Crimson Tide is movie that highlights the differences in leadership between a US nuclear submarine’s captain (Frank Ramsey) and executive officer (Ron Hunter). The two officers respond differently to some of the incidents that take place. The two leadership theories highlighted by the two actors include situational leadership and contingency leadership. The two characters make several decisions that demonstrate the outcomes of the various leaders make using the different leadership styles they embrace. The main conflict emanates from a message for a defensive launch that the submarine receives. The captain chooses to ignore the command while the executive officer thinks that they should first evaluate the message and decide what to do after through evaluation.
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Captain Ramsey is task oriented and exhibits contingency leadership. On the other hand, Executive Officer Ramsey exhibits situational leadership. As the crisis emerges after they receive the launch message, the two officers vary in their opinions. In many of the incidents, Ramsey strives to get certain tasks completed by exerting his authority on his subordinates. In contrast, Hunter strives to create strong relationships with his subordinates and changes his leadership style based on the complexity of the task at hand. He gains the trust of his subordinates by showing competence and character in his leadership.
He listens to the opinions of the captain and never loses his calm. After being informed about a fire in the gallery, Hunter is overly concerned and tries hard to help put it off. However, the captain is not pleased by his actions. He lectures the executive officer at length because he believes that he should have contacted him about the incident which he argues interrupts the drill. Captain Ramsey is highly inflexible and unable to alter his leadership style to address different situations that require varied approaches. He tells Hunter that their role is to protect democracy and not to practice it. This is evidence of his inflexible leadership. The captain makes several decisions during the incident that portray poor leadership. For instance, while Hunter tries to help put out the fire, the Captain issues an order for a missile launch drill.
Hunter is surprised by Ramsey’s actions because it is irresponsible to order a missile launch drill in the midst of a fire emergency. Ramsey was not perturbed by the fire and did not think of it as an emergency that was worth his attention. That is bad leadership. Hunter does not confront him but instead goes to the bridge to inspect the process of transferring coded transmissions. In the midst o the drill, hunter passes a message to Ramsey that the fire could flare up again.
However, the captain ignores the message and chooses to concentrate on the drill that he deems more important. At the same time, Ramsey receives another message that a crew member has suffered a heart attack and died. He responds to the news by terminating the drill in order to devote his time on the incident that he considers important and an emergency. The fire incident reveals the leadership traits of the two officers.
Ramsey accuses Hunter of trying to interrupt the drill by calling attention to the fire. On the other hand, Hunter argues that the fire is more important than the drill because it is an emergency that could compromise the safety of the boat. Ramsey believes that confusion inside a submarine is beneficial and should be exploited. In contrast, Hunter disagrees with the captain but does not present his opinion in words but through body language. During a fight incident, hunter lets the crew members carry on fighting. He later talks to them about its inappropriateness and tells one of the soldiers that he should set a good example by avoiding such altercations.