14 Leadership Lessons And Quotes From Independence Day: Resurgence

A Reel Leadership Article

Much like Finding Dory, Independence Day: Resurgence was a long-awaited sequel. One many people thought would be released a few years after the original.

Now, we’re 20 years past the release of Independence Day. And we finally have the sequel we’d expected.


Many of the original cast members have returned for Independence Day: Resurgence. Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Brent Spiner, and Judd Hirsch (notable for his role in Numbers) all returned.

The notable exception was the main star of Independence Day: Will Smith.

We’re given a passable reason on why Will Smith is not in Independence Day: Resurgence. His character, Captain Steve Hiller, had died.

Knowing that Will Smith would not be in this movie has turned away a lot of potential viewers. Smith, himself, even says he regrets not taking on the role once more.

However, even with Smith missing from the movie, I was excited to watch Independence Day: Resurgence. I knew it would be like Jurassic World and bring back memories from my youth.

You also know that I knew I would be able to grab leadership lessons from the movie. So, let’s get to them.

Warning: Independence Day: Resurgence spoilers ahead

Leadership Lessons And Quotes From Independence Day: Resurgence

1. Success isn’t final: I love the old Zig Ziglar quote on how failure isn’t final. We are not defined by our failures.

I believe the same holds true for our successes. We can’t let our success define us. They are not final.

We see this played out in Independence Day: Resurgence after Earth had defeated the aliens. We’d chased them away. They came back.

The world’s success wasn’t final. They had to fight again.

No matter how great your success, you have to keep moving forward. We can’t live in past success.

2. President Elizabeth Lanford:

Great speech, Bett.

Lanford’s showing appreciation for the hard work her speech writer had done. Bett had written a great speech. Lanford knew she had done the difficult job and she deserved the credit.

She stepped up and told her how much she appreciated what she had written.

Great leaders appreciate their teams. They also show their appreciation in a timely manner.

Leaders show their appreciation. Leaders say what they’re thankful for. Leaders say their thanks in a timely manner.

3. Charlie Miller:

There are worse things we could be doing

Charlie recognized something about the work he was doing. While the work wasn’t the best, there were worse things he could be doing.

Are you frustrated with what you’re doing? There are worse things you could be doing. Be thankful you’re not doing them.

4. Leaders push their limits: Jake Morrison, played by Liam Hemsworth, was on an outpost when a structure began to fall towards their base of command. He took action and used his ship to push the falling building back into position.

His ship wasn’t designed for this. His mission wasn’t to prevent the building from falling. And he wasn’t sure he could save everyone.

He had to push his limits to succeed and save the lives of those in the building. He did that.

We are placed into positions where we may not feel fully qualified. We may not believe we have the skills or tools necessary to succeed.

Still, we have to push those limits we have on ourselves. When we do, we discover we know more, are more, and can do more than we thought.

5. Commander Jiang:

You don’t get credit for cleaning up your mess

Sometimes, we want to be applauded for doing our work or cleaning up the messes we have made. We shouldn’t look for accolades in those areas.

6. Call in the experts: Dikembe Umbutu, a warlord who had studied the aliens from the previous attack, realized he didn’t know enough about them. He had to call in the experts.

He calls in David Levinson, played by Jeff Goldblum, and Catherine Marceaux to help him discover what was going on with the alien ship.

You will be faced with situations where you are not the expert. You might even feel inadequate in the task you’re faced with.

Don’t be afraid to call in the experts. Ask for help.

7. Dikembe Umbutu:

They were hunting us. We had to learn how to hunt them

Umbutu’s people were in danger. They had been attacked by the aliens.

They made a choice. Be hunted or hunt the enemy. They choose to learn how to hunt those preying on them.

When you’re in a pinch, you have to be willing to learn new tactics.

Get training. Study the leadership greats. Brush up on the skills you’re weak in.

8. Leaders take care of others: Dylan Hiller, played by Jessie T. Usher, is the son of Will Smith’s character Steve Hiller. After Steve’s passing, he had his mother left with him.

As the events of Independence Day: Resurgence began, Dylan knew he had to take care of his mother. So, he flew his ship to rescue her.

Great leaders take care of other people. They will go out of their way to make sure other’s needs are met before their own.

9. Leaders can make bad calls: President Elizabeth Lanford made the call to attack a new alien ship that had appeared.

After consulting with experts, weighing options, and thinking her plan of action over, she came to the conclusion the earth had to attack the ship.

The president’s call wasn’t the right one.

Have you ever made a bad call? You feel terrible afterward.

Know that you’re not alone. Every leader will make a bad call.

Recovering from the bad call is what will determine your legacy.

10. The challenges you face as a leader may grow bigger: When we see the new alien threat, we realize the ships the aliens arrived in are much bigger than they were in the original Independence Day.

Earth’s challenges became bigger and more menacing.

You may face the same challenge.

You conquer a challenge that seemed great. You rejoiced. Only to realize the next hurdle you have is even bigger.

Challenges don’t get smaller the more we lead. They get bigger.

11. Be willing to fall back: Dylan’s team of flyers had to fall back during the new alien invasion. They realized they couldn’t defeat what they were facing.

There are some leaders who will say falling back is the cowardly way. I say don’t listen to those guys.

Falling back can be a life saver. Doing so will give you time to breathe and reassess what is going on.

When the battle is too much, step back.

12. Jake Morrisson:

Pee your pants?

Jake asked David this after a heart-pounding flight. They were in danger and things were on pins and needles for a few moments.

It was scary and Jake was alluding to that.

Are you, as a leader, willing to admit something is scary? Your team will thank you for your honesty if you do.

13. Leaders can’t save everyone: As much as we want to, we can’t save everyone. We see this played out as Dylan flies in to rescue his mom.

There’s already a helicopter on the hospital’s roof. His mother is helping load a mother and child into the helicopter.

Then the roof crumbles and his mother falls to her death. The pilot couldn’t save her. Neither could Dylan.

Hopefully, you won’t be put into a life and death position like Dylan. Yet you will face situations where you won’t be able to save someone you’re leading.

This could come in the form of having to fire an employee, closing a business, or having someone leave.

14. Julius Levinson:

Have a little faith

Faith goes a long way in leading.

We have to have faith in others. We have to have faith in our abilities. We have to have faith that we are doing what is right.

Closing Thoughts On Independence Day: Resurgence

We waited a long time for a sequel to Independence Day. We finally have that sequel.

I found the movie fun. There was a lot of laughs and a lot of action.

However, the movie tred very familiar ground.

There were scenes that seemed to have been copied verbatim from the original Independence Day.

If you can get past those moments, you’ll enjoy yourself at the movies this week.

Question: Have you seen Independence Day: Resurgence? If so, what leadership lessons did you find in the movie? If not, share one of my leadership lessons from Independence Day: Resurgence that was impactful to you. Share them in the comment section below.
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