12 Angry Men Essay

The 1957 film Twelve Angry Men serves as an excellent example demonstrating sources of power and influence tactics in leadership. At the start, the Foreman of the Jury sits at the head of the table and assigns each juror a number. He is using a legitimate source of power because he holds the position title and serves as a formal authoritative figure for the jury. The Foreman also facilitates the initial voting and discussion on the reasons why each jury member felt that way. The jury was almost unanimous, with the exception of Juror #8 who won’t vote guilty. His leadership skills and tactics are very apparent early on in the film, as he suggests the group not be so quick to move on. Instead of jumping on the band wagon, he voices his opinions and doubts because a man’s life is on the line. He used several different influence tactics while defending the boy on trial. He started with some personal appeals by talking about how the boy was abused by his father and grew up in the slums.

This information sparked juror number 5 to start doubting the boy being guilty because he could relate to his situation. After some discussion, he instilled a new voting system where everyone’s votes were anonymous. Juror number 8 even suggested that his vote not count to give the group a sense of consensus. I feel like this may have been an attempt at ingratiation influence because he was making it seem he cared about what the group wanted and would sacrifice his opinion if no one else agreed. This is also an example of an exchange because he was making a deal with the fellow members of the jury. Following this vote, juror number 8 began using rational persuasion by showing a similar knife, setting up a mock apartment to see if the older gentleman’s story was possible, getting the jury to think about the train and the amount of time it takes it to pass by, etc. Juror 8 identifies some flaws and inconsistencies in the prosecution’s case, but he allowed the jury to make their own doubts and decisions. Juror 8’s source of power comes from referent and legitimate power. He was able to influence others with his charisma, character, and persuasion skills. All in all, he was able to influence the group because of his communication skills, ability to adapt and stay rational, and because of the influence he possessed over them. Although juror number 8 rose to the occasion when it came to leading and influencing the group, there were various other members of the jury that became empowered and emerged as leaders over the course of the film. A great leader isn’t just someone who commands a group, it is someone that values and respects the opinions of others as well as builds leaders within the group. Juror number 8 showed ethical leadership throughout the movie because he influenced followers to complete the task at hand and stimulated change in attitudes and values. “Leadership is a campaign for the hearts and minds of others, providing hope and being an anchor of courage. It means elevating people above what they had ever thought possible by providing a vision and the confidence that they can, indeed, achieve it. To lead is to inspire; motivating and empowering others.”

I believe juror number 8 brought this quote to life throughout the film. The elderly man (juror number 9) also used expertise as a source of power. Him being an elderly man himself could speak to testimonies of the older witnesses. He attempted to make sense of their stories and believed that the old man wouldn’t lie, but maybe just convinced himself he had heard the boy shouting, “I’m going to kill you!” He was able to think like the elderly man and woman and take on their perception of the situation which in turn influenced other members of the jury. In addition, Juror number 5, grew up in the slums and used his expertise as a course of power. While the group was discussing the angle of the stab wound, he expressed his previous experiences using a switchblade knife. He explained how someone would handle it and helped them reach a conclusion that the young man may not have actually stabbed his father after all. “Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify, assess, and control the emotions of oneself, of others, and of groups (dictionary.com).” Emotional intelligence is a very important quality in leaders and was demonstrated by several of the jurors throughout the film. Juror number 8 shows emotional intelligence because he remains calm and collected throughout the film. He also involves other team members and values their input into the discussion. This juror also was able to read the groups’ emotions and cater to everyone in order to influence them and control the situation. Juror number 2 also shows emotional intelligence. He is soft spoken but always spoke when necessary and tried to give everyone a turn at speaking. Even though he was told to be quiet and shut down a lot, he kept his cool and didn’t seem to anger easily. Lastly, Juror number 9 shows emotional intelligence. He was one of the first to join juror number 8’s point of view and was ridiculed by several members of the group. In conclusion, Twelve Angry Men was an excellent film to show in order to demonstrate the various sources of power and influence tactics in action. Going throughout daily life, people don’t generally analyze situations to find the various forms of leadership tactics involved. Being able to identify these sources and tactics will be very beneficial in the workforce.