5 Leadership lessons we can Learn from Iron Man 3

Leadership chartWe can all learn something from what’s going on around us; the kids running around, your family and even from the movies you watch.

Without further ado, I present to you the lessons I learned from Iron Man:

Scene 1: When Tony and Killian met for the first time, Killian was a limping, over-enthusiastic guy with a brilliant idea. Tony wasn’t interested though, so to “get rid” of Killian, he asked him to go to the rooftop and meet him there.

What happened? Tony never showed up and Killian has since held a grudge against him. His morality and ideals were corrupted by his desire for revenge.

The Lesson: Good Leaders do not blow off admirers and supporters. You never know, they could turn into your next biggest business competitor or adversary. If you’re not interested in someone’s proposal, just say it upfront.

Scene 2: Tony issues a direct threat to the Mandarin after Happy was hospitalized because of the Mandarin’s attack on the Chinese Theater. Ever the confident, sometimes arrogant guy that he is, Tony gave his home address to the Mandarin in National TV.

What happened? As everyone who watched the movie knows, Tony’s home was obliterated by three men in helicopters loaded with machine guns.

The lesson: Whether you’re a CEO, public figure, or entrepreneur, NEVER give your home address to anyone- especially on National TV! Don’t divulge this information, lest you want to be bombarded by customer complaint letters, employees with a grudge, an angry mob, or the press.

Aside from that, mixing work with your personal life is never a good idea. Most leaders work enough hours in the day, so it’s only right that your home remains a personal space.

Scene 3: The Mandarin threatened to shoot a man if the President doesn’t call him. Of course, the President called.

What happened? The Mandarin shot the man, even after hearing the phone ring several times.

The Lesson: Don’t trust anyone you’re doing business with for the first time. Don’t just fulfill your end of the bargain just to complete the deal, because you have no assurance if the other party will deliver what is required of him. As a leader, one of your main roles is to apply a reasonable sense of doubt to everyone you work with, until they have proven themselves well enough to gain your trust.

Scene 4: Tony has another episode (anxiety attack) when he discovers that Mark 42, the suit he leaved with Harley (little boy) to power up isn’t charging properly.

What happened? Harley tries to comfort Tony by saying, “You’re a mechanic right? You said so. Why don’t you just build something?

The Lesson: Focus on the solution, not the problem. In this case, Tony was so worked up because the suit wasn’t charging properly (problem), when he could have been focusing on the solution, which is not necessarily a suit, but the weapons in the suit.

As a leader, it’s easy to get lost in the problem that you fail to see the big picture. That’s what your team is there for. Consult them, ask them to find other angles. Your peers are also there to lend another set of eyes.

Scene 5: Thirteen or so people are falling to their death after Killian (wearing the War Machine suit) hijacked the Air Force 1.

What Happened? Tony asks Jarvis (talking super computer) how many people he can carry. Jarvis says four, but he still managed to save everyone. It was an awesome scene and a brilliant display of teamwork!

The Lesson: Teamwork, but that’s a given. Even the impossible could be accomplished if we all do our part.

Another important, not so obvious fact illustrated by this scene is that human intuition can never be replaced by artificial intelligence, no matter how sophisticated or powerful it is. Leaders who are trying to cut down on costs by automating everything should be careful.

One article won’t be enough to cover everything I learned and re-discovered while watching this movie. I hope you can all apply the lessons you learned here.

Next time you watch a movie, make sure to keep your eyes open for any lesson you might pick up.