Today’s Movies: A Lesson in Leadership I will be quoting MARVEL movies!! I’ll be highlighting a few lessons from 4 MARVEL Movies: The Avengers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Thor and Iron Man 3.
Who doesn’t love a good superhero? What better analogy to mirror than that of a superhero when talking about leadership? Our leaders can sometimes be looked upon as heroes. They save the day, they inspire people, lead by example and sacrifice their time and energy to go above and beyond for the sake of others. Who is your favorite superhero?
We can find leadership examples in the most peculiar situations. We just have to seek out the lesson. Let’s look into a few…
Steve Rogers: Stark, we need a plan of attack!
Tony Stark: I have a plan: attack!
In this moment of not thinking before acting, Tony Stark pursues Thor after he has taken Loki from their custody. Captain American comments, “We need a plan of attack.” Stark replies, “I have a plan: attack!” How does this apply to leadership? Well, there are many times when you have to take the risk and jump into the water. Many leaders have a very fast thinking process. They’re able to assess situations as they’re unfolding and act quickly. This is a very difficult skill to master, but it’s not impossible. Here, Iron Man teaches us that leaders are not afraid to take risks. Before you go jumping into waters blindly, there is a difference in a calculated risk and a careless risk. Depending on the skills, resources and knowledge of the leader, risk can be taken knowing that no matter what arises, the individual or team can handle the risk. Iron Man definitely had the skills to take this risk. Be logical about risk and the risks you are able to take. Leaders take risks!
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Alexander Pierce: I can bring order to the lives of seven billion people, by sacrificing twenty million. It’s the next step, Nick. If you have the courage to take it.
Nick Fury: No. I have the courage not to.
Of course at this point in the movie, hell is breaking loose and Fury has finally shown up after an attempted assassination on his life. Pierce is trying to launch the ships so they can start killing people to gain control. In this quote, Pierce wants to convince Fury that killing off twenty million will bring order to everyone else by brining courage into the decision. He says, “If you have courage to take it.” Fury’s reply of course is, “No. I have the courage not to.” The lesson here is the word “no.” One of the most overlooked qualities you can possess is not the ability, but the will to say, “No.” Leading is not always about saying yes to gain the loyalty and trust of those around you. You must know when to say no and know why you should say no. If you want honest followers, you must be an honest leader. There are ways to make no look positive. Educating the reason why no is the answer and not yes is a great way to not only teach, but grow more leaders. Leaders say, “no.”
Thor: You know, I had it all backwards. I had it all wrong.
Erik Selvig: It’s not a bad thing finding out that you don’t have all the answers. You start asking the right questions.
Thor: For the first time in my life, I have no idea what I’m supposed to do.
Erik Selvig: Anyone who’s ever going to find his way in this world, has to start by admitting he doesn’t know…
Such a great quote! Getting to the point! No one can truly have all the right answers. It takes a great deal of courage and humility to admit that you don’t know the answer to something. This is a very humbling trait to have as a leader. A leader knows the mission, is inspiring, knows the route, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to know ever crack and bump along the road. It’s okay to not know the answer, but knowing the right questions is a great start to finding a solution. Leaders admit when they don’t have answers.
Iron Man 3
Harley Keener: Anyways, I would have added in, um, the retro…
Tony Stark: Retro-reflective panels?
Harley Keener: To make him stealth mode.
Tony Stark: You want a stealth mode.
Harley Keener: Cool, right?
Tony Stark: That’s actually a good idea. Maybe I’ll build one.
Tony Stark just took an idea from a kid! He listened! The conclusion in this is actually the last comment. Tony acknowledged his idea was a good one. This is the appropriate response after listening to your team/followers. Provide honest feedback. When you provide feedback to your team, you let them know that you are actively listening to what they were saying or what they were doing. This helps them grow in areas that they may be lacking in. Also, give them the proper compliment when doing something great! This can lead to the member stepping up their game. Tell them when they’re doing a great job, when you like their ideas, but also let them know when they need to work on key elements of their performance. Leaders provide honest, appropriate feedback.
For more movie leadership lessons, read my first post below.