Leadership Lessons from Ant-Man

Ant-Man, Leadership, MARVEL, The Avengers

I was on a flight from Chicago to Zurich when I finally saw this movie just a few months ago.  Since it was about 2am when I saw it, I didn’t really remember much of it because I kept dozing off.  When it finally came out on digital download I was finally able to see it attentively. Now that I’ve seen it, I have been able to point out some leadership lessons.  

It’s well know that this hero packs a punch.  Size is not a concern and he surely makes an impact.  The same goes for leaders.  There is not a specific gender, race, or age that defines a leader.  A leader can be anyone who desires to help others achieve their goals by inspiring, motivating and selflessly giving their time to get them there.  Ant-Man, even a ex-thief, can teach us that leadership isn’t about who you were, how big you are, but it’s about where you’re going.  After all, if we’re leading, we’re going somewhere. 

Scott Lang: I think we should call the Avengers.

Scott’s quote here basically says, let’s call someone that is qualified for the job.  He didn’t immediately try to handle the problem.  Leaders know that if they can’t find a solution, or can contribute, they call the right team players.  It’s not about pride for leaders.  They are more than willing to admit that they can’t help.  It takes courage to admit that you don’t know what you’re doing or that you can’t help.  Leaders know when to pass the torch to someone else, but when they do it, they do it for the benefit of the result, not out of selfishness of not wanting to do the task.  Leaders know when to bring in the right talent!


Hank Pym: Scott, I’ve been watching you for a while, now. You’re different. Now, don’t let anyone tell you that you have nothing to offer.

You can’t really lead a team if you don’t know the potential of your teammates.  In this quote, Hank tells Scott that he’s been watching him for a while.  In this, he doesn’t just know his skills, but he knows his heart.  He knows that Scott would do the right thing in a tough situation(despite his thievery).  This is what makes Scott unique.  It’s like Captain America, at the core of Steve Rogers was a guy who lived by doing what’s right. Remember the alley fight?  Hank tells Scott that he has something to offer.  That he can make a difference and that he will.  It’s why he chose him to be Ant-Man.  Like so, leaders don’t just point out skills, but they see the character behind the person.  They see their true identity.  It’s important for leaders to help build up that character as well.  Leaders see beyond skills, they see what teammates really are, people.  A team isn’t a team because of their skills.  A team is a team because they trust each other and in this quote, Hank is putting his trust in Scott because he knows that Scott has the character to do what’s right. 

Hank Pym: The world sure seems different from down here, doesn’t it, Scott?

This quote is going to be about perspective.  After Scott has shrunk himself in the bathtub, Hank begins to talk to Scott.  This was his trial run in the suit basically.  He tells him that the world is different from down there.  I also want to include a quote I heard from someone not too long ago. “Walk a mile in the shoes of your followers.”  Even, though it’s a leaders job to guide the team, a leader must also see from the perspective of others.  Leaders should never rule the team, they’re there to share information, they’re there to hear their team members.  They get their perspective so that they can help lead effectively.  Leaders see from other perspectives to advance the team further.  A leader can’t block out how others see a problem, or more so, a solution.  It’s very important to see it from another perspective. Hank hits the nail on the head.  The world sure seems different from down here…Leaders see more than their own perspective. 


If we know one thing about leaders is it that they are bold.  They don’t hide behind curtains, they are transparent.  They will call a foul when they see one.  It’s not only about doing what’s right, it’s about integrity and accountability. 

Hank Pym: Scott?
Scott Lang: Yeah?
Hank Pym: You’re full of shit.
Scott Lang: Oh yeah.

Hank calls Scott out!  He tells him without restraint.  There is a proper way to call someone out, this is not a proper way, but the message here is that leaders must hold others accountable.  They must ensure that things are done right and when they’re not, they must coach their team members.  It’s okay to call team members out, but it must be doing educationally and without degrading the person.  Telling a team you’re they’re full of shit, probably isn’t the best idea, BUT, in an educational manner, you can bring up an issue and build on the learning curve to correct it.  Leaders call the BS, but do so professionally and educationally.  


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