Twelve Angry Men is a classic movie depicting how one determined leader can alter an entire crowd. Through dedication, curiosity, and the pursuit for the truth he is able to persuade a group of twelve to second guess even themselves. Within this heterogynous group are a dozen different personalities – some of which were leaders and most of which were not. The strongest leader in this movie by far is the Architect in the White Suit. Right off from the beginning at the original vote the Architect stated clearly his position in the matter.
Against the rest of the group he strongly held his ground and fought for what he believed. Most people in his position would have changed their opinion immediately after realizing that he was completely outnumbered. However he continued to argue his points and reiterate the reasons why “evidence” needed to be questioned. His mind was simply brilliant. As he sat there listening to the other jurors reasoning he always found a way to prove them wrong or make them question themselves. Whether it was through logic, mathematical reasoning, or questioning of evidence he seemed to always wow the other jurors.
His strength as a leader is that he is a natural born one. He wasn’t trying to look smart or impress anyone. He simply was doing what he was born to do. He used both pushing and pulling tactics to influence his peers. His strongest tactic was the usage of rational persuasion. While other jurors were able to dismiss facts without consideration, he immediately noted a potential fault. Through the analysis of facts he was able to convince others to reconsider. One of the most notable discrepancies he proved was that of the witness across the street.
Through common noises, known train speeds, and common knowledge he proved that the witness was anything but one. The architect also uses inspirational appeal to convince his colleagues. He makes the other jurors consider the humanity of the situation. A mans life is at stake and he realizes the impact that his decision as well the rest of theirs will have on the man. The importance of values is portrayed. Likewise he keeps his own position non-emotional stating that he will concur with the group about the guilt, but only if they can convince him that he should.
Additionally, he uses consultation to try to help the group to come to a consensus. He seeks group participation to make the ultimate decision. Whereas others are set in their opinion perhaps based on the social normality of it (I. e. to fit in with the rest of the group), he is out to find the true belief of the individual juror. As with the inspirational appeal, he expresses his willingness to modify his decision based on what they discuss. Another influential leader is the Angry Father. He acted as the leader for the people who believed the defendant was guilty.
He, like the Architect, is a natural born leader. He loudly argued his opinions about the case and refused to back down from his stance. Even in the end when he was completely out numbered he fought for his belief despite the persuasion of others. He couldn’t care less what they thought of him. He was there to do his job and wouldn’t be easily influenced by others. He perhaps was influenced by the pulling tactics. He used the tactics of legitimating. He tried to convince the group that they were there to protect democracy.
A man had committed murder and needed to be punished for it. He was so overshadowed by the rules that he missed the humanity in the situation. He was in effect referencing the higher authority and the rules that needed to be followed. The government says that a murderer must be punished and he was going to see to it. He also uses pushing tactics with pressure. He threateningly reminds the other that a murder has occurred and that the accused must be punished. He makes them feel guilty when they even consider for a moment that the accused may be not at fault.
When the jurors slowly change their minds he becomes very defensive and tries to make the others feel like they’re screwing up by feeling the way they do. A third leader in the movie was the salesman. He acted on behalf of the members of the group who really cared less about the case. They had been put there to do a task that in his eyes was not going to be satisfied. Representing perhaps other bored jurors such as the bank employee and the advertising man, he just wanted to go home. Any chance of a unanimous decision seemed impossible and he clearly advocated this. A few times he suggested a hung jury.
This is what made him the third most powerful in the room. However, he did not possess the leadership that the first two had. They had inherited their skills to lead a group while he was going with the flow. His actions were more of a coping mechanism to deal with the situation at hand while the other two actually had opinions and led the group with their respective beliefs. The salesman uses the pushing tactic of pressure to try to convince the others to just give up and go home. He threatens them with the possibility of being there forever and never being able to leave the sweltering room.
And he is constantly reminding everyone that there is no chance that all twelve people will agree on anything. One action of his I noted that portrayed his active coping leadership was his attempts to make the room comfortable. Upon entering the room he went right to the windows and opened them. Then throughout the movie he continues his efforts to get the fan functioning. This form of leadership reminded me of class when the room is cold. The statement “first one in turn on the heat” is always mentioned yet the first one in never turns it on.
The right leader never walked in to do it. If the salesman were in our class, the room would be cranking out the degrees. Another leader that appeared in the movie seems to have come out of his shell after battling the situation in his head. In the first vote, the Old Man raises his hand last only after seeing what the other members all voted. Clearly he was a follower of the crowd. Yet sometime between that vote and the next he led a personal fight within himself to overcome his lack of leadership skills and make a brief but powerful leadership stance.
Standing up to the crowd he made an argument that theres more to this case than what they’ve looked at and that he wants to consider the details more. Really his argument was nothing more than that and he made little contribution to the group after. But for the two minutes in the movie that he made his change of vote he completely altered the fate of the case. However he was not driven to do this because of his natural ability to lead. Instead he had an insurgence of ethics and voiced his priceless opposition. Had he remained silent the group would have been swayed the other direction and left right then.
This decision is by far the most valuable one made in the movie and it completely altered the fate of the trial and the boys life. The other leader of the film was the assistant football coach who was also the Foreman of the jury. As the film played on it became clear why he was the assistant coach and not the head one. His leadership skills were minimal. Despite his good intentions on running a smooth discussion he couldn’t do so himself. He asked for direction several times, or was told by the others what they should do. He certainly is not a leader, but was forced to pretend to be one for the duration of the trial.
Despite their differences all five leaders were critical to the case at hand. The Angry father and the Architect were essential to represent each opinion group. The Salesman was necessary to serve as head of the rest of the bored people as well as to regulate the comfortability. The Foreman was necessary in theory to control the meeting. And the Old Man was the saving grace in the entire trial. Their vastly unique leadership styles each had its own place in the movie and certainly represented the true reality of the necessity of different leaders in our environment.