Importance Of Team Building In Remember The Titans

Team Building, Ethics, and the Six Pillars of Character as depicted in Remember the Titans

Developing effective teams and creating an environment where all employees are ethically engaged is of utmost importance. This allows an organization to develop workplace synergy, create shared goals and motivate employees to work towards these goals. In addition, the contribution of employees that work well together generally produce output that is comparatively better than that of combined individual labor. Furthermore, ethical employee engagement creates a positive perception of the organization and is associated with higher levels of productivity and performance. This paper evaluates team development, ethics, and the six pillars of character as portrayed in the movie “Remember the Titans”. More specifically it evaluates, with examples from the movie, the four stages of team building, how team members can be ethically engaged and empowered, team dysfunction, problem-solving, what defines effective teams, and the six pillars of character, as well as how managers can implement similar behaviors to better relations inside the organization.

Remember the Titans is a 2000 film about the development of a high school football team after the merge of an all black student high school with an all white student high school. The team faces a lot of challenges, but eventually overcomes these and wins a championship. The film is set in Alexandria, Virginia in 1971, and although most of the content displayed on the film is fictional, it is based on true events. Intense racial conflict was very common at the time, and this shows not only within the team but also among adults in various scenes. Developing an effective multiracial team was hence difficult for the new coach from the start.

Stages Of Team Building

An article written by Jesse Hanwit delivers us a modernized model of Tuckman’s four stages of development - these include forming, storming, norming, and performing (Hawit). Forming is the first stage, and here members have the tendency to need to agree on rules, their purpose as a team, and inordinately follow the leader. In Remember the Titans, the forming stage becomes evident with the realization that at the beginning there was not one football team, but rather two teams - separated by race. As stated above, they all felt the need to agree with one another in the pre-established rules - it is us vs them - and looked at their respective leaders for this fallacious guidance. The next stage in team building is storming. At this stage, conflict rises and the team faces its biggest chance of breaking apart. This is because in an effort to merge people with different beliefs together, many may learn from one another and feel closer, while others may bump heads and not learn anything at all. This stage is evident by the multiple arguments that emerged between members of the team. For instance, the scene between Campbell and Gerry regarding leadership. In this scene, they passionately criticize one another, and argue about what is weakening the sustenance of the team with Gerry telling Julius he has “the worst attitude” he’s ever heard and Julius replying “Attitude reflects leadership, captain”. Plenty of arguments of this sort rose quickly between members during the storming stage.

At the norming stage, members start to resolve conflicts, and to focus on the task at hand. This can be identified by the commitment all team members gained from training, and the reduction in conflicts between teammates and the two coaches. The last stage is performing, and here the members of the team start to behave as a unified team, rather than just a group of people. This is evident with the various scenes that come after camp, where we finally begin to see a team, and not just a group of individuals. Additionally, it is said that many authors have written variations and enhancements to Tuckman's work. One of these variations holds that there is a fifth stage to this, termination. In the termination stage players may have opposing behaviors; some may feel motivated to give it their all, while others lose all motivation. It is recommended to accentuate the completion of tasks remaining for the team, go over learned lessons, and to create a celebration that honors the team members’ efforts and achievements, and that officially ends the now former team (Stein).

Ethical Engagement

At first the Titans were not ethically engaged, but with Boones strict procedures, they slowly grew to be. Boone forced them to not only live together, but to work together, and even assigned them the task to get information about another team member, outside of their race. Coach Boone fostered ethical engagement in the team by inculcating strict discipline and conveying the message that only the players who conformed to the strict guidelines would play in his team. Progressively, the team members began to change attitudes, and slowly became ethically engaged. The members no longer saw race an issue for their relations as teammates and more so friends. They stopped treating each other poorly and focused on their common goals; to improve themselves - and each other - in order to win the championship.

07 July 2022
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