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Positive, value-adding judge role for encouraging people to receive (good) feedback positively

I was contemplating putting this under the "Social Life" section of the forum. But, I see this as an example of a positive, leader-like use of the judge role (compare to Corey Wayne's leadership approach).

Without spoiling it, this is a snippet from the new Batman movie, The Long Halloween, Part 1.

 

 

[Minute mark 1:22]

Gordon: (delivers criticism with the judge role while punishing with some disappointment and emotional distance: "you didn't prove yourself to me as a detective") "You may be aces in a fist fight, but you got a lot to learn about detective work."

Batman: (defensiveness: starts to try and prove himself) "I found him, didn't I."

Gordon: (controls the scope of the conversation) "It's not just about finding them. You gotta know how they're gonna help your case. (delivers feedback: teaches Batman about collaborative frames) Mickey Chen is a small fish protected by Falcone [Falcone is Gotham's crime boss]."

Batman: (accepts feedback positively and confirms understanding) "We were never going to get a confession. We needed to make friends. And, in time, flip him."

Gordon: (approves of his confirmation with the judge role while dispensing a compliment as an emotional reward for his cooperation) "Keep talking like that, they'll make you DA."

Batman tries to scare a suspect into a confession. As a result, his tactics lost him and the department a good lead.

Gordon's initial feedback for Batman feels more like criticism when coupled with his emotionally distant body language and clearly disappointed tonality.

When Batman finally understands what he could have done better, Gordon doesn't say "thank you for understanding" which could have been an effective way of encouraging Batman to receive future feedback well. He holds onto the judge role and uses it to deliver a compliment.

When he delivers that compliment, he reduces his emotional distance by looking toward Batman and giving a small smile. He uses a positive judge role to build Batman back up after his harsh feedback and help incentivize him to behave more collaboratively with suspects in the future (the incentives being the emotional rewards of the judge).

One can easily see Gordon being a mentor figure for the "new and inexperienced" Batman because of the power dynamics that unfolded after this interaction.

I think it can be risky to do with anyone who has not already accepted your leadership. But, with people who have (and especially in dating/relationships), it can be an effective way of being a more positive, value-adding leader (positive for not pushing people down for their mistakes, value-adding for providing feedback that makes them better off).

Matthew Whitewood has reacted to this post.
Matthew Whitewood

P.S.:

Gordon also seems to follow John C. Maxwell's "5 Levels of Leadership" quite well here:

  • Position — people follow you because they have to (= Batman "has" to follow Gordon to an extent unless he wants to make an enemy of the police force—it's a case of Gordon having more domain authority)
  • Permission — people follow you because they want to (= Being a value-adding judge leader makes people—including Batman—want to follow him in the hopes of receiving the emotional rewards he dispenses. In Batman's case, he might want to receive those emotional rewards in order to know that he's still on good standing with the police force)
  • Production — people follow you because of what you have done in the past (= Gordon has built a reputation for being the "last honest man in Gotham" for his stellar work as a cop who never succumbs to the city's vices and negative temptations and a police commissioner who always gets the job done)
  • People development — people follow you because of what you have done for them personally (= Gordon built up Batman into a better detective and a better leader by giving helpful feedback that enabled Batman to achieve more in his work)
  • Pinnacle — People follow you because of who you are and what you represent (= Gordon is the police commissioner who represents justice in his city)
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Matthew Whitewood
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