The Imitation Game and Leadership Intimacy
Alan Turing was a genius. Known as the father of computer science, he gave the world the fundamental concepts required to invent and build computers. The Academy Award winning movie The Imitation Game tells the story of his heroic attempt to save the British and the rest of the world from the Nazis.
It’s safe to read on. No major spoilers herein. The few moments described below will not in any way diminish your enjoyment of the film.
During World War II, Turing and a team of codebreakers set out to crack what was thought to be the German’s unbreakable message encoding process made possible by a machine named Enigma.
Like other geniuses, Alan Turing had trouble working with other people. He preferred to work alone, because he believed that others could not keep up with him. Socially awkward, he understood casual human conversation literally. For that reason, he could not understand jokes.
In the film he expresses his frustration with his inability to understand the way people communicate. “When people talk to each other, they never say what they mean. They say something else, and you’re expected to just know what they mean.”
At a point in the story in his struggle to crack Enigma, Turing, played by Benedict Cumberbatch, fails to muster the help he needs from the team of code breakers he leads. His colleague and friend Joan Clarke, played by Keira Knightley, advises him, “They won’t help you if they don’t like you.”
Turing’s subsequent attempts to help his team like him turn out to be both touching and amusing.
All this to recommend the film to you as a leader, because The Imitation Game dramatically demonstrates the importance of Leadership Intimacy. Summed up, Leadership Intimacy warns leaders that relationships always trump skills.
Even with unsurpassed technical skill and highly refined theoretical knowledge, dazzling creativity, and raging passion to achieve success, leaders are doomed to fail unless they are capable of managing personal relationships.
In order to bring other highly qualified people into your sphere of influence, you must intimately understand them. Only then can you personalize your approach and engage their full potential and align them with your goals.
Our CoachQuest Leader-as-Coach Workshops help leaders become more self-aware—the first step on the way to developing and practicing Leadership Intimacy and achieving leadership success.
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