14 Leadership Lessons And Quotes From Mad Max: Fury Road

A Reel Leadership Article

No one really knows what Mad Max: Fury road is. Is it a sequel? Is it a prequel? Or is it a revisiting of the Mad Max tale?

I’m not sure and we haven’t gotten a good answer on this Mad Max question.

Leadership lessons and quotes from Mad Max: Fury Road

One thing I can tell you is that Mad Max: Fury Road is a darn good movie. Much better than I expected.

Having never watched the previous movies in the Mad Max series, I wasn’t sure what the movie was going to be other than a post-apocalyptic dystopia adventure ride.

And that it delivered upon.

From the get-go, Mad Max was action packed. And leadership-lesson packed.

Warning: There are Mad Max: Fury Road movie spoilers ahead.

Leadership Lessons From Mad Max: Fury Road

1. We change: Max Rockatansky was a cop before everything happened in this dystopian universe. He swore to uphold the law.

But things change. Max becomes a nomad and lives for himself.

He no longer serves and protects. Well, except for himself.

Max changed. Was it for good or bad? That’s up for debate.

The thing to remember here is that we’ll change as we take our leadership journey. Some will change for the better, others will change for the worst.

My hope for you is that you’ll make changes that better you and your organization.

2. Give people a proper send-off: Immortan Joe was the main protagonist in Mad Max: Fury Road. He was an unlikable man but he did do one thing right.

When his men were going on a critical mission, he sent them off properly.

He honored their journey. He honored the men and women. He let people know who the heroes were.

Members of your team may leave on a new journey. One that requires them to depart from the organization.

Don’t hold it against them. Rather, honor the work they’ve done and the lives they’ve changed.

Be an encourager of people as they venture out.

3. Nux:

If I’m going to die, I’m going to die historic on a Fury Road

When we first meet Nux, he’s in the service of Immortan Joe. And he wants to make him proud.

So, when he’s faced with the prospect of death, he wants to make sure his life meant something. He wants to go out with a bang.

This got me thinking about how we live our lives and what we want our lives to be remembered for.

We get a choice in this.

We can live ho-hum lives or we can live lives that impacts the world.

Do you want to go out historic?

4. The scarcity mindset creates conflict: In the world of Mad Max, resources are scarce. Whether it’s vehicles or food or drink, you had a hard time getting what you needed.

We see a scene where Immortan Joe uses his power to restrict the flow of water to his people. He releases a little and the people clamor to fill their buckets.

When the water stops flowing, the people begin to fight each other. It was messy.

My heart sank when I realized how often we, as leaders, restrict access to resources to our teams.

You may restrict training or funding or pay. It may go deeper to praise and encouragement.

Whatever you withhold and create scarcity for, that scarcity creates conflict.

Be someone who tries to have enough resources to go around.

5. Miss Giddy:

We are not things! We are not things!

The citizens of the citadel are marginalized. Worse, there are women who were held captive and made to bear children for Immortan Joe.

We stumble upon a scene where Joe goes into the holding room for these women and find it all but empty except for Miss Giddy.

There’s writing on the floors and the walls. We hear Miss Giddy speak up and tell Immortan Joe that “We are not things. We are not things!”

She realizes people are more than objects to be used.

Sadly, there are leaders who are much like Immortan Joe. They believe people are objects. They believe people are a dollar sign.

What they forget is that people are not things. People are not object. People are not dollar signs.

6. You may have to enter dangerous environments: As Imperator Furiosa was fleeing the citadel with Immortan Joe’s concubines, she realizes Joe has sent out a team to stop her.

Up ahead, there’s a dust storm raging on. It’s dangerous. It’s violent. And it’s where she needs to go.

By entering the dust storm Imperator Furiosa sees an opportunity to escape the pursuing horde. For the most part it works.

Seeing this scene made me think of church leaders.

Those in the pews often hear how dangerous the secular world is. We can’t be too careful out there, we’re told.

However, there’s a sick and dying world out there waiting to hear good news and have someone come alongside them.

The church needs to go to the dangerous place. Not to escape but to help those who need it.

7. Max Rockatansky:

You can get in

Imperator Furiosa:

Not without them

Max takes over Imperator Furiosa’s War Rig and kicks everyone off of the vehicle. Eventually, he relents and tells Imperator Furiosa she can come aboard.

Being a great leader, she tells Max that she won’t come along without the women she’s trying to protect.

There will come a time when you may have the opportunity to save yourself and leave your team behind. This is a mistake.

Great leaders know that leading isn’t about oneself. It’s about the team.

8. Know when it’s time to run: As Imperator Furiosa is trying to get her girls free, they face a situation that requires them to run.

She tells the women to kick it into gear and RUN!

We may feel it’s more noble to stand our ground and fight every battle.

The wise leader knows that we can’t win every fight. We may have to tuck tail and run.

Not out of cowardice but out of wisdom. Be willing to run when it’s the right time.

9. The Bullet Farmer: 

All this for a family squabble

The movie’s plot revolved around the trouble’s within Imortan Joe’s family. He didn’t do a good job of leading his family.

This failure to lead caused them to run and him to chase.

Unfortunately, he chased them in the wrong way and caused a lot of destruction.

When we fail to have our houses in order, we invite craziness into our lives.

10. We may lose people: Mad Max and Imperator Furiosa did their best leading the women away from the citadel and trying to protect them from Crazy Joe. Yet they failed to protect them all.

During a action-packed chase scene, Impertan Joe’s favorite girl falls from the War Rig and is run over by one of the pursuing vehicles. She was done…

Where we lead, we may not be able to bring everyone.

This may be because the person chose to leave or something may happen along the way and you have to part ways.

It’s always tough losing people. Know it will happen though.

11. Imperator Furiosa:

What happens if you’re not back by the time the engines are cooled?

Max Rockatansky:

Get moving

Unfortunately for Max and Furiosa, the War Rig had issues. The vehicle’s engine would overheat and need to stop to cool down.

Max took the initiative and went back to hold off the approaching horde of enemies.

In a touching scene, he tells Imperator Furiosa to leave him behind if he’s not back by the time they’re ready to begin moving. He knew getting people to safety was more important than getting himself safe.

These two Mad Max quotes reinforced the notion that leaders aren’t the important ones. It’s the people the leaders lead who are truly important.

Take care of those you’re leading. It’s your responsibility.

12. People are looking for hope: The wives of Impertan Joe left because Imperator Furiosa gave them hope of a better land. One that was green and full of life.

They left knowing they couldn’t go back to the citadel. They left because of hope.

Are you giving those who are serving in your organization hope?

13. We may not like our destination when we arrive: When Mad Max and his gang find a beacon Imperator Furiosa recognizes, they believe they’re close to their destination.

When they begin to talk to the women who are in the area, they realize their destination wasn’t what they were expecting.

Have you found this to be true? You had cast a vision for the organization and you thought things were going to be sunshine and roses when the vision was realized.

After the vision was actualized, you discovered the destination wasn’t what you had expected.

That’s okay. We have to guide our team somewhere. And we have to do it in the best way we know.

Sometimes it’s not perfect. This means we have to redirect and cast a new vision with hope that it’s going to be a better destination.

14. Imperator Furiosa:

I need you to drive. I’m getting out of the way

Towards the end of the movie, Furiosa is injured while drive the War Rig. She’s bleeding and doesn’t know how much longer she has to live.

So, she passes the baton and gives Nux the responsibility of driving the War Rig.

There are leaders who like to hold onto the reigns. That want to hold onto the power for as long as possible.

This isn’t the attitude of a great leader. Great leaders know their position of leadership is only temporary. Someone will come along and take their place.

Be ready and willing to get out of the way when that time comes. Not only will you leave with dignity, the organization will be better for it.

Mad Max: Fury Road Review/Thoughts

Mad Max: Fury Road really surprised me. Going into a movie with an R rating, you never know what to expect.

Honestly, I knew there was the possibility there may be things I shouldn’t see in the movie.

Like I said, Fury Road really surprised me.

For an R rated movie, there was very little foul language. There was also no truly objectionable content.

The worst had to be the violence but I’m okay with seeing violence. After all, the Bible is full of violent stories.

Mad Max: Fury Road came out of the gate fast paced and never let off the accelerator. I think they might have picked up the pace as the movie went on.

The action scenes were intense. From the choreographed fight scenes and cars blowing up to the pounding drums and guitar rifts being belted out by the bandits chasing Max and Imperator Furiosa, there were few dull spots in the movie.

If you’re looking for something to hold your attention and melt your mind, this is the movie for you.

Question: What leadership lessons have you learned from the Mad Max movies? It doesn’t have to be Fury Road, it could be any in the series. Share your lessons in the comment section below.

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