to effectively communicate. “ If I'm
King, where's my power? Can I form a government? Can I
levy a tax, declare a war? No! And yet I am the seat of all
authority. Why? Because the nation believes that when I
speak, I speak for them. But I can't speak.”
The Image of a Leader
• Bertie was constantly pressured by his family to act
like royalty.
• He was a stammering, tongue-tied isolated man
embarrassed by his own deficiencies.
• He did not convey confidence and did not have the
“image” of a leader .
• “Bertie earned his “presence” when he remove these
obstacles and allowed his talents to surface above his
Lionel Logue
The second protagonist
Lionel Logue
The second protagonist
Building Trust
• When faced with a cynical and reluctant
patient, Lionel builds early confidence with a
quick win. While Bertie initially dismisses his
own efforts to read Shakespeare while
listening to music as ‘hopeless’, he soon
realises his reading has, in fact, been flawless.
This early success encourages him to return to
Logue for further sessions.
Lionel Logue
The second protagonist
Embrace creativity
• Bertie fails to see how Lionel creativity is apart of his plan to
leading him to his own kingship. Bertie dismisses Logue’s
unusual practices and insisting on being taught on his own
• Over time, he realises that those same creative ideas have
merits, and gradually opens his mind to embrace them.
• These exercises are what eventually leads Bertie t feel
confident and start to tackle his psychological aspect of flaws
Differentiating between a variety of
established and emerging positions,
models, and theories of leadership
Juxtaposition of Leadership styles
•As Inspirational Leader
•Emotional Intelligence
•As a Transformational
•As a Servant Leader
•Referenced only twice in
the movie.
• As a leader with
ulterior motives .
•As someone with whom
England was going to war
with and would be a great
adversary due to his
-What's he saying?
. “I don't know but... he
seems to be saying it
rather well.” ( Bertie ).
• Charismatic Leader
Bertie as an Inspirational Leader
• As a role model Bertie struggles to communicate without
• However, he must trust that he can find his own authentic
voice. That is the voice that inspires and empowers others, the
voice of true authority. The voice that will lead and inspires
his country with his words and with his own personal
struggles .
• War is eminent and Inspirational leaders are people that
literally inspire those around them to achieve great things such
as preparing for war.
Bertie and Emotional Intelligence
• By the end of the film Bertie was able to make significant
growth and development in the area of his emotional
intelligence. He was able to:
1. Understand, and express himself,
2. Be aware of, understand, and relate to his country,
3. Deal with strong emotions and control his impulses, and anger
4. Adapt to change and to solve problems of a personal or a
social nature (Bar-on & Parker 2000).
This resulted in increased confidence when addressing the
crowd for the first time as king .
Lionel as a
Transformational Leader
• Transformational leadership implies changing the individuals enable
leaders and followers to reach high accomplishment and self motivation.
(Fairholm, 2008).
• Mr. 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; call me Lionel; we will meet everyday”.
• This helped to even out the playing field and to show that every one is
equal and power and status has no place in this relationship
Lionel as a
Transformational Leader
• 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.
Lionel as a
Transformational Leader
• The theory of charismatic/transformational
leadership suggests that such leaders raise followers’
aspirations and activate their higher-order values (e.g.,
altruism) (Avolio 1999).
• This is seen when Bertie give his final speech with
out stammering he was finally able to give his country
the leader they demanded and needed.
Lionel as a
Servant Leader
• Logue first began treating King George when
he was the Duke of York, before the Duke’s
brother abdicated the throne, making him the
king. It was during this period Logue displayed
especially strong servant leadership attributes.
Lionel as a
Servant Leader
• Therapist =servant leadership
• I argue that by definition a therapist has the
all the same qualities as a servant leader .
• It is important to serve first and find that,
through serving, your greatest contribution is
leading those who need you most through
difficult times .
• Logue became a confidant, friend and
advocate for the king .
Lionel as a
Servant Leader
Work with Veterans
• One of Logue’s distinctions that caught the attention of
royalty, stemmed from his work with war veterans. Known for
his stage presence and clear enunciation, he took his speech
therapy tactics to help war veterans. The speech therapist was
able to help many war veterans whose post-traumatic stress
disorders (PTSDs) resulted in speech impediments. In this
effort, Logue did not seek fame or fortune, but where he
could be of the greatest service.
Lionel as a
Servant Leader
Personal Risk
• As a successful speech therapist, Logue knew some of the
common causes of speech impediments were stress and
pressure. As a result, he needed to disarm and often calm his
clients. At personal risk, early in their relationship, Logue
insisted on referring to Duke Albert as “Bertie”. This was to
calm the Duke by removing airs of formality, position and
expectations. Although the Duke protested in the beginning,
he eventually accepted the nickname. Logue’s insistence was
in direct opposition to the Duke’s orders.
Lionel as a
Servant Leader
Building Others
• As the Duke of York, Albert never wanted the king’s throne.
In fact, he dreaded it. His fear of public speech and lack of
confidence in himself was so strong he fought to keep his
older brother from abdicating the throne. Through all the selfdenial and doubt, Lionel protested and reassured his friend,
Bertie, that he had all he needed to be a great king. Through
these actions, Logue displayed his dedication to building
others and serving his country.
Lionel as a
Servant Leader
• Bertie was know to have frequent outbursts
and a poor temper. But this did not deter
Lionel. Through good times and bad, Logue
remained by the King’s side. In fact, he was
present at almost all of the King’s major
speeches from the time they began working
together the king.
Applying diverse leadership ideas, models, and
theories of leadership to a wide range of
contextual circumstances and
Leadership Lessons in the
King’s Speech
• No one is born a leader - one must tap into
their leadership potential .
• Assess your weakness and address them head
• Leadership is about self growth.
• No leader can ever do it alone.
• Growing as a leader will make the constituents
more eager to follow your lead .
Qualifications aren’t everything
• Professional qualifications and training have their place, but they’re not the
only indicator of performance or potential. Though Lionel has deceived
no one, his lack of qualifications nearly results in his dismissal. He has,
Bertie says, ‘no training, no qualifications, just a great deal of nerve’. ‘I
can’t show you a certificate,’ Lionel responds. ‘Everything I know comes
from experience, and that war was some experience.’
• When recruitment or promotion is based solely on qualifications, we can
miss the potential of others who have just as much to contribute.
• Conversely this point is also seen when Prince David was called to the
throne only because he was next in line not because he has the most
leadership qualification.
Final Thoughts…..
• The King’s Speech reminds us, that all real
change in human systems, is personal change.
Even a king, has to do the hard personal work
to shift something inside – and create a new
future for himself and his constituents. This is
the real work of leadership.”
Final Thoughts…..
• Many people think that being a great leader is
about doing things independently, making
decisions, and the results may be fine. But by
reaching out, listening, seeing who supports
you, leaders may well achieve the best version
of themselves, one that wouldn’t be possible
Self Reflection
• I found this movie extremely inspiring and
began to ask myself :
• What flaws are am I trying to hide as a leader?
• Is this a conscious or sub-conscious thing I
that I do ?
What flaws are am I trying to hide as a
• My poor writing skills
• The fact I’m a very task orientated person
• That fact that I don’t like to accept praise
and am extremely hard on myself to out
perform myself
• I make a conscious decision to hide these
flaws because I believe they make me weak as
a leader but are they are also things I’m
currently working to fix
Avolio BJ. 1999. Full Leadership Development: Building the Vital Forces in
Organizations. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. 234 pp.
Barrett, D.J. (2006). Leadership Communication: A communication Approach
for Senior-Level Managers. Handbook of Business Strategy Emerald
Group Publishing, Pages 385-390
Bar-On, R.& Parker, J.D.A. (Eds.) (2000). Handbook of Emotional
Intelligence. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Fairholm, G. W.(2008) Understanding Leadership Perspectives : Theoretical
and Practical Approaches. : Springer, . p 35

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