The Leadership Styles of the Scarecrow, Tin Man, & Cowardly Lion

The famous movie, the Wizard of Oz, features a young girl in a land far different from her drab world on the farm in Kansas.  Dorothy meets three characters along the way which walk beside her, defend her, and care for this child so far from home.  The author of the book which this movie is based wrote in the introduction, “It aspires to being a modernized fairy tale, in which the wonderment and joy are retained and the heartaches and nightmares are left out.” L. Frank Baum  In Premiere Magazine’s 100 Greatest Movies lines, “There’s no place like home” ranks #11 and the song Over the Rainbow came in at No 1 on the American Film Institutes’s 2004 list of the 100 Greatest Songs in American Films.  Children of all ages routinely watch this film over and over again, and like myself, can do most of the dialogue along with the characters.  We can see three skills of leadership in Dorothy’s companions which can help us to help others. 

The Scarecrow’s quote, “But some people without brains do an awful lot of talking… don’t they?’  This is one of the most important things to keep in mind in leading and working with others.  While others are speaking “wicked words by the water cooler” you do not need to take part.  Leaders lead by actions but the words you speak will heighten or diminish your viability as a leader.  If you take part in destroying others with “wicked words” you should not be surprised they will do the same to you.  The Scarecrow was the first one she met and the last one to say good-bye, adding “I think I will miss you the most.”  Will those you lead miss you because you would not take part in destroying someone else. 

The Tin Man’s quote, “Some, but mostly lions, and tigers, and bears.” shows us the need for a calming and reassuring voice in the midst of turmoil.  In ministry, especially at the time of death of a loved one, a calm and compassionate voice does so much to a grieving family.  In the middle of difficult situations, a true leader can remain calm and still be compassionate for those in trouble.  Jesus did not fret the storm but handled the problem.  His followers wondered what kind of man this Jesus was and so will those you lead if you can remain calm and compassionate in difficult situations. 

The Cowardly Lion’s song, “If I were king of the fore-e-e-est…” is another role of a leader.  A leader must be able to project a better future or goal which others can see.   Vision casting is the ability to rally a team around a vision which may not exist at present but with team work, the vision is possible.  The vision should not be so lofty that if it is not reached, people might become de-motivated and the leader loses cohesion. 

The role of a leader requires the ability to refrain from destroying people with the tongue, remaining calm in the middle of a twister, and to give to others a picture of better days.  Othewise, your boss may come to you and say in the words of Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, “You have no power here! Begone, before somebody drops a house on you, too!”

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