Leadership Lessons And Quotes From The Hitman’s Bodyguard

A Reel Leadership Article

The Hitman’s Bodyguard contains Samuel L. Jackson (who played Nick Fury in the Avengers) and Ryan Reynolds (the man behind Deadpool). These two bring a fun air to the irreverent yet enjoyable new movie The Hitman’s Bodyguard.

Ryan Reynold’s character Michael Bryce is tasked with protecting the successful hitman Darius Kincaid (played by Samuel L. Jackson) after Kincaid agrees to testify against a genocidal maniac. The laughs ensue. The action commences. And you have a hilarious movie waiting for you.

Leadership Lessons And Quotes From The Hitman's Bodyguard

But to be honest, I wasn’t sure if I should bring my leadership notebook to The Hitman’s Bodyguard. The movie is rated R and knowing the two main actors, I was expecting crass, vulgar, and inappropriateness to be shown.

The Hitman’s Bodyguard does deliver with crass humor and lots of vulgarity (though I’m not sure there was more than the comic-book movie Logan). Thankfully, there was very little sexualness to the movie. The Hitman’s Bodyguard did deliver in one other area: Leadership lessons.


Caution: The Hitman’s Bodyguard spoilers ahead

Leadership Lessons And Quotes From The Hitman’s Bodyguard

1. Even well-laid plans can go awry:

Michael Bryce was a triple-A protection agent. He would transport high-value targets and deliver them safely to their destination.

One day a perfectly planned mission went awry. Kurosawa, a Japanese arms dealer, was assassinated in front of Bryce. His career as a protection agent was done regardless of the planning and care he’d put into the job.

Every leader fears they day their best-laid plans go awry. Whether that’s you losing a major client to losing a star employee to the business crashing to the ground, bad things happen. Even to great leaders.

But when your plans go awry, you don’t have to abandon everything like Bryce did. You can rebuild your reputation and your leadership position. Work towards regaining the trust and respect of your team when things go wrong.

2. Be thorough in your work:

After Bryce’s crushing failure, he began to work low-level jobs. He took on assignments protecting drug-addicted lawyers fearing for their lives.

Bryce chose to be just as thorough with his low-level clients as he was with his high-level clients. You see this as he cleans out a building before leading the lawyer outside. He checked every nook and cranny of the building.

Are you thorough in your work? Do you check what work is being done and what work needs to be done?

You need to be. You need to know the ins and the outs of your business. With this knowledge, you’ll be able to lead the business in the right direction.

3. Vladislav Dukhovich

There is nothing better than a good education.

Vladislav Dukhovich (portrayed by Gary Oldman) is the bloodthirsty dictator of Belarus. And while he’s the bad guy, even bad guys can deliver great leadership quotes.

I loved this quote from Duhkhovich. I’m a firm believer there is nothing better than a great education, even unorthodox education. As long as you’re learning, you’re growing.

Never stop your education. You can’t afford to.

4. Know your mission:

Renata Casoria (played by Tine Joustra) tells Interpol agent Amelia Roussel (Elodie Yung) there are only 27 hours to get Darius Kincaid to the court to testify against Dukhovich. That is the mission. This is what Interpol HAS to do.

If they fail, a crazy warlord will go free.

Casoria knew the mission. She clearly communicated the mission to those who needed to know.

Great leaders know their mission. They know what needs to be done and when. They go as far as making sure the job is completed.

Be the leader that knows the mission and communicates the mission to those who need to be in the know.

5. Overconfidence to a leader is deadly:

Kincaid communicated to Interpol the trouble they would have in protecting him. They could protect him better than anyone, so they replied with confidence.

That confidence turned deadly. Dukhovich’s men attack Kincaid’s transport and kill a majority of the men and women assigned to protect him.

Their overconfidence was their downfall.

You’re a leader. You know how to lead well. But you don’t know everything.

Don’t be so confident you can’t take the advice of those who are wiser than you. When you put your pride before you, you will fall.

6. Darius Kincaid:

You need help.

Once the motorcade was attacked, Casoria and Kincaid were stuck together in an overturned van. Everyone around them was dead.

Kincaid knew the truth. Casoria would need help. Would she accept his help?

That’s the thing. Leaders can be stuck in the idea of Lone Ranger leadership. They can easily believe they can handle any situation life throws at them without the help of others.

The truth is: Leaders need help. They need to be willing to ask for and receive help.

Without help, you’re going to flounder.

7. Renata Casoria:

Shut up for two seconds.

Kincaid was a talker. It’s how he got out of a lot of trouble. Casoria wasn’t having his constant talking. She needed peace and quiet, even for two seconds.

Great leaders know they can’t be the one to always present the plan. They can’t be front and center, running their mouths.

Great leaders are able and willing to shut up so others can voice their concerns.

Be willing to shut up. Let others speak. And then consider what they had to say.

8. Renata Casoria:

You’re terrible at almost everything. But you are great at keeping people alive.

Casoria said this to Michael Bryce. She spoke the truth. He wasn’t kind or sweet but he knew how to protect people.

She saw his skill. She appreciated his skill. And she let him know.

Great leaders know what they’re good at. They work hard at their strengths, constantly working to improve.

Work at becoming better at what only you can do. Then let the world see it.

9. Great leaders are observant:

Bryce and Kincaid were in a safe house. While there, he observed what the safe house did and did not have.

He noticed there was no adjacent roof. There were 2 stairwells. And he noticed other insignificant but important features of the safe house.

His observations allowed him and Kincaid to make an escape when the bad guys came for them.

Do you observe what’s going on in your business? Or maybe you need to observe what’s happening in your industry.

Keep your eyes open. See the changes taking place. Begin to act on what you see.

10. Think ahead:

As Bryce and Kincaid were escaping the safe house, Kincaid chose to shoot the assassins sent to kill him. His shots alerted Interpol to what was happening within the safe house.

Bryce scolded Kincaid. He told him he should have thought ahead. What would happen if you fired a gun? Noise. The noise would be heard and action would be taken.

As a leader, you have to think ahead. You have to think through the rippling effects of your actions. How will they impact you, your team, and the future of your organization?

Always be thinking two to three steps ahead.

11. Michael Bryce:

See, boring is better.

Bryce displayed the idea of thinking ahead by showing Kincaid how to take out a threat in a way that wouldn’t bring attention to them. He knocked one of the assassins out with his bare fists.

This allowed him to neutralize the threat without alerting anyone else to what was happening at the time.

His methods were boring to Kincaid. Yet his methods were more effective in completing the mission.

You’re going to be tempted to take the fancy road. You may be tempted to build a beautiful building when the building you’re in will suffice. Maybe you’ll believe you need the new Tesla electric vehicle to impress other business leaders. Or you might feel your house is inadequate and you need a new home with 10,000 square feet.

Each of these ideas brings about new challenges. You’ll need to raise more money. Or you’ll need to hire a maid to take care of the house. Or you’ll live a life you never wanted to live.

Sometimes, boring is better.

12. Be willing to laugh:

Bryce and Kincaid thought they had escaped. They’d stolen a vehicle which should have gone undetected. But the assassins tracked them down.

A shootout ensued. Their vehicle was destroyed. Then the weapons in their trunk began to explode. Finally, the assassin’s vehicle exploded (which could have been a way for them to get away).

After all of this, Kincaid laughs. Even with all of the trouble they faced, he found a way to laugh.

They say laughter is the best medicine. It will calm you and bring you joy. Who can be angry when they laugh?

Find ways to laugh. Even in the struggles you’ll face. Laughter will lighten your mood and help you to lead better.

13. Michael Bryce:

Why is everything about love with you?

Darius Kincaid:

Without love, what is there?

This was a great exchange between Bryce and Kincaid. Kincaid, the “bad” hitman, knew there was more to life than work. There was love.

Love causes us to do things we’d never do. We work longer hours. We challenge ourselves. And we forgo our pleasures to please the ones we love.

Don’t forget about your loved ones as you lead. They need you. Without their love, what is there?

14. Be charming:

In a hilarious scene, Bryce and Kincaid are picked up by a bus full of nuns. Kincaid forms a bond with the nuns and they rally around him.

They sing. They laugh. And they have a good time.

Bryce is bewildered by this. How could this killer be loved by the faithful nuns? The reason was Kincaid’s charmingness.

He knew how to talk and interact with people different than him. He showed interest in their lives.

You have to be charming in your leadership. When you’re charming, you’re able to influence others much easier.

15. We can believe untruths:

The reason Casoria and Bryce were no longer a couple was due to the fact Bryce believed Casoria had tipped off Interpol to his client. This led to the death of Kurosawa.

For years, Bryce believed this. He then discovers the truth. Casoria was innocent. She hadn’t tipped anyone off. Kincaid had killed Kurosawa.

The lie Bryce believed ripped apart a relationship he had. The lies you believe will do the same thing.

16. Success can come from luck:

How did Kincaid know Kurosawa would be at the airport? He didn’t. He got lucky and noticed Kurosawa while he was there.

There was no tip-off. There was no preparation. All there was was lucky timing.

Don’t be afraid of luck. Luck sometimes comes into your life and gives you just what you need.

This doesn’t mean you don’t work your tail off. You still do. But know luck plays a part in success as well.

17. Darius Kincaid:

Life happens.

Another great leadership quote from The Hitman’s Bodyguard comes from Kincaid here. He knows life isn’t always planned out. I already mentioned earlier that the best-laid plans can go awry. They can also come together.

This is the way life goes.

Know life happens. Whether you want it to or not. Life goes and life happens.

There’s nothing you can do to change this fact.

18. Bad leaders desire no limits on their power:

Dukhovich believed he had earned unlimited power. There should be no restraints on what he could or could not do in his country.

He was willing to wipe out hundreds, if not thousands, of his own citizens to get his own way. His power knew no bounds.

Yet Interpol wanted to reign him in. For good reason. His unrestrained power was deadly.

Bad leaders don’t want to be beholden to rules and regulations. They believe they know best and they will do what they want.

This leads to trouble. Moral failure, business failure, personal failure. All of these come from unrestrained power.

19. Michael Bryce:

I did my job. Go do yours.

Bryce protected Kincaid in the courtroom after a man took a shot at him. Bryce dove in front of Kincaid and took the bullet. Now, Bryce wanted Kincaid to do HIS job.

Kincaid’s job was to kill people. And that’s what he was ready to do. He chased Dukhovich down and killed him.

Leaders do their jobs. They take care of their people. They run the organization. And they make sure things are going smoothly.

When you’ve done your job, you can begin to ask others to do theirs.

Final Thoughts On The Bodyguard’s Hitman

The Bodyguard’s Hitman was a hilarious movie. Pam and I laughed through quite a bit of the film, along with the rest of the audience. Everyone seemed to enjoy the movie as much as we did.

One thing that you will have to watch out for. The Bodyguard’s Hitman is littered with language. Lots of F-bombs and GDs are dropped throughout.

If you can get past the language issue, you’ll have yourself a good time and discover leadership lessons in The Bodyguard’s Hitman.

Question: Have you seen The Hitman’s Bodyguard? If you have, what were some of the leadership lessons from The Hitman’s Bodyguard you took away? If not, what was your favorite leadership lessons from The Hitman’s Bodyguard that I shared? Let me know in the comment section below.

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