I was very impressed with the movie Hacksaw Ridge. While you can probably find leadership principles in just about any movie, there were some powerful examples in Hacksaw Ridge. Here are four that stood out to me.
Integrity has a price
In the movie Desmond Doss makes the decision to never touch a weapon, even though he was joining the army. His conviction was that killing was wrong. He paid a price for that. He came under pressure from his officers and training sergeant. He was beaten up by his fellow soldiers. He was almost court-martialed for his convictions. Leaders must remember that there is a price to pay to live with integrity.
When Desmond was in jail, he was encouraged, even by those close to him, to compromise in some way. He could make his immediate circumstances much easier with a simple choice. He did not give into that because he was thinking long-term, how he would deal with that decision in the years and decades to come. Don’t make major decisions just based on what they will do in the short-term.
The idea of going into battle, even as a medic, without a weapon was crazy. There was no way that Desmond could argue his side persuasively. But he could prove himself by his actions, Desmond, who had been labelled a “coward” during training, was the only one brave enough to stay on Hacksaw Ridge to save the wounded. People could argue with Desmond’s beliefs, but they could not argue with his actions. Leaders need to prove themselves.
When it was time to go back up Hacksaw Ridge a second time, the men didn’t want to go back up without Desmond. The way Desmond carried himself during the first attack inspired the men. They may not have understood or even agreed with Desmond’s beliefs, but they could see courage and honour when they saw it. While Desmond was only a private, it was he was the leader for the second attack. When a leader truly leads and proves themselves in real situations, people will follow.