Lessons The Avengers Can Teach About Leadership

With the upcoming release of Thor Dark World and amid the success of The Avengers blockbuster movies overall, there are excellent parallel leadership lessons that can be learned from these Marvel Comics superheroes. Namely, knowing when to take the reins and when to call on others for their specialized skills and expertise. Although, in business, we might not necessarily have to restore order to the universe and face unimaginable foes, we do often have to recalibrate our organizations, face strategic issues that seem impossible to solve, and combat pressure from the competition.

Movies like Thor Dark World and The Avengers actually have significant business value in their themes and characters. The plots, obstacles, and how each of the Avengers react can reflect what happens in business, and offers legitimate insight on how managers can handle challenging issues—better ensuring that proverbial good over evil prevails.

[wcm_restrict]These movies always start with a crisis, which frames the story and the action, and then requires superheroes to intervene and save the day. Interestingly, Thor and the other super heroes that form The Avengers are not actually a team. They have always worked individually on crises affecting the planet, so banding together with the realization that they cannot go it alone to achieve their goal was humbling, but satisfying and ultimately required to affect the desired outcome. Even Thor, with his incredible strength, cannot defeat the enemy in this latest installment, so he reaches out to others, including seemingly ‘powerless’ human beings, to help him — as a good leader should.

Until Thor and other of The Avengers realized they needed to stop trying to outshine each other and, instead, had to actually for a team with a unifying goal, they kept losing their fight.

Those within your business, including you, may think very similarly to The Avengers when they sought to go it alone for pride and glory. You most certainly have your own collection of superheroes — each team member with a special skill that they bring to the table — that are more focused on outdoing each other than coming together to solve a challenge or generally exceed expectations on an initiative. Unfortunately, far too many organizations are not comprised of teams but rather are just individuals sitting in the same building with a common theoretical interest. They may call themselves a team but they are not actually working together.

Although Thor and The Avengers at large continued to experience setbacks in their plight, no one gave up. Instead, in each instance, they recalibrated and came back stronger than they were before. Here is the really important part: The setback is what made them stronger. They learned how to defeat their enemy through the pain, agony and struggle of the setbacks. Had the setbacks not occurred, they would never have gained the strength required to defeat the enemy.

One thing is certain: your business will have setbacks. Welcome these setbacks. If you learn from these stumbling blocks, like The Avengers did, you will be collectively stronger for the next crisis, issue, or enemy (a.k.a., the competition). If you don’t learn from them, or if you don’t leverage these obstacles to make your organization stronger, it may very well go down in defeat, whether that be market share loss, bankruptcy, or even a shutdown.

As Thor faces his latest enemy even with the assist of The Avengers, he still calls upon others — humans — that may seem weak without superhero power, but who prove that they are champions in their own right with a penchant for innovation and resolve to keep fighting. This proves that a leader should always consider each and every team member as valuable and integral to winning the fight. Each member becomes stronger as the leader helps bring the team together with one unifying goal and a commitment to achieving it.

This is what leaders have to do in business. Unify individuals with a fighting team spirit, and arm them with the confidence and support they need to shine together.[/wcm_restrict][wcm_nonmember]

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About the Author

CEO Miller IngenuityWith more than three decades of management, executive, consulting and speaking experience in markets all over the world, Miller Ingenuity CEO Steve Blue is a globally regarded business growth authority and ‘turnaround specialist’ who has transformed companies into industry giants and enthralled audiences with his dynamic keynotes. He may be reached at www.StevenLBlue.com.

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