20 Leadership Lessons And Quotes From Suicide Squad

A Reel Leadership Article

We’ve seen Marvel Studios succeed with comic book based movies. Captain America, Thor, The Avengers, Ant-Man… They’ve all been blockbuster movies.

Meanwhile, DC Comics has floundered in creating a cinematic universe that movie-goers will fall in love with. Movie flops such as Superman Returns and the recent Batman Versus Superman left fans wondering if DC could deliver a worthwhile movie experience.

DC Comics has now given us the Suicide Squad…

The Suicide Squad is made up of unwilling villains who have been forced to work with the US government to stop other meta-humans who are on a rampage.

Who compromises the Suicide Squad? We have a rogues gallery of DC villains.

Harley Quinn: The Joker’s love interest and former psychiatrist

El Diablo: A man who can control fire

Deadshot, AKA Floyd Wilson: An assassin who doesn’t miss his target

Rick Flag: A military man who is without superpowers. He is the unofficial leader of the Suicide Squad

Killer Croc: He has skin that is reptilian. Along with that, he has super strength and tough skin

Captain Boomerang: Has mad skills with a boomerang

Katana: Traditionally a superhero, she appeared as a good guy member of the Suicide Squad

Slipknot: He can climb virtually any rope

That’s a crazy lineup of super villains. One that provided an entertaining, if not dark, movie experience.

So, what leadership lessons can we learn from a group of villains that don’t want to team up? Continue reading to find out….

Caution: Suicide Squad spoilers below

Leadership Lessons And Quotes From Suicide Squad

1. Floyd “Deadshot” Wilson:

One day, somehow I’m going to get out of here

Deadshot was imprisoned for the assassinations he carried out. Batman caught him and put him away.

Yet he still had hope. Hope that one day he would be free from prison.

There are times when we believe we have no future. We feel like we’ll be a slave to whatever we’re facing forever.

Don’t give up. Have hope. Look for the good your future will hold.

2. You can look good but still be bad: Robbie Margot’s Harley Quinn looks good. She’s an attractive lady. However, Quinn is crazy. And not in a good way.

While she looked good, she was really bad.

We see this play out often. People will put on a good front. They’ll act like a family man or an honest business person but behind closed doors, they’re someone else completely.

Don’t look good but be bad. Look good and be good.

3. When good leaders are gone, things change: Suicide Squad takes place after Batman Versus Superman. At the ending of Batman Versus Superman, Superman dies.

A good leader was lost. Someone who fought for truth and justice no longer was standing in the way of evil.

The absence of a good hero led to the rise of many villains.

When an organization loses a good leader and there’s not another good leader to replace him, things begin to change for the worse.

4. The extent of your abilities is unknown: The villain El Diablo was a tortured soul. He didn’t want to do evil but he did.

His powers manifested and he used them to rob others. Eventually, his powers exploded and he killed his wife and children.

Even that wasn’t the extent of his powers. The government agency ARGUS tried to test him to see how far his abilities reached but they couldn’t determine how powerful he was.

You were created to do awesome things. Things you can’t imagine yourself doing.

There will be times when you feel pushed to your limits. Let me tell you, your limits aren’t your limits. You have more in you.

5. Be careful how you treat people: Killer Croc looked like a monster. People treated him like a monster. He became a monster.

You have to be aware of how you’re treating people. What you do to others will have an impact.

Be a force for good. Treat people well. Treat them like they matter. And they will.

6. El Diablo:

I’m a man. I ain’t no weapon

Amanda Waller, the head of ARGUS, wanted to use the captured villains as weapons in her fight. She saw them as pawns in her chess game.

El Diablo didn’t want to play. He didn’t want to be a weapon. He wanted to be a man.

You may feel like your team members are there for you to use. They’re not.

They’re with you to partner with you and help you move the vision forward. Don’t use people. They matter.

7. Rick Flag:

It makes no sense

Let’s be real. Leadership can be confusing. We will not be able to make sense of what is going on.

8. Our limited mindset can bring disaster: Rick Flag saw only one way to get the job done. So he unleashed the Enchantress. This led to the rise of the movie’s villain.

Looking at our situations, we will be limited by what we know. We may even think there’s only one way to solve the problem. That solution may lead to disaster.

Don’t let your limited mindset lead you to bad choices. Look for ALL the possibilities in front of you.

9. Your mouth can get you in trouble: In one scene, we see Slipknot knock out a female soldier. Why? He said it was because she was mouthy.

We can get ourselves in a lot of trouble when we don’t watch what we say. Our words are a powerful tool.

Use it wisely. Keep your mouth under control.

10. Floyd “Deadshot” Wilson:

You might want to work on your team motivation

Rick Flag wasn’t the best of leaders. He didn’t give rah rah speeches that drew his team together.

So much so, even a villain recognized his team building and motivational skills needed work.

Do you need to work on the ways you motivate your team? Be on the lookout for feedback from your team letting you know what you need to work on.

11. You can survive a business failure: The Suicide Squad team was flying into the war zone to rescue their target. On their way in, they were shot down and crashed.

This crash could be considered a failure. Even though it was a “failure,” they survived.

You’ll face business crashes and failures along your leadership journey. Don’t let them stop you from getting back up and trying again.

You can survive a business failure.

12. You can form the wrong opinions about those you lead: Flag thought Deadshot would cut and run when the shooting started. He couldn’t have had a more wrong impression about Deadshot.

Instead of running, Deadshot went into action. He began shooting and taking care of the bad guys.

We form opinions of others and lead based on those opinions. Those opinions could be flawed.

Be careful of how you judge others.

13. The least likely to lead may take the lead: When the going got tough, we saw Deadshot leap into action. There was one point in Suicide Squad where Deadshot took point as they entered into a building filled with hostiles.

He was no longer a follower. He was a leader.

Do you have people on your team who you think will never become a leader? Take a second look.

These non-leaders may have just what you need in a leader.

14. Floyd “Deadshot” Wilson:

Do something!

El Diablo didn’t want to use his superhuman powers because he was afraid he wouldn’t be able to control them. Deadshot knew his team needed him to use his powers.

So he pushed El Diablo. He stood up and told him to “Do something.”

Great leaders will push others to see the greatness within themselves. Help others see what they have inside.

15. Sometimes you miss on purpose: Amanda Waller ordered Deadshot to shoot and kill Harley Quinn as she was escaping her duties in the Suicide Squad. Deadshot leveled his weapon, took aim, and fired the shot.

Only the man who never misses, missed. On purpose.

You may be put into a situation that will compromise who you or what you believe. Could it be the time for you to “miss” on purpose?

16. Rick Flag:

Deadshot, I need your help

Great leaders are willing to ask for help.

17. Anger leads to bad decisions: We find out late in the movie that El Diablo had anger issues. He was a hot-head who had a short fuse.

During one of his explosive episodes, he wound up killing his family.

You have to be in control of your emotions. Letting anger take the lead will only lead to unwise decisions.

18. Boomerang:

Outside you’re amazing. Inside you’re ugly

We can look good on the outside. We can say and do all the right things.

However, if we’re not right on the inside, we’re ugly…

19. Family is a strong motivator: What did Deadshot want more than anything? To be a loving father to his daughter.

She was his motivation. She was his compass.

What is your family to you? It should be your guiding light. The place you return to every night.

20. You can’t change what you’ve done: El Diablo had to come to terms with the fact that he killed his wife and children. There was no going back and undoing what was done.

Still, he could do what was right today.

You have the same choice. You can’t change your past. You can decide what you will do today.

21. Even bad guys can do good: I think one of the hardest things to wrap our heads around is the concept that bad people can still do good. We see this played out in Suicide Squad.

These evil men and women helped save the world.

Don’t give up on those you think are a lost cause. There is good within them. Pull the good out of them.

While Suicide Squad has been panned by critics, I found it to be an enjoyable 2 hours. The actors were over-the-top but that’s how these characters should be played.

One word of warning: Suicide Squad isn’t for the faint of heart. There’s some strong language and lots of violence.

If you can get past that, you’ll have a good time watching Suicide Squad.

Question: Have you seen Suicide Squad? If so, what leadership lessons did you take away from the movie? If you haven’t seen the movie, what was your favorite lesson or quote that I shared?
Do you enjoy leadership lessons from the movies? Would you like more leadership lessons from the movies? Check out the Reel Leadership archives here for more leadership lessons from the movies.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Jeffrey P. Rush

    A couple more if I could, one you alluded to. The leader is not always the one in command. Flagg was in command, but in the end it was Deadshot who led the Suicide Squad.

    Sometimes it’s the mission, sometimes its the people you’re with that’s the motivation. What was it Harley said as they left the bar, “What else do we have to do.” Was it the action that drove her? The mission? Or was it just the opportunity to be around others? I would argue the latter. For Boomerang as well.

    Love knows no bounds. See Joker and Harley (warped, perhaps, but love for sure).

    Doing good. Doing the right thing does not necessarily eliminate consequences. Oftentimes we think if we do a good thing, that will keep us from the consequences of our bad actions. Sometimes yes, most times, no.

    • Awesome additions Jeff. Especially the one about consequences. We forget that no matter what we do, there will always be consequences.

  • Au Amores

    WHAT IS ONOSEKA PO?