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Take Three: Lessons of Leadership from the Big and Small Screen

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U.S. Naval War College Newport United States

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Media caricatures of leadership in movies and television often provide key insights into the strengths and weaknesses of a variety of leadership styles. This essay explores three fictional leaders from the big and small screen that provide positive, but flawed leadership examples and consider how those traits can be found in historical figures. As a framework, it utilizes a non-traditional taxonomy of assessing leadership traits. This essay considers the concept of Aristotles three modes of persuasion, described as the pathos, logos, and ethos. The fictional leaders have strengths and weaknesses, and each tells us about ourselves and the dangers of overinvestment in one of the three modes of persuasion. All these characters are persons in conflict where logic conflicts with empathy, empathy with duty, duty with honor. Finally, this paper explores how pathos, logos, and ethos can join together to create a real-life ideal lead leadership role model.

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Approved For Public Release;

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