Ghost In The Shell is a live-action remake of the classic anime of the same name. The live-action Ghost In The Shell features Scarlett Johansson as Major Motoko Kusanagi.
With my love of anime (Akira and Vampire Hunter D are two of my favorite classic anime movies), I was excited to see Ghost In The Shell brought to life. I was also excited to see the leadership lessons in Ghost In The Shell.
Read on to discover the leadership lessons and quotes I took away from Ghost In The Shell along with my thoughts on the live-action version.
Caution: Ghost In The Shell spoilers below
Leadership Lessons And Quotes From Ghost In The Shell
1. Daisuke Aramaki (may have been another character):
A machine cannot lead.
This quote really resonated with me. Machines are robotic. They do exactly what they’re told and nothing more.
Leaders are more than robots. They are willing to take orders but they also make decisions for themselves and for their team.
Don’t be a machine. Be a human leader.
2. Great leaders take action:
Major was staking out a meeting. She saw things had gone south. While Daisuke Aramaki had told her to stand down, Major couldn’t. She knew she had to take action.
We then see her dive off of the roof and crash through a window. From there, she clears out the room.
Great leaders don’t sit back. They move when action is needed. Be ready to move and act!
You’re not the same.
Major was questioning herself after disposing of another machine. She’d shot the robot during the previously mentioned attack.
Having the body of a machine and the mind of a human, she wasn’t sure what to think of herself. Was she a human or was she a robot?
Batou stepped up and assured her she was more than a robot. As a leader, you are more as well.
You’ve been placed into a position of authority. You have the ability and responsibility to act. You’re no longer the same.
4. Daisuke Aramaki:
You are a member of my team. You are my responsibility.
Great leaders don’t pass on their responsibilities. They are concerned for those they lead and consider them their responsibility.
When you’re dealing with your team, don’t place the blame on them. The blame lies on you.
5. Dr. Ouelet:
What we do is what defines us.
Major continuously struggled with her identity. And I love this quote by Dr. Ouelet.
Your actions determine who you are. What you do in public (and private) matters. These are the things you’re going to be defined by.
6. Great leaders take risks:
To figure out where the main antagonist was hiding, Major took a huge risk. She decided to do a deep dive into the geisha robot she killed.
Doing this put her human brain at an extreme risk. She did the deep dive anyways knowing the reward would outweigh the risk.
Great leaders take risks. They calculate the cost of failure to the cost of the reward. When the risk seems right, leaders take the risk.
7. Leaders will feel alone:
Major felt alone. She was the only machine with a human brain. This made her feel isolated from humans and machines alike.
Leaders go through a similar feeling. When a person becomes a leader, they become something more. They take on more responsibility and have to make decisions which will impact more than themselves.
This can lead to a sense of being alone. But realize you’re not alone. There are others who are in the same boat as you. Seek out these people and form a community.
8. Daisuke Aramaki:
Be careful who you threaten.
Once Daisuke Aramaki discovered Cutter, the CEO of the evil corporation Hanko, he confronts him. Cutter then threatens Daisuke and Daisuke tells him point blank that he needs to be careful who he threatens.
Cutter didn’t realize the power Daisuke wielded. He soon found out though…
When you have power, you might be tempted to threaten others to get what you want. Don’t do that.
Leading with a kind heart and with your employees in mind will serve you much better.
9. Great leaders ask questions:
Major also discovered the truth. And once she did, she couldn’t stop asking questions. Each question lead to another and then another.
Great leaders ask questions. They know they have to get to the bottom of things so they ask. And ask. Then ask some more.
What questions are you asking?
10. Great leaders do what is right:
Cutter had taken Major captive. Dr. Ouelet was to administer a lethal dose of medication to her. Instead, Dr. Ouelet did the right thing. She set major free.
But doing the right thing cost Dr. Ouelet. She paid for her actions with her life.
Great leaders know they must do the right thing. Even when the right thing costs them dearly. Go, do the right thing.
11. Major Motoko Kusanagi:
I’m not ready to leave. I belong here.
Towards the end of the movie, we discover Kuze is not the villain he’s been portrayed to be. Rather, he was the victim of Cutter.
Kuze had created a network of minds and as Kuze and Major were laying prone on the ground, he asked Major to join the network with him. Major declined knowing she didn’t belong there. She belonged exactly where she was.
Do you know where you belong? When you do, there comes a strength you didn’t know you possessed. Choose the right place and thrive.
12. Looks without substance will you leave empty:
Sadly, Ghost In The Shell left me wanting more. I couldn’t stay focused on the movie even with the gorgeous visuals.
Much like Ghost In The Shell, there are leaders who try to be flashy and portray the “proper” look of a leader. They’re all show with no substance.
Don’t play the roll of a leader. Be a leader.
Question: Have you seen the new Ghost In The Shell? If so, what was your favorite leadership lesson from Ghost In The Shell? If not, what was your favorite leadership lesson or quote from Ghost In The Shell that I shared? Let me know in the comment section below.
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.