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Leadership Lessons from "Kings Speech" Director Tom Hooper

Leadership Lessons from "Kings Speech" Director Tom Hooper

Matt Charney | MonsterThinking

March 01, 2011

MT: Your films, from John Adams to The Damn United and now The King’s Speech, seem to also focus on what new leaders must do to establish themselves. What lessons for new or aspiring leaders do you think are most prevalent in The King’s Speech?

TH: One of the lessons is to not be afraid of showing your frailty or your humanity. One of the reasons that King George VI was so beloved by his people is that his stammer humanized him; rather than being this infallible monarch, his stammer made him come across as a normal, flawed human being trying to overcome a problem.

And that’s something everyone can respond to, because everyone’s been through that struggle. In some ways, it almost shows that if you actually share your struggle and show your flaws, you create a much more genuine, much deeper emotional connection than being a superhuman. George VI did more to humanize the monarchy than anyone else, and essentially became a hero because of his imperfections, not in spite of them.

MT: In the film, you show the emergence of the “wireless radio’ or as one character refers to it, “Pandora’s Box,” which completely changes the expectations and perceptions of the monarchy. Today’s leaders are experiencing a similar revolution, it seems, with social media. Why do you think technology plays such a critical role in shaping leadership style and communications?

TH: I think what’s fascinating about the film is that it jots the beginning of the revolution mass media would have when brought out and used by leaders. The generation before Bertie’s, as King, all you really needed to do the job was look the part. If you looked good on a horse, knew how to smile and wave, you could fulfill the iconic duty of being a king.

Next: More on the Role of the Media >>

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