Who set the focus and what was it? Why do you
Though in form “12 angry men” was a
courtroom drama where 12 jurors were fighting to come to a common decision
against a boy but in purpose it’s a crash course in those passages of the
Constitution that promise defendants a fair trial.
Henry Fonda, the 8th jury
in the panel, set the focus. Apart from him, the rest of the jurors agreed that
the boy was guilty. Only Henry thought that they should invest some time analyzing
the issue from various angles. In a little over an hour, every juror is defined
in terms of his personality, background, occupation, prejudices and emotional
tilts. Henry was the only person who was determined to discuss the case profoundly.
Right from the beginning, ?Henry Fonda’s character tried to walk in the boys
shoes- what it must have been liked to live in a slum and grow up in a violent
environment. Instead of rushing to potentially prejudiced judgement, he tried
to see things from the boy’s perspective. Henry never forced anyone to vote the
boy “not guilty”, rather he pointed out each possibility which made other
juries to shift votes and think about the case from various angles. Henry’s
character was a combination of strong leadership, sturdy self-belief and
2. What are the leadership
competencies that created an impression on you or your team? Explain with a
brief description and justify?
Taking a stand: This leadership quality was displayed by Henry Fonda
(Juror 8) when he stood against all the other jurors to portray for his own
opinion. Most of the other jurors were under the influence of other jurors and
preliminary case facts, and were reluctant to stand for what they thought was
right. For ex: Juror 9 was under the influence of other jurors and when he saw
Juror 8 taking a stand for what he felt right he got motivated enough to
support him. Juror 8 was forced to change his decision under many instances but
he stood by his decision because he was not convinced by the facts presented by
other jurors and the court.
Seeing the larger picture: Most of the jurors came to the
decisions mainly because they didn’t want to waste any time discussing over the
matter. For ex. Juror 7, wanted to just get over the meeting so that he could
go to the ball game. He didn’t even care for the accused and that his decision
could have put him under death penalty. Whereas, Juror 8 was looking at the
larger picture and held himself accountable for the pending decision. He took
the decision on his own conscience and was willing to wait until he was
convinced that the accused was really the culprit. So, he decided to go the
difficult path by not only standing against all the 11 other jurors but also
changing their decision without disrespecting their opinions.
Nudging others: Even if you take a stand, it is impossible to change a
decision if you cannot make the others believe. Juror 8 realized this, hence he
used subtle techniques to nudge others. He tried to change other’s decisions by
constantly interacting with them and counter them with logic and facts. He knew
that the other jurors had already made a decision and it is very difficult to
change a person’s decision because of the resisting nature. Hence, he slowly
but surely made each other change their decision one by one by proving them
what was right even though he had to take a lot of negative comments from the
Respecting other’s opinion: Even though juror 8 was against all
the other jurors, he was not stubborn and was willing to listen to all the
others if they could make him change his decision. He respected all the other
jurors and he even believed that all the other jurors might have been right
from the beginning. He gave all of them a chance to prove him wrong so that he
could change his decision.
Focusing on important discussions: There was a lot of chaos at the jury
room because everyone wanted to prove himself right. Even though Juror 8 was
against all the other jurors, he gave importance to the important discussions.
For ex. when some juror presented the fact involving the “woman across the
railway line” he was interested in his fact and gave huge importance to it even
though that fact was against could have changed his stand.
3. Elaborate on how the change
was led by Henry Fond keeping the steps of change management in mind (Apply
only relevant steps)
Step 1: Create Urgency
Henry Fonda created a situation of
urgency by appealing to the entire jury of 12 men to deliberate on the
possibility of the accused being non-guilty of the murder at least for an hour.
He himself wasn’t sure if the accused was guilty or not but he didn’t want any
man to get punished for something he hasn’t committed. Eventually, he was
successful at changing some jurors’ opinion about the boy by highlighting the
touch upbringing he had.
Step 2: Form a Powerful Coalition
Henry Fonda convinced the entire jury
to at least ponder over the situation properly before unanimously agreeing on a
verdict. After the jury discussed a few facets of the murder’s evidences, he
took a risk by calling in for another round of votes and convincing people if
out of those 11 other jurors, if nobody feels the accused could be non-guilty,
he would change his vote else if even one feels he is non-guilty, there would
be further deliberation. The outcome of the voting was what he wished for as
one of the jurors changed sides to non-guilty, so his attempt paid off.
Step 3: Create a Vision for Change
Henry Fonda’s attempt to convince the
jury to deliberate on the facts and evidences of the case for at least an hour
before concluding the verdict that lead to an interesting and unexpected turn
of events which set a tone for the entire movie. He tried convincing the jurors
to ponder over the possibility, however improbable it might be, of the boy
surrounded by many coincidences which point at him being guilty but may not
have executed the murder of his father.
Step 4: Remove Obstacles
Henry Fonda was not sure whether the
boy was responsible for the murder of his father which is why he kept repeating
the line ‘I don’t know, I’m not sure, it’s possible he is non-guilty’. He
convinces others to deliberate upon alternate outcomes that had not been considered
before. This lead to disapproving certain scenarios such as the statement made
by the old man of going near the stairs within 15 mins and witnessing the buy
running out of the door. Henry Fonda convinced everyone that even a unique
looking switchblade like the one purchased by the boy could have be purchased
by anyone coincidently.
Step 5: Create Short-Term Wins
Henry Fonda made sure that there is a
round of voting after discussing an important fact or evidence surrounding the
case. This gave him a sense of confidence that he is leading the jury to
believe what he believes in after every discussion. His method of leading the
team brought about a sense of logic and deep analysis in every juror by the end
of the discussion.
Step 6: Build on the Change
Henry Fonda was himself not sure what
to believe in, therefore, he didn’t want to force his opinion on anyone else.
He wanted the other jurors to follow his train of thought after deliberating
upon the surety of all the evidences so that the unanimous vote for non-guilty
seems to be more appropriate one.