13 Leadership Lessons From Guardians of the Galaxy

A Reel Leadership Article

Until recently, you’ve probably never even heard of the Guardians of the Galaxy. After this weekend, all your friends are going to be talking about the new movie and how absolutely amazing it was.

I’m in the same boat. Only recently did I discover who the Guardians of the Galaxy were. Honestly, I’m disappointed I hadn’t heard about them before.

Leadership lessons from Guardians of the Galaxy

Who are the Guardians of the Galaxy?

That’s a good question as they’re an more obscure Marvel comics team. The Guardians are basically 5 space scoundrels who join forces to save the galaxy.

A quick rundown of the characters:

Peter Quill/Star-Lord – Peter’s an orphan who was taken by aliens at a young age. He became a scavenger and petty crook throughout the galaxy.

Gamora – She’s a green woman who’s the adopted daughter of Thanos

Drax – He’s a prisoner who’s on a mission to kill the murderer of his wife and son

Rocket Raccoon and Groot – These two are a unique pair. One’s a giant tree and the other is a genetically modified raccoon. Yeah…

There, you now know the basics of who the characters are. Now, I can get on to the leadership lessons from Guardians of the Galaxy.

Leadership Lessons From Guardians of the Galaxy

1. Clear communication is key: When Peter Quill meets Drax for the first time, he makes a motion with his finger across his throat. Most people see this as a sign that someone will die. Not Drax. He took it literally.

How many times do we encounter situations like Quill did with Drax? Our communication wasn’t clear and it was misunderstood. Knowing how to clearly communicate and getting the message across is crucial.

2. Rocket Raccoon –

I have a plan. I have a plan. (Share this quote on Twitter)

It’s always a good idea to have a plan. Without one, you won’t know what to do next.

3. Know what you need: During the escape plan Rocket Raccoon had orchestrated, he clearly told the team what tools they would need to make their escape. While the plan didn’t go as plan, Rocket Raccoon at least knew what he needed.

As you’re creating plans for your business, make sure you have a clear sense of what is needed for the job at hand. When you’ve got the right pieces, everything seems to go smoother.

4. Peter Quill/Star-Lord – 

If we’re going to work together, I need to trust you. (Click here to Tweet)

5. Be willing to improvise: Throughout the movie the Guardians of the Galaxy had to improvise quite a bit. Whether it was the ever changing escape plan or the epic last battle where Star-Lord held his own personal dance-off, the nod towards improvisation was there.

Regardless of how well we plan out our day or week or year, there will be need for improvisation. Plans rarely go according to plan and we have to make quick decisions on the fly. Be ready for the need for improvisation.

6. Drax –

All the anger. All the rage. It was just a cover to the pain. (Share this on Twitter)

People are hurting within your organization. They’ll do irrational things because of their pain. Recognize this and be there to help them through.

7. What motivates you won’t be what motivates others: One of the highlights of the Guardians of the Galaxy had to be it’s soundtrack. It was filled with glorious 80’s music that was a lot of fun.

Peter Quill carried around a cassette player that contained an awesome mix tape his mother had given him prior to her death. After his imprisonment, a guard decided to keep it and listen to the tape. Quill was motivated to get his tape player back. The rest of his team, not so much.

You’ll have to realize your motivation for doing what you do isn’t the same as those on your team. They each have their own set of motivations. Try to play to this and reward them in a manner that fits their desires.

8. Peter Quill/Star-Lord

I need your help

I’ve found this to be a consistent theme in many movies. The hero/leader eventually has to admit that he needs help.

You’ll need to be willing to ask for help as well. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

9. Think outside the box: The Guardians of the Galaxy had to think outside of the box during an epic escape scene. They were in pods that were virtually indestructible but didn’t have weapons. Quill thought outside the box and came up with the perfect way to fight back.

You’ll have many tools at your disposal. Not all of them will work the way you thought but that’s not a bad thing. You can use what you have at hand in ways they weren’t created for. Be willing to think outside the box.

10. Peter Quill/Star-Lord –

You said it yourself… We’re the Guardians of the Galaxy

You may be given a name that’s meant as an insult. This doesn’t mean you can’t claim the name for good.

11. Enjoy the ride: In a very fun scene, the ship the Guardians of the Galaxy are on is out of control. In the backseat, you see Drax laughing. He was enjoying the ride.

There will be rough and scary times in your leadership journey. Just because there’s fear doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the ride. Embrace what’s at hand.

12. Gamora –

We’ll follow your lead Star-Lord

When you’ve shown you’re leadership material, people will begin to follow you and become loyal to you. Take the steps that will make others see you as a leader.

13. There’s power in alignment: The fleet of the planet the Guardians of the Galaxy were trying to protect had these awesome spaceships. Once aligned properly, they could join together and form a protective net that wouldn’t let anything through. With enough of these spaceships, they’re able to create an impregnable barrier.

When you’re able to get your team into alignment, there’s power there. The numbers in your team may be small or they may be large, but if you’re able to get them to focus on one specific goal, you have a powerful force on your hands.  Take the time to help your team align.

Final Thoughts On The Guardians of the Galaxy

I wasn’t sure what to think going into the movie. The reviews were amazing. Even on Rotten Tomatoes, the reviews were through the roof for the movie. It was hard to not get my hopes up.

Thankfully, I wasn’t disappointed by Guardians of the Galaxy. It was thoroughly entertaining movie that left me wanting more.

Guardians of the Galaxy is one of this summer’s best movies. In my opinion, it even beats out Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier and The Amazing Spider-Man 2. That’s how good this virtually unknown team of heroes movie is.

On another good note, there’s already a sequel planned and I can’t wait for it to come out. If they keep up the quality, the Guardians of the Galaxy sequel will be amazing.

Question: Have you seen Guardians of the Galaxy? If so, what’d you think about it? If not, why haven’t you seen Guardians of the Galaxy? Let’s talk about it in the comment section below.

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