21 Leadership Lessons And Quotes From Transformers: Age Of Extinction

A Reel Leadership Article

The fourth entry in the Transformers live action movies released Friday. I was stoked for this summer movie release.

There’s a lot to love about Transformers on the big screen. Robots, TRANSFORMING robots(!), Mark Wahlberg (Or as I still refer to him, Marky Mark of the Funky Bunch), and explosions.

For a guy, Transformers has it all. And, lest you think I forgot, I was able to distill leadership lessons from Transformers: Age Of Extinction.

Leadership lessons from Transformers: Age of Extinction

I’ll try to keep the spoilers to a minimum, but with a movie this epic, it’s kind of hard. Now, lets dig into what leadership lessons you can learn from Transformers: Age Of Extinction.

1. You don’t know what you have: The movie starts off with Cade Yeager, played by Mark Wahlberg, looking for junk he could experiment with. This brought him to a run-down movie theater that was selling their assets.

Within the building, Cade found an old semi truck.

Who was this semi truck? None other than Optimus Prime.

Within your organizations that are superstars you don’t know about. They may be tired or not properly utilized. Look for the hidden assets and build a rock star team.

2. Cade Yeager

Rule? Don’t make it sound so harsh. It’s wisdom.

Communicating wisdom can be construed as something bad if we’re not careful with how we craft our message. Don’t get caught in this leadership trap!

3. Great leaders create loyalty: Optimus Prime was a true leader to the Autobots. Even though he was gone for an extended period of time, his followers quickly began to follow him once he returned.

As young leaders, you should be striving to create a following like Optimus Prime. Through honesty, empathy, and love, you can create a loyal following.

4. Cade Yeager –

What about no?

A leader’s job isn’t about saying yes to everything that comes their way. There will be times you have to be firm and say no. Not every member of your team will like this but saying no is part of leadership.

5. Businesses and partnerships dissolve: Their were a couple of businesses and partnerships you see come and go in the newest Transformers movie.

This is a great reminder that no business will last forever. Neither will partnerships. Whether the business closing is due to a business decision or a death, you’ve got to realize this and move on.

6. Shane Dyson –

Focus! Stop talking!

I think this says it all.

7. Never underestimate others: James Savoy, one of the bad guys, reports back to Harold Attinger, played by Kelsey Grammer, and tells him: “You said he was a nobody!” in reference to Cade Yeager. This was after Cade and his family were able to escape with Optimus Prime.

These two villains greatly underestimated what one man could do.

How often do we do this in leadership? We see someone but don’t give them the credit they deserve? One day, they quit and go on to create something amazing.

It’s all because we underestimate what others have within them. Commit today to look for that special something every person has to offer.

8. Optimus Prime – 

The rules have changed.

9. Give props to the previous generation of leadership: Transformers: Age Of Extinction gave a great throwback to the G1 Transformers with the way Optimus Prime looked when Cade first found him.

Optimus Prime was in the classic semi design. And this received quite a pop from the audience.

How often do you go and give props to the leaders who came before you? Maybe it’s time to show your gratitude to those who have lead you or come before you.

10. Autobot Hound –

I’m all about bad ideas.

We can’t be scared about bad ideas. Why? Because bad ideas aren’t really bad. They’re bad ideas because they haven’t been fleshed out yet. Give time to develop a couple of ideas you considered to be bad. See how you can rework them to something workable.

11. You can’t control everything: Cade struggled as a single father to control his daughter. He was fighting to make her do what he wanted.

Attinger struggled with controlling Galvatron. He couldn’t get Galvatron to take the proper form or take directions from those manning the controls.

Be okay with your team taking action and doing their own thing. As long as it aligns with the goals of the team and they’re seeing results, it might be a good thing.

12. Cade Yeager – 

I’m doing things out of my league

You ever felt that way before? I’m sure you have. Every leader will have to do something that’s out of his league. The good news? You’ll learn and grow from the experience.

13. You have to take action even if you don’t know what’s ahead: Many times throughout Transformers, the characters had to take actions even when they didn’t know what lay ahead. They took action anyways.

Your path won’t always be clear. There will be times when you won’t know what to do next.

To take the next step, you have to take action. Even if it’s wrong. Get going and then correct the course.

14. Cade Yeager – 

Bumblebee, you’re the best!

Be willing to tell others what you think of them. Encourage and lift up your team. You might be the only one speaking into their lives.


15. What you think you control, can actually control you: The creation of Galvatron was actually Megatron manipulating those building the new Transformers. He had a plan and he let others think they were in control. Rather, he was pulling the strings all along.

We can get caught chasing after things that really don’t matter or we can put people in power who then try to wrestle the control away from others. Be aware that there are things out there that will try to control you.


16. Optimus Prime to the Dinobots – 

Stand with us!

Don’t be afraid to give a rally cry and call others to your cause.

17. Our biggest mistake can become our greatest treasure: Cade and his wife had their daughter, Tessa, at a young age. People thought this was a mistake.

However, Cade sees his daughter as his greatest treasure. His pride and joy.

We will make mistakes as we lead. That’s for sure. However, those mistakes may also become our greatest treasure, if we let the mistakes teach us.

18. Autobot Crosshair-

You just want to die for the guy.

I don’t remember which Autobot said this quote but it was one that really stuck with me.

That’s leadership. When you’re able to effectively move others to put their life on the line, you’ve definitely been seen as a leader.

19. There’s treasure in the junk: This message has come across in many different forms during the movie. Whether it was underestimating Cade to Optimus Prime being a beaten up old semi truck.

Not only should we not underestimate others, we’ve got to be willing to see the treasure around us.

20. Optimus Prime – 

Honor, to the end.

21. Push through the hate: The Autobots were hated by the villains of the film. They were also turned in by those that once loved them. Yet they came to the rescue of humanity once again.

Michael Bay has also seen much hate for his movies. People say the movies lack a great story or go on too long or have too many explosions (Really? Can a movie have too many explosions?). But he keeps making movies and people keep seeing them.

You will have haters. You will have people disagree with you. You will have those who want you to go away.

If you’re doing what you love and you’re making a difference, keep pushing forward. Ignore the hate and keep leading.

There were a lot of leadership lessons in Transformers 4. There was also a lot to like in the movie itself.

The giant robots, Transformers, and cast made this Transformers outing a fun movie night. If you’re looking for explosions and giant robots that transform, I think Michael Bay has just the movie for you.

Question: Have you seen the new Transformers movie? If so, what did you think of it? If not, do you plan on seeing the movie soon? Let’s talk about some movies in the comment section below!

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