Now I’ve Heard It All: Management Lessons from RoadHouse!

One of my favorite “bad” movies that I just cannot switch past when its on is the movie “Road House“. As a matter of fact, we went out and bought the DVD so that when it is on TV, I can pop in the DVD and watch the “unedited” TV version of the movie – thats how addictive the movie is to me for some reason. I just cannot “not” watch it when its on.

So imagine my surprise when the latest episode of Manager Tools used Roadhouse as one of their examples when discussing Handling Peer Conflict When Your Directs Are Involved. The example was around one of their steps in handling conflict, which was “Turn the other cheek”. In the movie, there is a scene in which Patrick Swayze is laying down the rules for working in the bar now that he has been hired as a cooler. Oddly, the scene really does illustrate the point Mark was making quite well:

DALTON:

1. Never underestimate your opponent. Expect the unexpected.
2. Take it outside. Never start anything in the bar unless its absolutely necessary.
and 3. Be nice.

EMPLOYEE:
C’mon

DALTON:
If someone gets in your face and calls you a <bleep>, I want you to be nice.

EMPLOYEE: OK …

DALTON: Ask him to walk, but be nice. If he won’t walk – walk him – but be nice. If you can’t walk him, one of the others will help you – and you’ll both be nice. I want you to remember that its a job. Its nothing personal.

EMPLOYEE 2: Uh, huh. Being called a <bleep> isn’t personal?

DALTON: No. Its two nouns combined to elicit a prescribed response.

EMPLOYEE 2: [laughs] Well what if someone calls my mama a whore?

DALTON: Is she? [pause with employee laughter] I want you to be nice until its time to not be nice.

EMPLOYEE 3: Well, uh, how are we supposed to know when that is?

DALTON: You won’t. I’ll let you know. You are the bouncers, I am the cooler. All you have to do is watch my back – and each others … and take out the trash.

I guess it just goes to show you that there are leadership lessons everywhere, you just have to be looking for them. Road House, honestly, would have been the last place I would have looked, but damned if they aren’t there as well.

As an aside, I’ve just started reading a book called Leadership Sopranos Style: How to Become a More Effective Boss. Again, another place I would not necessarily look for leadership lessons. The book is pretty good so far. I’ll probably write something up on it when I finish it.

I like books and lectures that use pop culture to make the concepts more accessible. We need more of this in the world, rather than the dry theory of most leadership related material.

One thought on “Now I’ve Heard It All: Management Lessons from RoadHouse!

  1. I liked the Roadhouse analogy as well, but then I have a strange attraction to B movies. Interested to see what your overall feel is for the Leadership Soprano Style. I’ve thought it might be an entertaining read.

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