A true leader takes charge by managing conflict, delegating tasks, taking responsibility and making key decisions. Boone’s leadership was a forceful dictatorship, enforcing an environment of “zero-fun” that conveyed to the Titan players that he ruled with a tight fist. He did this to magnify the seriousness of their situation as one of the first integrated football teams and their need for perfection and a desire to win together as a team.
Boone was a true take-charge leader as he immediately asserted his authority over his team and the other assistant coaches. He addresses to the team that “This is no democracy. It is a dictatorship. I am the law,” asserting that he is a force to be reckoned with who will lead their team to success so long as they are willing and committed to doing as he says. On the occasions when his authority was challenged, Boone’s actions made it clear that his position as head coach was not to be usurped or trifled with. For example, when the white captain of the team, Gary Bertier, cockily informs Boone the positions that all the white players will be playing, Boone snaps him back into line by telling him that the Titans are his team, he is the boss, and Bertier is to refer to Boone when asked “Who’s your daddy?” Also, during a game when Yoast puts an offensive player on the defensive line without Boone’s authority, Boone replies with “you’re cutting my legs from under me.” He made it clear to Yoast that he did not appreciate having his authority challenged, as it made his authority weaker in the eyes of the team.
Boone also takes charge by making key decisions to address the racial hostilities between the players. On their way to training camp, Boone effectively ‘integrates’ the busses by dividing the two busses by defensive and offensive players, not by color. He also makes them, grudgingly, sit next to and room with a player of a different color. He gives each an assignment to learn one thing about each player of a different color on the team, stating “I don’t care if you like each other, but you will respect each other.” In this way, Boone addresses the racial conflict that centuries of social protocol have created to separate the team. He is aware that his first key decisions to break this hateful barrier will allow the team to grow together as a single unit.
Boone also delegated tasks to the appropriate people, a true act of a take charge leader. Despite having taken over Yoast’s job, Boone knows intuitively that Yoast truly wants the team to succeed, no matter what the mix of color within it is, and offers him the job as assistant coach for the defensive line. Boone never micro-manages Yoast, instead he allows his subordinate to manage defense with out interjecting, until Yoast asks him for help on their last game. He also delegates the roles of leadership to Julius, a black player, and Bertier, a white player, in an attempt to make them roles models to the rest of the team. They eventually prove Boone’s intuition correct as they both break down the racial barriers by being the first two individuals of opposite color to begin co-operating and working together and become leading examples for the team. Also, Boone allows Bertier to make the decision to cut his own team mate and good friend, Ray, whose ongoing discrimination of the black players causes one of them to be injured. Bertier’s action proved how a delegated leader truly thinks for the team and is willing to make sacrifices for their success.
It is good to mention that, Boone’s adversarial dictatorial, dominant approach with the team was successful and appropriate in such a situation. The Titans were in an environment where racial barriers needed to be broached in a forceful way to make any headway towards success. I think in such a situation, a forceful style of leadership was a benefit in managing the boys than a hindrance.