12 Leadership Lessons And Quotes From Alien: Covenant

A Reel Leadership Article

Alien: Covenant is a sequel to the 2012 Prometheus and a prequel to the 1979 Ridley Scott Alien film series. Seeing the backstory of the Alien series brought to life was intriguing. I knew where the movie was headed but couldn’t quite wrap my mind around it.

Set in 2104, we see the spaceship USCSS Covenant headed for a distant planet when something goes terribly wrong. Covenant is transporting thousands of people from earth to a new plant. The ship is hit by a neutrino burst which kills some of the colonists and the captain of the ship.

Leadership lessons and quotes from Alien: Covenant

From there, carnage breaks loose. There’s non-stop action until the final scene. And it was well worth the viewing.

Not only that, I was able to discover these amazing leadership lessons from Alien: Covenant.


Caution: Alien: Covenant spoilers ahead

Leadership Lessons And Quotes From Alien: Covenant

1. Peter Weyland:

A little anemic without the orchestra.

The opening of Alien: Covenant is a slight prequel to the actual story. We see Peter Weyland (reprised by Guy Pearce) talking with his creation David 8 (Michael Fassbender of X-Men: Days Of Future Past). Weyland then asks David to play something on the Steinway piano in the room. David chose the song Wagner’s Entry of the Gods Into Valhalla.

While Entry of the Gods Into Valhalla sounded amazing on the piano, Weyland commented that there was something missing. The orchestra pieces normally present were not there. This made the song sound anemic to him.

Entry of the Gods was meant to be heard with all of the pieces playing. Each instrument, each sound had a specific purpose. How like a team this is!

Every member of your team has a specific function to fill. Whether their role is to take care of customers, sell a product, create a product, or another business function, every team member adds to the beauty of your organization.

Don’t neglect the team members who may seem unimportant. They add value and you need to recognize their value.

Listen to Wagner’s Entry of the Gods Into Valhalla below –

2. Take the time to recharge:

Covenant came to a point where the ship needed to refuel. Walter, an upgraded version of the android David 8, began to deploy the energy sails on Covenant. These sails would harness the power of the sun and convert it into energy for the ship.

The ship needed to recharge. If it didn’t, the ship would be useless. It would no longer have the power to get the crew and passengers to their intended destination.

Leaders are like the ship Covenant. Leaders need to recharge on a regular basis.

There’s a lot of “experts” telling you to constantly hustle. Or encourage you to get as little sleep as possible.

Hustling and getting things done is all well and good. But you still need to take care of yourself. You need to find time to recharge your mind, body, and soul. When you neglect these aspects of your life, your body and mind begin to fail.

Make sure you’re finding time to recharge. Get outside and breathe the fresh air, take a nap, or enjoy some music. Find ways to recharge.

3. Karine Oram:

They’re your crew now.

Karine uttered this line to Christopher Oram, her husband. When the Covenant was hit by the neutrino burst, the ship awoke the crew 7 years earlier than anticipated. There was a crew member who didn’t survive the reawakening. The captain, Jason Branson, of the ship was trapped in his stasis pod and burned to death. This left Christopher as the captain of the ship.

Christopher wasn’t expecting this sudden promotion. He’d understood he’d be under the command of another man. He didn’t think he’d be leading a crew.

One day you may find yourself in a similar position. The leader of your organization may suddenly step down, be removed from his role, or pass away. Leaders have to be ready to step up and into the role when the time calls.

Be prepared. Know you may be called up to a higher level of leadership at any time.

4. Honor past leaders:

With the passing of Captain Branson, the crew wanted to bid a farewell to their leader. Chris was hesitant and ordered the crew to do no such thing. They had work to do.

The crew bucked the new captain’s orders. They knew honoring their fallen comrade and honoring the leadership legacy he left behind was the right thing to do.

The Bible tells us God has put leaders in place for a reason. We’re called to honor those in leadership.

Don’t forget to look back and say thank you to those who have led you in the past.

5. Karine Oram:

Tread lightly.

Christopher’s wife was full of insight. She first realized the plight her husband was in with taking over a crew. Next, she saw her husband become frustrated with their disregard of his orders to not honor their fallen leader.

Karine knew the crew wanted to do the right thing. This meant disobeying the orders they’d been given. She also knew Chris was being heavy-handed in not allowing the crew time to grieve and process what had happened.

In her wisdom, Karine warned Chris to tread lightly. He was new to the role of captain and he had to be gentle as he was taking the reigns of leadership.

Like Chris, you have to tread lightly when you become a leader. You can’t rush into leadership and begin to change everything. You have to win the trust of your team.

Be careful as you start to lead. Know how to use a light hand in moving the parts of your organization.

6. Good leaders still make bad decisions:

Christopher was just getting his bearings when he had to make a decision. Does the crew of Covenant continue on to their original destination of Origae-6 or do they take a shortcut and check out a newly discovered planet which appears to be hospitable to human life?

He chose to check out the new planet, which was closer to their ship. He believed he was making the right choice based on the information he’d gathered quickly.

As you soon realize, Christopher made a bad decision. A really, really bad decision.

Leadership isn’t about being perfect. Leadership is about making the best choices with the information you have on hand.

Make the best decision you can. Modify course when needed. Then get the job done.

7. Small things matter:

Ledward was part of the crew on the Covenant. After landing on the new planet, he accidentally stepped on a small pod which spewed Neomorph spores. These spores infected him. Eventually, he died when an alien creature exploded from his back.

The Neomorph spores which infected Ledward were small. They were almost invisible to the human eye. Yet these small spores did devastating damage.

We often overlook the small things in our lives. We believe the small things don’t matter. The trust is small things matter.

Every decision you make, no matter how big or small, changes the direction of your life. Make enough small decisions and those small decisions will redirect your life in a way you didn’t see coming.

Be aware of the small choices you’re making. They have an impact on your life.

8. Daniels “Dany” Branson:

There’s so much here that doesn’t make sense.

Dany was the wife of Captain Jacob Branson, the man who died early in Alien: Covenant. She disagreed with Christopher’s decision to explore the new planet but went along with the leader’s decision.

Later, we see her talking to Christopher. She tells him something isn’t right. There’s not a lot of things making sense on the new planet.

She was right. There was more going on than anyone knew.

Leadership is a lot like this Alien: Covenant quote. Leadership will be confusing and not make sense a lot of times.

This lack of understanding doesn’t mean you stop leading. Instead, you begin to study great leaders, invest in personal and professional growth, and begin to grow your knowledge so you can make sense of the things that don’t make sense.

9. Daniels “Dany” Branson:

We need your faith.

We discover Christopher is a man of faith. He believes in a higher power. He also believes this is the reason he wasn’t given the captain’s position originally.

His crisis of leadership was that he felt unready to lead. He also felt his faith may be a detriment to leading well.

Dany saw his faith in a different light. She came to believe the crew needed his faith.

The business world has become jaded when it comes to faith. They believe business is straightforward and doesn’t require the belief in a higher power.

I disagree with those who feel Christians cannot lead well. In fact, I believe Christians should be some of the best leaders the world has ever seen.

After all, Christians have been given the greatest example of leadership: Jesus Christ.

Don’t be ashamed of your faith. Be proud of what you believe. Your faith will guide you.

10. David 8:

Idle hands are the devil’s work.

When we or our teams have nothing to do, we can get into trouble. We begin to find things to do, even if they don’t add value.

Be careful of how you schedule your time. Make sure there is value to everything you’re doing.

11. Bad leaders are unwilling to serve:

David 8 was a synthetic robot who was created to serve humanity. Over time, David 8 chose not to serve others but to serve himself.

He began dabbling with creating life. Or mutating life. He wanted to be a creator and not a servant.

In the end, he wound up taking the life of Elizabeth Shaw, the woman he claims to love. He also took the lives of the crew of the Covenant.

Bad leaders are unwilling to serve. They see themselves as better than those they lead.

Great leaders have a different mindset. Great leaders are willing to serve those they lead. They know there’s power in serving.

Go, lead by serving.

12. Leadership is temporary:

Alien: Covenant saw the transfer of leadership multiple times. We first see Captain Branson. He passes away as he burned to death in his stasis pod. We then see the leadership mantle pass onto Christopher Oram. He dies after David 8 tricks him to look at a face-hugger alien. Finally, the leadership mantle passes to Daniels “Dany” Branson.

There were 3 different leaders in Alien: Covenant. Leadership transferred quickly as leaders passed.

We can get caught up in the title of leader or owner. We think we’re going to hold the title forever. The truth is, leadership is temporary. Your leadership will pass to someone else or the organization will fade away.

Know your position as a leader isn’t forever. Plan for leadership succession.

Closing Thoughts On Alien: Covenant

Alien: Covenant was worth the price of admission. Seeing the backstory of the Alien movie saga further explored was a lot of fun.

There were plenty of thrills to be had. And the story was well-paced.

A couple of things to be cautious of. First, there’s a lot of language and gore in Alien: Covenant. The other thing to look out for is the brief 10-20 seconds of nudity in Alien: Covenant.

Other than the nudity, I thought Alien: Covenant was a great movie.

Question: Have you seen Alien: Covenant? If so, did you take away any leadership lessons from Alien: Covenant? If you haven’t seen the movie, what was your favorite leadership lessons from Alien: Covenant that I shared? Let me know in the comment section below.
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