It seems to be a trend that successful directors act unpleasant when communicating with others. Director Max Joseph has noticed the trend, and he’s filmed a funny and clever documentary, exploring whether a behavior like this is really necessary to get you to the top. He focuses on film directors, but it’s applicable to the leaders of all kinds, whether they are in charge of the movie, the photoshoot, or any other project.
So, do you really need to be a di*k to be a successful director? Or you can achieve by being a kind person who listens to everyone’s needs? Let’s see what Max has discovered talking to the pros in this field. Oh, and keep your headphones on since there’s some strong language.
Director Davis Guggenheim believes that the crew often needs a leader, someone to be their boss. They don’t want a friend, so the overly friendly approach may cause them not to like you. Author Michael Maccoby connects strong leaders with narcissism. These people have a strong and powerful vision. Although sometimes it can be wrong, they can persuade people to follow it and help them bring it to life. So, to be a great leader, perhaps you need at least some amount of narcissism.
Being an a-hole
Author Aaron James claims there are basically two kinds of people: a**holes and non-a**holes. But the question is – is being an a-hole essential for success? Well, it can be, at times. Writer and director John Hamburg believes you sometimes need to embrace “your inner a**hole” on your way to success.
Writer and director Karyn Kusama believes that people more often associate men with the idea of not caring for other’s opinion. It gets complicated if you’re a female because people see this kind of behavior as sociopathic. Women need to be tough to succeed, but they require a different kind of toughness.
Being who you are, with upgrades
Music supervisor Randall Poster’s opinion strikes me most. He believes your authentic personality is important, and being true to who you are. If you’re a d*ck, then be like that. If you’re nice and soft, then just go with that. I think this could help you in interaction, as you will feel the most comfortable. However, if you want to be a leader, you need some upgrades of the personality, whatever it’s like.
Professor Adam Grant advises us to be disagreeable givers. It’s good to be tough on the outside, but still consider people’s needs and genuinely listen to them.
From an interview with director Peter Berg, Max concluded that he’s exactly what Adam Grant was talking about.
Mr. Berg sees being too nice as a problem in becoming a leader. At his first movie, he acted as a jerk out of fear that he wouldn’t be taken seriously. He seems a bit intimidating and strict, but I don’t think you need to be a genuinely bad person to act this way. It’s just a way of getting what you want, and you get to choose to apply it or not.
He shares that it’s essential to have a clear vision, no matter how you plan to express it. If you have a vision, you can choose the approach that works best for you and bring it to life.
So, how do you become a great leader?
I believe there’s no straightforward answer. Apparently, being a jerk is just one of the approaches, and you can opt to choose it or not. But there are some very important things to focus on if you want to become successful:
- Accept who you are: accept your real nature, act in accordance with it and build on it.
- Have a vision: you need to have something that you are passionate about, something you believe in.
- Use all you’ve got: use every trick up your sleeve to bring that vision to life.
- Embrace your bad side: well, sometimes you will need to be a jerk, no matter how nice you genuinely are. So, accept the fact that, sometimes, you’re gonna have to be a d*ck to be successful.
What do you guys think? Is being a jerk really necessary to become a successful leader/director? Or nice people can get there too? What’s your approach?