Leadership Lessons And Quotes From Kingsman: The Golden Circle

A Reel Leadership Article

In 2014, Matthew Vaughan directed the hilarious movie Kingsman: The Secret Service. Kingsman told the story of a young, unrefined street kid who had the promise to join a secret society. This young man was Gary “Eggsy” Unwin (Taron Egerton).

This weekend, Matthew Vaughan returned to direct the sequel to Kingsman, Kingsman: The Golden Circle.

leadership lessons and quotes from Kingsman: The Golden Circle

You soon see things are changing in the world of young Eggsy. He’s in a long-term relationship, he has friends, and then his fellow Kingsmen are murdered. This starts Eggsy on a journey to discover what happened, who did it, and extract revenge on those responsible.

Eggsy’s journey will not only have you rolling on the floor and enjoying the antics of Kingsman: The Golden Circle, but you’ll also find leadership lessons in Kingsman: The Golden Circle.


Caution: Kingsman: The Golden Circle spoilers below.

Leadership Lessons And Quotes From Kingsman: The Golden Circle

1. Timing is everything:

A rejected Kingsman candidate, Charlie (Edward Holcroft), launches an attack on Eggsy. He and his henchmen try to kidnap Eggsy but they fail. Eggsy escapes and takes control of his taxi.

All the while, Eggsy wants to launch a rocket attack on the henchmen pursuing him. His contacts at his command center told him to wait. He would be better off to launch the attack when there are no people in the area.

Eggsy relents and waits until the coast is clear. Then he launches the attack and wipes the villains off the face of the earth.

It is easy to want to rush into situations where there appears to be an opportunity or maybe it is the desire to take action because things seem desperate. Yet if you’re not careful, the timing of your actions may be wrong.

Know there is a right and a wrong time to take action. Assess the situation and take action accordingly.

2. Adapt to your situation:

The Kingsmen have a lot of fun tools at their disposal. After Eggsy blew up the henchmen, he had to avoid the police. To do this, he drove the taxi into the water. You then see the taxi become an underwater sub. The taxi adapted to the situation it was presented with.

Leadership requires you to enter into situations you may not know everything about. Yet you can learn to adapt to the situations you face.

Be ready and willing to adapt (but not compromise).

3. Merlin:

How important is this dinner?

Eggsy drives the sub to a secret, underwater chamber. He has a choice – wait out the police presence or find another way out. Merlin tells Eggsy there is a way out but he won’t like it.

The only other way to exit the chamber is by jumping into human waste and swimming through it. Thus, Merlin presents the question of how important the dinner is.

Amazingly, Eggsy chooses to take the plunge. That’s how important the dinner was.

You’re going to have to evaluate the importance of the situations you’re faced with. Choose wisely.

4. Your past training will play into future roles:

Harry Hart (Colin Firth) was a Kingsman with the codename Galahad. We see him shot in the head by Samuel L. Jackson’s character Valentine in the first Kingsman movie.

In The Golden Circle, we see Eggsy have a flashback to a time when Harry and Eggsy were at a dinner table. There, Harry was teaching Eggsy the proper way to conduct oneself during a formal dinner.

This training came into play when Eggsy was to meet his girlfriend’s, Princess Tilde (Hanna Alström), parents. Princess Tilde’s parents are the king and queen of Sweden and they wanted to have Eggsy over for a formal dinner.

Eggsy nailed the dinner because he had the proper training, though he didn’t know he would be using what he learned from a situation like this.

You’ve had multiple experiences that may seem disconnected from your current leadership position. You would be surprised how often those past experiences can help you lead better.

Examine each of your past experiences and learnings. How could you apply those to your current leadership?

5. Get help from people who are wiser than you:

During the dinner, Princess Tilde’s father tried to stump Eggsy. The king asked questions about the financial markets, art, and other sophisticated areas he thought Eggsy would be clueless about.

The king would have been right had Eggsy not had help. Eggsy knew he would be stumped so he’d set up a communication link with another Kingsman helper. This helper fed Eggsy the information as he needed it.

Great leaders know they don’t know everything. This is why great leaders surround themselves with people who are wiser and more experienced than they are.

They seek counsel for tough decisions. They ask for help when they are stumped. And they’re always willing to learn more.

Don’t be afraid to get help from others.

6. Learn to use new tools/technology:

You learn early in Kingsman: The Golden Circle that Charlie had a prosthetic arm. He lost the prosthetic arm in his fight with Eggsy. Due to the loss, Poppy Adams (Julianne Moore) gives Charlie a new and improved robotic arm.

Charlie’s new arm gives him more strength and power. We see the power Charlie now wields when he throws a bowling down the ally. Except the ball didn’t roll. The bowling ball went flying through the air and crashed through the wall of the alley.

As the movie progresses, Charlie learns to control the new arm. He harnesses the power of the new technology.

Technology and tools are rapidly improving. There’s always something new coming out. The last couple of years we have seen social media tools drastically improve and change the way people do business. Audiobooks have changed the way people read. Webcams and the internet have transformed the way people communicate.

Those leaders who learn how to use these tools and technology see rapid growth and great success. Study the new tools and technologies coming out and begin to implement them in your organization.

7. Merlin:

Pull yourself together. Remember your training.

Poppy and the Golden Circle discovered a way to kill all of the Kingsman agents. They obliterated the agents via long-range missiles.

After seeing the death and destruction, Eggsy was left mouth agape. He didn’t know what to do.

Merlin had to remind Eggsy he had the training to deal with unforeseen circumstances. His training would get him through this time.

You’ve had training. You’ve had experience. And you can get through the tough spots of leadership.

Don’t let your mind play tricks on you and tell you otherwise.

8. Clues are often hidden in plain sight:

Eggsy and Merlin discovered a bottle of Statesman Whiskey in a safe. The contents of the safe were supposed to contain answers of what to do in a Doomsday scenario.

There was a message yet the pair overlooked it at first glance. It wasn’t until they examined the bottle closer that they saw what they must do. They had to travel to Kentucky.

Leaders get so engrossed in the big pictures it can be hard to see the small details. The little things and clues that are in plain sight get overlooked.

Be careful of missing the small details and clues in front of your face. They may change the game for you.

9. You can survive extreme situations:

Eggsy was trained by Harvey in the first Kingsman movie. You were led to believe Harry was murdered by Valentine but you discover Harry survived.

The Statesman agents were given a special healing gel. This gel could stop the damage a headshot would cause.

Leaders face all sorts of extreme situations. From dealing with poor financial decisions to employee embezzlement to the death of a founder, leaders can become overwhelmed with these situations.

Know that you can survive the extreme situations that are thrown at you. You don’t have to lay down and give up. You can get back up when the going gets tough.

10. Great leaders work with people who are different from themselves:

Upon arriving at the Statesman headquarters, Eggsy and Merlin meet Tequila (Channing Tatum). Tequila is dressed in blue jeans and a jean jacket. The Kingsman agents are looking dapper in their tailored suits.

It appears these men couldn’t be any different.

The difference in appearance and dress didn’t stop the Statesman agents from working with the Kingsman agents. They were still able to work together despite their differences.

You’re going to have the opportunity to work with a vast array of people. Most of them will be different from you. Don’t let these differences stop you from working with them (unless the differences go against your personal convictions).

In fact, some of these differences may enhance your abilities to get things done. Embrace the differences and work together.

11. Merlin:

Harry, you forgot who you are.

The gel that was used to save Harry also took made Harry forget who he had become. He believed himself to be a lepidopterist. A lepidopterist is a person who studies butterflies.

This is what he wanted to become when he was younger. He gave up on the idea of becoming a lepidopterist when he became a Kingsman. Harry couldn’t remember who he was now.

One of the ways to help those who have undergone this process was to put the person with memory loss through a traumatic experience. The Statesman agent Ginger (Halle Berry) began to fill Harry’s room with water. He struggled and they thought he would remember. He couldn’t and almost died.

Merlin then went to check on Harry. That’s when he told Harry he had forgotten who he is.

The challenges and successes of leadership can take a toll on a leader. There’s typically one of two ways leaders respond.

Leaders either forgot who they are and go on a self-destructive path or they stay the course. Be aware you will have to make a decision with your leadership course.

My encouragement to you is to stay the good path.

12. Your past may be key to your future:

Do you know how Eggsy was able to get Harry to remember who he was? Harry had a dog named Mr. Pickle. The original test for entry into the Kingsman agency was to kill a puppy. Mr. Pickle was that puppy for Harry.

Harry made it look like he killed Mr. Pickle, but he did not. He kept Mr. Pickle as a pet.

Eggsy decided to go to the pet store and pick up a new dog for Harry. He brought the puppy into Harry’s cell and gave him the puppy. Eggsy then pulled a gun and said he was going to shoot the dog.

This episode triggered Harry. He began to remember WHO he was. His memories returned and he began his journey towards recovery.

The way to Harry’s future was from his past. Your past may be a jumbled mess of junk. You may have done things you no longer agree with. Yet each of the pieces of your past are a part of who you are now.

Look at your past. See how the past has impacted you. Piece together a future using your past.

13. Harry:

Manners. Maketh. Man.

Harry had a saying. The saying was Manners. Maketh. Man.

This saying of Harry’s basically tells you that manners are important. I believe this flows through to leadership as well.

Have good manners. Treat people with respect. Be a good leader.

14. Great leaders will have to improvise:

Harry was given a mission: Take over the ski lift controller. When he arrived, there was a man at the controls. His first attempt to neutralize the threat was to tranquilize the ski lift operator with a dart. He missed.

Because of missing, Harry had to improvise. He had to find a way to incapacitate the operator. That’s when he noticed the fire extinguisher.

He took the fire extinguisher off the wall, held it in his hands, and then swung it at the operator’s head. Knockout!

Sometimes you will have to go back to the drawing board and improvise a new solution after the first solution doesn’t work. Be ready to improvise when needed.

15. You will regret a life lived alone:

There was a great moment in Kingsman: The Golden Circle when Harry opened up about his experience of being shot in the face. He shared what he felt before he “died.”

Harry told Eggsy he felt nothing… Nothing but loneliness and regret.

Harry held the belief that a Kingsman should live life alone. No strings. No attachments. They were to be solitary individuals.

At death, his feelings changed. He realized living a life alone with no one to love or care for was not something to be desired.

There are leaders out there who believe leadership should be done alone. They should have home lives or family.

These leaders live a lonely, lonely life. One many of them will regret in the end.

Don’t do life alone. Find a great wife or husband. Have a kid or two or three. Do life with someone else.

16. Be versatile:

One of the really fun parts of the Kingsman movies has been the gunfights. Kingsman: The Golden Circle is no different.

Eggsy enters into a gunfight with a briefcase. A briefcase that is really a gun.

But the briefcase is more than a gun. The briefcase was a versatile tool. Eggsy was able to transform the briefcase into a body shield to protect himself and Harry.

Are you a versatile leader? Be willing to take on multiple roles and learn new skills.

17. Great leaders stand up for others:

Elton John, yes THAT Elton John, was in Kingsman: The Gold Circle. He had been kidnapped by Poppy and was being used for entertainment. He was also considered a friendly by Poppy.

When Eggsy came to Poppyland to retrieve the antidote for the spiked drugs, he came upon Elton.

Poppy released her robodogs to attack and kill Harry. He’s running like a madman to get away when Elton John stepped in front of him. This stopped the dogs because their scanners told them he was a friend.

Elton was able to stand up and protect Harry because of his status.

Great leaders do what Elton John did. They stand up for those they’re leading. They know their team isn’t perfect and they won’t always do the right thing. Yet they’re willing to stand up and say “These are my team members. They deserve better.”

Be a leader who stands up for those they lead.

18. Speak up:

Ginger had shared earlier in the movie that she wished she could move forward in the Statesman organization. Merlin asked if she had spoken up and made her desire known.

Whiskey (Pedro Pascel) turned on Eggsy. Eggsy had to dispatch Whiskey in the meat grinder Poppy used to “correct” her misbehaving team members.

With Whiskey’s passing, this left a spot open in the Statesman agency. This time around, Ginger didn’t hold back. She spoke up and shared her desire to become a larger part of the agency.

Speaking up is a scary thing. I know. I have trouble speaking up at times. However, when you don’t speak up, you miss opportunities.

Be willing to share your voice. Let your desires be heard.

If you don’t, you won’t be heard.

19. Eggsy:

I owe you everything.

Eggsy knew he didn’t become a Kingsman alone. He had help. That help was Harry.

Harry took him in and showed him how to be a proper gentleman and kick butt. For that, Eggsy owed Harry everything.

You have had plenty of mentors on your leadership journey already. There are men and women who have poured into your life.

You owe them.

Closing Thoughts On Kingsman: The Golden Circle

I don’t know what else to say about Kingsman: The Golden Circle. The cast was great. The action was fantastic. And the story was entertaining.

If you like action movies, you’ll more than likely enjoy Kingsman: The Golden Circle.

However, while there are plenty of leadership lessons in Kingsman: The Golden Circle, there are some things to watch out for. Kingsman: The Golden Circle is rife with language, some sexual content, and extreme violence. Be careful if these things offend or disturb you.

Question: Have you seen Kingsman: The Golden Circle? If so, what was your favorite leadership lesson from Kingsman: The Golden Circle? If not, what was your favorite leadership lesson from Kingsman: The Golden Circle that I shared? Let me know in the comment section below.


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