15 Leadership Lessons And Quotes From The Maze Runner

A Reel Leadership Article

Any movie goer this summer has had to have seen the previews for the latest book to movie The Maze Runner. The Maze Runner released on Friday and my wife and I made the trip to the Cinema Carousel to check out the movie.

Thankfully, unlike a lot of book to movie movies, The Maze Runner didn’t disappoint.

The Maze Runner also provided a wealth of opportunities to learn and reinforce valuable leadership lessons.

The Maze Runner teachers leadership lessons

If you’re unfamiliar with The Maze Runner, like I was, let me bring you up to speed.

Years ago, boys began to appear in an area they christened The Glade. The Glade was an area that was surrounded by large cement walls that formed a maze.

Throughout the years, a special team of boys ran the maze during the day. Day after day, they tried to find a way out of the maze. Year after year, they failed.

Then Thomas appeared in the metal box that brought new boys to the area. And then everything changed…

Leadership Lessons And Quotes From The Maze Runner

1. Be curious: When Thomas was brought to the Glades, he had lots of questions. He continuously asked question after question. While this frustrated the boys who had been in the Glades for quite some time, it allowed Thomas to make wiser decisions.

Are you a leader who’s willing to ask questions? Even dumb questions? If you are, you need to rethink your strategy and begin asking questions that will help you learn what’s going on around you.

2. Thomas

Well, at least I did something.

Thomas had to make a choice. The choice had consequences but he knew he had to do something.

When you get to a point, make a decision to do something instead of nothing.

3. Finding your way takes time: Thomas didn’t know what role he was going to play when he first appeared. He was dazed and confused.

He didn’t know who he was. He didn’t know what needed to be done. He didn’t know who he could trust.

However, as the movie progressed, Thomas learned more and began to find his way.

Young leaders are much like Thomas. They’re dazed and confused. They don’t know the ropes and they’re not sure how things work.

Know that finding your way takes time. You’ll make mistakes and you’ll make enemies. But don’t give up. Keep working your way through and you’ll discover your path.

4. Theresa

What if we were sent here for a purpose?

We’ll wonder this as we take the leadership journey. And the answer will always be “Yes, you’ve been sent here for a purpose.”

Find it. Live it. Lead it.

5. Test your limits: Shortly after Thomas’ arrival, he was challenged by Gally to test his strength in a fight that was similar to a sumo wrestling match. Gally attempted to push Thomas out of a circle while Thomas tried to take Gally out.

During this battle, Thomas tested his strength and wits. And, through this test, Thomas learned valuable insight into his life.

The thought of testing our limits can be scary. We have negative thoughts that begin to run through our minds.

What if I fail?

What if I get hurt?

What if I make a fool of myself?

These are all good questions but why not ask other, positive questions instead?

What will I gain from this test?

Who will I be able to help if I push myself?

Where will I go by doing this?

Test your limits and think of the positive results that will come of the test.

6. Gally

The most important thing is we all have each other. We’re in this together.


7. Traumatic events can remind us of who we are: During the sumo-like wrestling match, Thomas takes a massive blow to the head. You begin to think he’s done for only to have him jump up and begin to scream his name.

This traumatic event triggered something in Thomas that made him remember who he is.

While no one enjoys going through traumatic events, they can be a great reminder of who we are and where we came from. Bumps along the leadership journey do the same thing. It challenges us to remember who we are.

8. Our choices can hurt ourselves and others: Leadership is hard and there’s a lot things people hate about leadership. One of the worst has to be when we have to make a decision that hurts another person.

Alby, the leader of the boys in the Glade, had to make a difficult decision to send one of the boys into the maze at night. He had to banish Ben because Ben had gotten stung and became infected. Had Alby not made this choice, the boys in the Glade would have been harmed by Ben.

Whether it’s letting go of a staff member or saying goodbye to a loved one, our choices impact others. Most of the time people will not be hurt. Other times our choices are ones that will directly impact the lives of others.

Know when the difficult choice has to be made.


9. Thomas

You know we can’t stay here forever.

There’s an allure to the call of comfort. We want it and we find it pleasant. Yet we can’t stay where we’re at forever if we want to continue to lead.

You’ve got to move forward. You’ve got to take new steps. You’ve got to explore new frontiers.

10. Past experiences aren’t indicative of future experiences: As you know, over the years the boys had been trying to map the maze, no one ever survived a night in the maze. That is until Thomas survived.

His experience was a game changer. He showed others that the past doesn’t have to dictate the future.

What are you holding onto that’s keeping you back from moving forward? Learn to let go of the lessons you learned from a negative experience. Know the past doesn’t have to repeat itself.

11.. Minho

I don’t know if he’s brave or stupid but we need more of it.

Not everyone will appreciate the choices we make, especially when we challenge the social norm. However, you will find a band of brothers who will stick with you and desire more of what you have.

12. Newt

What matters is who we are now.

Yes, your past matters but it’s also the past for a reason. Pick yourself up from your past failures. Move on from the hurt. Realize you are who you are now. If you want to change it, you can.

13. Finish what you started: Newt had lots of great quotes in The Maze Runner. One that stuck in my mind was “Pick your *** up and finish what you started.”

How often do we need to remember this? We get frustrated. We face roadblocks. We get hurt or offended. And we want to quit.

Don’t. Don’t just quit. Pick yourself up and pull yourself together. Then get back to leading.

14. Thomas

I’m scared but I’d rather risk my life than spend it out here.

In a very short period of time, Thomas grew discontent with where he was. He knew he couldn’t stay there. So he made the choice to move even if it cost him his life.

Are you at a point where it’s decision time? Even if you’re scared, you can still make a choice to do something. Are you willing?

15. Leaders don’t always know what to do next: At the end of the movie, Thomas doesn’t know what to do next but he makes continues to move forward. He makes another decision and then another.

We may not know what to do next but we can always take the next step. Taking the next step will illuminate the next piece of the puzzle. Be willing to move forward.

Question: Have you seen The Maze Runner? What leadership lessons did you learn from The Maze Runner? Share them in the comment section below. I look forward to hearing from you!

If you enjoyed this Reel Leadership article, you may enjoy our collection of Reel Leadership articles eBook. You can get this eBook for free by signing up for updates by clicking here.
Follow Me

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