Leadership In The Movie Gladiator

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Abstract: In this paper, I discuss the film Gladiator and the specific main characters of Maximus, Commodus and Marcus Aurelius. They displayed both good and bad leadership throughout the film. Maximus mostly exemplified the positive theories of leadership, while Marcus Aurelius and Commidus represented the bad forms. Maximus mainly displayed the leadership traits of transformational leadership, LMX theory, referent and legitimate power and Great Man Theory. Marcus Aurelius and Commodus engaged in bad leadership as well as coercive power.

The film Gladiator features several types of leadership through several different characters, both good and bad. The protagonist, Maximus, shows the most leadership and the most …show more content…

He remains calm under pressure, even after his family is killed and he is sold as a slave. He represents the Great Man theory because he was born into a family where his father was the governor of the province and his mother was daughter of a Roman senator. “ Having the “right stuff” did not guarantee leadership success, but it improved the odds of successfully influencing a group toward the accomplishment of its goals.” ( Hughes, Ginnett and Curphy) Maximus was appointed to general solely due to his family lineage, proving that during his time, the Great Man Theory was highly valued. Under the trait theory, Maximus also excelled in that theory. He was strong, a man, brave and humble. His particular traits led to him being a better leader and having a better chance of his followers listening to and following his …show more content…

Although there are debates as to whether or not bad leadership really exists, if it does, it is clearly shown by Commodus. He kills his father just to be ruler and then keeps on instigating fights with Maximus. He thought of himself as much higher and more important than the people he was leading, while he should have tried to lead on the same level as them. He killed off people he thought was lesser than him in the arena as well as animals. These two also engaged in coercive power and coercion. Commodus threatened his sister’s son after finding out about Maximus and his sister’s interactions. Marcus Aurelius engaged in coercive power when he caused a revolt, and promised his warriors that if they engaged in the revolt, they would definitely overthrow the other country. “Coercion is the use or threatened use of physical or psychological force (especially punishment) to get one 's way and to affect the behavior and/or emotions of others. In everyday language, coercion is "naked power." “ (

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