I am not a fun of thrillers yet to speak of one themed around the court of law but was convinced by friends to go watch The Run Away Jury(2003) and honestly speaking I have not regretted it.
The Runaway Jury (2003) is a movie directed by Gary Fleder and based on a legal thriller book written by the American award-winning writer John Grisham.
The movie was released in 2003 with stars such as John Cusack, Rachel Weisz and Gene Hackman.
The movie in summary:
When a trader is shot in cold blood at his workplace, his widow sues the gun manufacturing company the killer used. Blaming them for his death, she dispatches idealistic lawyer Wendell Rohr to oversee the case. A man of principle, Wendell takes charge. On the defence, another man will take charge: Rankin Fitch, a robust and ruthless jury consultant riding high on his frequent successes. But within the middle of it all is that the jury, which both Wendell and Rankin are determined to sway. But what they're yet to discover, is that a certain man and woman stand in their way. Nicholas Easter is among the jurors and the one collaborating with Marlee, his girlfriend, to determine the final outcome of the case. But as the case progresses, questions about the motives of all those involved comes up, and what they will do to secure the final verdict. (IMDb, 2020)”
Nicholas Easter a juror who my case would centre on, even though was not the jury heard was very persuasive and had most of the jurors listening to him. An example was when the jury had their first meeting, he was able to convince all the other members to elect a blind juror as their leader.
Nicholas showed how emotional intelligent he was when he was offered some muffins by a court bailiff, he took one and had a bite so as to not embarrass the bailiff who claimed she baked it herself even though a juror had told him it was not nice. To be a good leader you must be emotionally intelligent and not hurt people or your follower’s emotions. There was another point in the movie where Nicholas was confronted provocatively by another juror yet he was able to resist the temptation of getting into a fit scuff with him.
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Nicholas showed a lot of empathy to his colleague jurors. This he demonstrated in the movie when he visited a juror to find out what exactly was wrong with her when he saw she was not of herself. I am of the opinion a leader must be able to see through his followers and empathise with them in their time of need.
Nicholas was a very good listener and he was always listening to what his other jurors had to say before he made his case. In the closing scenes of the movie where the juror had to rule Nicholas took a layback posture listening to all the arguments his fellow jurors were making before he stepped in to make his case to persuade the jury to rule against the gun manufacturing companies.
Robert Greenleaf (1970, 1977) who developed the servant leadership approach did put a lot off emphasis on listening, empathy and unconditional acceptance of others. (Northouse, 2018)
Robert Greenleaf’s servant leadership theory looks at someone who genuinely wants to serve or is called to serve in the case of my character Nicholas Easter and then with conscious choice/s makes him/her a leader.
According to (Northouse, 2018) Spears (2002) identified ten (10) characteristics from the works of Greenleaf that defines or gives us a typical understanding of what makes a servant leader.
Listening is an interactive process of sending and receiving messages (i.e., talking and listening). Servant leaders communicate by listening first. They recognize that listening could be a learned act that involves hearing and being open minded to what others have to say. Through listening, servant leaders recognize the point of view of followers and validate these views. In the closing scenes of the movie when the jury had to rule, Nicholas took a layback posture listening to all the arguments his fellow jurors were making before he stepped in to make his case to persuade the jury to rule against the gun manufacturing companies.
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Empathy and healing are attributes a servant leader must have. Empathy is a leader’s ability to feel the emotions and thoughts or be in the shoes of his follower. Healing is the process were by a servant leader helps followers to overcome their personal problems. In the movie Nicholas Easter is seen showing empathy by comforting one of the jurors who the gun manufacturing company had caused her husband to be arrested as a means of blackmailing her to rule in their favour. This was also a means of healing since when Nicholas was leaving the lady felt better and more confident to discharge her duties the next day.
Nicholas was a very persuasive person. Persuasion is a way of communication that convinces others to change. This is in sharp contrast to coercion, which makes use of an individual’s authority to force the change desired, persuasion creates change through the use of gentle nonconfrontational argument which was seen in the scene where the jurors were to elect their heard, Nicholas made an argument for the selection of Hermman Brynes a blind juror as the head of the jury by pointing out to the others Mr. Brynes knowledge in law and his ability to stand-up to the judge.
“For Greenleaf, awareness is a quality within servant leaders that makes them acutely attuned and receptive to their physical, social, and political environments. It includes understanding oneself and the impact one has on others" (Northouse, 2018). This quality Nicholas Easter demonstrated in the scene of the movie where he was up for jury selection. During this scene Nicholas wanting to be selected made sure he caught the attention of the judge and infuriated him to force for him to be selected. He was very much aware of his environment (the court) and what he needed to do to become a juror.
- IMDb, 2020. Run Away Jury (2003) - IMDb. [Online]
Available at: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0313542/
[Accessed 2 February 2020].
- Northouse, P. G., 2018. Servant Leadership. Leadership: Theory and Practice. 8 ed. London: Sage Publications, pp. 342-343.
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