An Example of Great Leadership – Part I

“Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.” Hebrews 13:7 (NIV)


We watched two movies recently, Crimson Tide and Hacksaw Ridge.  Both were great examples of leadership. Crimson Tide is an old movie but God used it to show a stark comparison between great leadership and not-so-great leadership.

While Crimson Tide was filmed in 1995, the truths are just as relevant today.  Gene Hackman was the Captain of a submarine that carried nuclear bombs during a period of unrest with the Russian government.  He employed Denzel Washington as his XO, second in command.  While there were certain things I agreed upon with his leadership abilities such as providing a united front between each other in front of the soldiers on the sub, he allowed pride to get in the way of his decision making ability.  And, while Denzel Washington had lots of book knowledge, the fact that he was inexperienced in the field made Gene Hackman look at him as incapable of “real” leadership.

The first scene that captured my attention was the way Denzel Washington’s character led at home.  Before leaving to board the ship, they show his goodbye with his family. He led with courage and kindness.  The second scene that cemented his leadership capability was when he had to correct a solider for behavior that was unbecoming on the ship.  He got his point across with kindness, making sure the solider knew what was expected without ridiculing or making him feel less of a man. That incident earned his respect.

The movie’s climax concerns Gene Hackman making a wrong decision that could result in two countries being hit with nuclear weapons. Denzel Washington fought for the truth and in the end, Gene Hackman consented that he was wrong after all, choosing early retirement and recommending that Denzel be granted another position of leadership.


This movie reminded me of my husband, maybe partly because he served in the Navy for four years, but mainly because he is a natural born leader.  He reminds me of Denzel Washington.  He approaches issues with a calm attitude, taking into account all the facts and praying for wisdom before arriving at what he believes is the best solution.  He is willing to fight for what is right even if it’s not the most popular decision, and he always does it in the most peaceful way possible without compromising his beliefs.

My husband is easy to submit to because he treats us like a team.  He asks for my opinion and listens when I choose to give it even if he hasn’t asked yet.  I trust his judgment because I know that even on the occasions he is wrong (none of us are perfect) he admits his mistakes and we learn from them.  When I’m wrong, he respectfully corrects me in love and talks about ways maybe something should be handled differently the next time.

Most of all, he tries to correct our children in a way that teaches them what needs to be done without breaking their spirit.  He is so gifted in this area that I have pretty much handed the reins over to him for the major issues in our house.  I know that his way is much more effective than mine and that he will come up with a better solution than I could.  Our children respect his authority and know that even if they don’t like his decisions, he’s fair in how he corrects.

Come back next time for the leadership qualities I learned from Hacksaw Ridge.

© Cheri Swalwell 2017


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