Leadership Lessons And Quotes From The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

A Reel Leadership Article

In Hollywood’s attempt to throw back to yesteryear, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. released.

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. was originally a TV series that ran from 1964-1968. The show was a silly mix of spy life and international intrigue.

You got more of the same from the movie.

quotes and leadership lessons from the man from U.N.C.L.E.

While not packed with quite as many leadership lessons as other recent movies, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. packed quite a punch in the leadership department.

Warning: Contains spoilers from The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

Leadership Lessons From The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

1. Sanders

Report to duty at 9 AM sharp… And with a better attitude.

Our attitude determines where we go. Those with poor attitudes typically have a harder time leading.

No one wants to follow someone who’s difficult and cranky all the time. Come ready to lead with a better attitude.

2. You never know who you may end up working with – In the beginning of the movie, Solo was pursued by a man called Illya. They had a shootout and tried to kill each other.

Shortly thereafter, Solo’s American handler and Illya’s Russian handler forced the 2 to work together.

With the prevalence of social media, we see a lot of young people quitting jobs the wrong way. They’ll rant against their employers or make disparaging remarks about former bosses.

These youth are forgetting one thing: You never know when you may be working for your former boss again.

People switch companies and industries. You may wind up working, or with, a former manager.

Be careful how you leave your current position. It could come back to bite you.

3. Do your homework – Once Solo and Illya realize they’re going to have to work together, they discuss what they know about each other. Both of these characters had studied the other man and knew quite a bit about them.

Doing your homework means knowing what you’re getting yourself into. Seek wisdom and guidance as you go into a new business arena. Study the organization you’re going to be working for. Get to know those you’ll work with.

The more you know about the business, the better off you’ll be.

4. Solo

You’re being tested.

Gaby, the woman Solo rescued earlier in the movie, was sent on a mission with Illya. Their cover? Fiances…

After checking into a hotel, the couple was followed by 2 men. These men were testing them. They were sent to see how Illya would respond.

Solo, seeing what was going to happen, went ahead and warned Illya. He didn’t want any of Solo’s advice but took it.

In the end, Illya passed the test.

Leaders are being tested all the time. Their team is sizing them up. People are watching their every move. Actions are being scrutinized.

As a leader, it’s always game time. You’re always being tested. Be prepared.

5. Sometimes you’ve got to fake it – Illya wasn’t an architect, but his cover required him to act like one. Do you know what he did? He got the information he needed and faked what he didn’t know.

You won’t have all the answers as you lead. Sometimes, you’ll have to fake it til you make it.

6. Gaby

Either you start to look like you know what you’re doing or I’m out of here.

Gaby needed someone to show her the way. She needed to know how things were done.

She wasn’t seeing this from Solo or Illya and said so. She made it clear: Either step up and lead or she was going to leave.

Your team is thinking the same thing. They want a leader. Give them one.

7. Know what you’re facing – Illya and Solo had to break into a vault to steal back a nuclear warhead that the villain had manufactured. It was of utmost importance.

And then they team ran into an issue. A locked vault door.

Solo, with confidence, walked up to the door and began to do his work. He knew what he was facing and was able to open the sealed vault.

While you won’t know exactly what you’ll face day in and day out, you do have a good idea of what is to come.

Study what other leaders have had to say about their leadership positions. This will prepare you for what you’re going to face.

8. Surprise others – As the movie wrapped up, things got tense. Solo was told to kill the Russian if needed. Illya was told to kill the American if needed.

It looked like this may happen only for Solo to surprise Illya.

This surprise wasn’t with a weapon. Solo surprised him with his father’s watch.

By doing so, Solo diffused a dangerous situation and made an ally for life.

You can surprise others too.

May I suggest:

Surprising a team member with their favorite candy

Offering someone the day off, unexpectedly

Giving a surprise bonus when the company does well

Good surprises breed loyalty. Spring it on someone today!

Question: Have you seen The Man From U.N.C.L.E.? If so, what leadership lessons did you take away? If not, which leadership lesson from this list was your favorite? Let’s talk about them in the comment section below.

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