The Concept of Leadership and Its Depiction on The Movie The Green Mile

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About this sample


Words: 766 |

Pages: 2|

4 min read

Published: Jan 29, 2019

Words: 766|Pages: 2|4 min read

Published: Jan 29, 2019

To conduct a leadership analysis of a fictional character, I have chosen the movie The Green Mile (Darkwoods Productions, 1999). Specifically, I have chosen to discuss Paul Edgecombe who was played by Tom Hanks. Paul Edgecombe is the lead guard of The Green Mile which houses the death row inmates at a penitentiary. He has a balance of work and play, is reserved in judgement, is instinctual, and resolute in his purposes. He was able to do his job well because he believed that the inmates in his control deserved the death penalty, but that they also deserve respect and calmness before that occurs. The movie illustrates his response to an unruly prisoner, an unruly subordinate, and an innocent man who can perform miracles that he is forced to execute. This movie is based on a series of novels by Steven King (Darkwoods Productions, 1999).

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While many of the different leadership approaches could apply, I have chosen to analyze Paul Edgecombe with the trait leadership approach. The trait approach “believes that leaders and nonleaders could be differentiated by a universal set of traits” (Northouse, 2013, p.40). This movie has a host of characters that are at different ranges of the trait approach. Paul’s right hand man, Brutus Howell 9played by David Morse), could be an effective leader if he was able to control his temper and had more desire to understand the emotions of others (Darkwoods Productions, 1999). Warden Hal Moores (played by James Cromwell) could have been an effective leader if he were not so inclined to provide his nephew a position on the mile and a difficult home life at the present time with his very sick wife (Darkwoods Productions, 1999).

“The trait approach is very different from the other approaches, because it focuses exclusively on the leader, not on the followers or the situation” (Northouse, 2013, pp. 28-19). Paul Edgecombe is balanced and steady allowing his traits to be on display regardless of the situation. Northouse (2013) analyzes six different studies on the trait approach and simplifies them into a table (p. 23). There are five main leadership traits that repeat across the studies and they are intelligence, self-confidence, determination, integrity, and sociability (Northouse, 2013, p. 23). Paul Edgecombe consistently demonstrates each of these traits.

Intelligence is apparent in his character. He is humble and brushes off his intelligence, but his self-confidence and resolute actions demonstrate his intelligence especially in the emotional intelligence area. He has gained the skills and experience to exhibit self-confidence in his job and uses that self-confidence to teach others. Even when he has a difficult employee to deal with, he exudes self-confidence in taking the challenge to take him on and teach him. Paul is determined to do his job and to make sure his subordinates are safe and happy as well. Paul’s integrity is one of the most important lessons from this movie. Paul Edgecombe was very good at his job, but after witnessing the miracles of John Coffey (played by Michael Clarke Duncan) and realizing his innocence; Paul had a crisis of conscience (Darkwoods Productions, 1999). Paul Edgecombe unsuccessfully lobbied with the attorneys and state to try to save John Coffey (Darkwoods Productions, 1999). This crisis of conscience caused him to no longer be able to execute any man and to move out of his position at The Green Mile (Darkwoods Productions, 1999). His integrity is shown best with the scenes in the nursing home where he is telling the story of his past and we see that he and the mouse are still alive and that singular experience with John Coffey still haunts him.

Paul Edgecombe’s sociability is one of his most prevalent traits. He is able to respect the men he is about to execute and demands respect from everyone on the mile. He treats them respectfully and they respond-in-kind. He is able to display sympathy and empathy to those around him. He can also read their body language and in between the lines of what they say to predict their behavior. He knows exactly what to say so that the person will understand him.

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There are many more traits that we can discuss with Paul Edgecombe and the rest of the characters in The Green Mile ((Darkwoods Productions, 1999). Paul Edgecombe is a positive leadership example and The Green Mile effectively shows situations where a leader must make tough decisions and a crisis of conscience. This movie has always been one of my favorites and I will definitely need to go back and read the books now.

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Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

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The Concept of Leadership and Its Depiction on the Movie the Green Mile. (2019, January 28). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 15, 2024, from
“The Concept of Leadership and Its Depiction on the Movie the Green Mile.” GradesFixer, 28 Jan. 2019,
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The Concept of Leadership and Its Depiction on the Movie the Green Mile [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2019 Jan 28 [cited 2024 Jul 15]. Available from:
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