15 Leadership Lessons From Fury With Brad Pitt

A Reel Leadership Article

The previews for Fury looked amazing. A World War 2 war movie about the Sherman tank named Fury and her crew, Fury looked like it could compete with Saving Private Ryan.

From the reactions of the Celebration Cinema staff and the chit-chat of movie goers as they left, Fury was the best movie since Saving Private Ryan. I can’t say as I don’t know if I ever watched Saving Private Ryan.

What I can say is that Fury is a gripping and gritty movie about war-time.

Leadership lessons from Fury movie with Brad Pitt

The cast was superb. Stars such as Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeou, and Logan Lerman (he was Percy Jackson in Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief) brought the thrilling action to life.

The special effects were more than enough to bring the drama and pain of war to life on the big screen. While I know no movie will ever be able to capture the true ugliness of war, Fury did a good job of helping us see it.

Not only that, Fury was loaded with leadership lessons. Whether the leaders were providing great leadership or bad leadership, we can find leadership lessons and leadership quotes in Fury.

1. Quantity does not guarantee a win: Towards the end of World War 2, Hitler was mobilizing every man, woman, and child to fight in the war. He didn’t care whether you were old or young, healthy or sick, if you were able to move, you fought. There was a mindset that numbers can guarantee a win.

As we all know, Hitler lost the war and numbers didn’t win.

Number are good, don’t get me wrong, but numbers shouldn’t be our focus. Using your strengths and using the right people in the right positions is what will help you win.

2. Grady Travis –

Stop talking about yesterday’s fight. Think about today’s.

3. Loss strains even the best teams: The men in Fury were a strong team. They’d survived the war together longer than any other tank.

And yet at the start of the movie, we see that Fury lost one of her men. The team was feeling the pain of the loss of one of their partners. They’d suffered a major loss.

Lots of bickering and fighting happened after the death. They didn’t know how to respond and deal with it so they released their anger on each other.

Be aware when your team faces pain. Whether they’ve lost a family major, a teammate, or some other valued person in their life, loss can cause strain in relationships.

4. Unknown –

I know who you are. I know what you’re doing

5. Experience comes with the job: Only 8 weeks into his military career, Norman Ellison is thrust into the world of Fury and her men. He has no clue what he’s doing and he’s been tasked with a job he hasn’t been trained for.

Ellison had to learn on the job and quickly. Mistakes would cost people their lives and he had to learn how to stop that.

We may feel we don’t have enough experience to lead. You might not but you can learn what you need to learn about leadership while you’re leading. Be open to learning on the job.

6. Trini Garcia –

This ain’t pretty. This is what we do.

7. Doing your job can hurt: Don Collier, the commander of Fury, made Ellison do a difficult task. He made him shoot a German soldier. This was ugly and gritty and frustrating to me but it also illustrated a leadership lesson.

Ellison was tore up about the command to kill the German officer. He didn’t want to do it but was forced to by the job.

The killing hurt him but it was part of the job.

While you most likely won’t be called on to take the life of another, you will face many leadership decisions that will hurt. The choice to fire a new father, the choice to shutter a business, or some other difficult business choice hurts.

8. Superior technology doesn’t guarantee success: The Germans were pretty confident. Not only did they force every man, woman, and child to fight in the war, they also had superior technology in the tank department.

The Allied Forces has older Sherman tanks. The Germans had new technology with Tiger tanks. It was like David vs. Goliath.

However, the Germans still lost even with superior technology. The Allied Forces knew how to use what they had and were able to defeat the Germans.

Think about what you have at your disposal. Does it seem outdated and ill-fitted for the task at hand? Try to look at what you have in a new light. Your outdated technology may be able to get you through your next leadership challenge.

9. Strong teams may struggle to welcome new people: Fury’s team had been together a long time. They also suffered a major loss with the death of one of their crew members. Having a new member come into the fold was a tough transition for these men.

They gave Ellison a hard time. They tried to make him feel like an outsider. They didn’t want to welcome him to the team.

Whenever there’s a transition in your organization, be on the lookout for the odd man out and the one struggling to get into the team. Just because a team is/was strong doesn’t mean they don’t need new members.

10. Figure out what you’re walking into: Collier was given instructions on the next target to attack. He saw the instructions and wanted to get a better grasp of what Fury may be rolling into.

You’ll want to get the best idea of what you’re heading into as well. Don’t go in blindly but see if you can get a clearer picture of what’s up ahead.

11. Don Collier – 

It’s not what I want to do but it’s what I’m going to do.

12. Find your name: Ellison came off as weak through a lot of the movie. He was frail and nervous. He didn’t know what to do.

Yet as the movie progresses, you see a change take place in Ellison. And then it happens. The crew of Fury gives Ellison a new name. His war name became Machine.

Do you know your name? Do you know the power behind it? Discover the meaning of your name and embrace it.

13. Calculated risks are worth it: During a massive firefight with the Germans, the members of Fury run out of ammunition. It’s a scary position to be in.

And then the crew realize that there’s ammunition sitting on the top of their tank. Yet it will take a calculated risk to lift the tank hatches and go for the ammo.

They take the risk and are able to get the ammunition. It pays off as they’re able to hold off the Germans for a little while longer.

Are there risks you’re holding back on because they’re scary? You might risk more than you bargained for going for them but calculated risks pay off. Be willing to assess whether or not you can take it and then go for it.

14. Ellison

I’m scared.


I’m scared too

15. You can find spiritual truths in dirty situations: The men of Fury were rough and tumble men. They’d been to hell and back and you could tell.

Their language was coarse. Their actions were despicable (at times). They could be rude and cruse.

Still, Fury also managed to throw in spiritual elements into the movie.

Shia LaBeouf’s character Boyd Swan quoted scripture and talked about God. Ellison mentioned that he believed in God. Collier recalled the book, chapter, and verse of a Bible verse.

These men were rough. This didn’t mean they didn’t have a spiritual side to them.

You can find spiritual truths all around you. You just have to keep your eyes open.

Question: What leadership lesson have you learned from a war movie? Please share it in the comment section.

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