Temperatures are rising, and people across North America are rushing to escape the scorching summer heat. And one of our favorite things to do in the warmest season of the year is to escape the heat by immersing yourself in the cool environment and exciting entertainment of the local cinema. And while many may simply embrace escapism, going to the movies can be a great opportunity to gain a solid understanding of how to be a leader. So let’s take a look at some leadership lessons from this summer’s most popular movies on the big screen!
**Possible spoilers ahead**
Top Gun: Maverick
After its release in 1986, Top Gun inspired an entire generation to look up at the sky and imagine themselves in the cockpit with the theme song Danger zone plays in the background. After nearly 40 years, movie fans finally got what they wanted: a sequel. In Top Gun: Maverick, viewers get a little insight into what Pete “Maverick” Mitchell has been up to over the past few decades, and more than that, how much fuel he has left in the tank. After Maverick disobeys the admiral’s orders by flying and crashing a hypersonic jet at Mach 10.3, he is sent back to Top Gun fighter pilot school to help train the Navy’s best aviators to successfully complete a seemingly impossible mission. During the three-week training, Tom Cruise’s character is tasked with not only building a team, but also understanding its limits and helping its pilots overcome them.
One piece of advice Maverick gives Rooster, the son of his late Gus, is to “don’t think, just do. If you think there, you are dead.’ For most of the film, Rooster seems to hold back, thinking every move. However, once he finally lets go and relies on his instincts, he becomes the pilot Maverick knew he was: heroic, brave and fast. Managers are tasked with helping their teams overcome their limitations and bring out hidden qualities in their employees. Encouraging employees to overcome the habit of overthinking and relying on instinct and experience will help your team be better.
In this biopic, writer/director Baz Luhrmann (The Great Gatsby, Moulin Rouge!, Romeo + Juliet) takes viewers on a journey not only through the life trajectory of the King of Rock, but also tells the story through the eyes of Elvis Presley’s infamous and controversial longtime manager, Colonel Parker. After becoming the quintessential singer in the 1950s, Parker encouraged Elvis to go to Hollywood and spend the first eight years of the 1960s making B-movies, all but abandoning his music career in exchange for film soundtracks. And while Elvis achieved success, he slowly drifted away from what truly made him happy: singing and performing the songs he believed in. These long-held thoughts culminated when Elvis decided to turn a Christmas event sponsored by Singer Sewing Machine into one of the most important televised events in music history. Known as the ’68 Comeback Special, Elvis returned to his roots, re-establishing himself as the most popular live performer for the remainder of his career.
When great leaders lose sight of their strengths, purpose, and vision, their team members suffer the most. To ensure a high-performing, creative and engaged workforce, it’s important to go back to your roots. Focus on the values and culture of the organization and encourage management and employees to do what they do best: be themselves.
Thor: Love and Thunder
In the third installment of the Thor saga, we see the god of thunder for the first time since his role in the epic Marvel film End of the game. U Thor: Love and Thunder, a superhero is in search of identity and purpose. After spending thousands of years fighting on behalf of Asgard and helping to save the universe from nefarious enemies, Thor still doesn’t fully understand who he is. And though his friends encourage him to find himself, in the end it’s a surprise visit from Jane Foster as the Mighty Thor (a re-adaptation of Lady Thor from the Marvel comics) that helps Thor remember that it’s better to feel bad about loss than to never try and feel empty
Many leaders are on the sidelines, not shooting for the stars for fear of failure. But trying and failing is often an important stop on the road to success. In leadership, if you don’t open yourself up to both good and bad opportunities, you will lead in the “gray,” neither positive nor negative. However, in order to motivate the team and overcome potential obstacles, leaders must face and survive failure. It’s better to shoot and miss than to forever wonder what if.
What are your favorite leadership lessons from movies? What other lessons have you learned from the screens? Let us know in the comments section below!