Leadership Lessons And Quotes From Kubo And The Two Strings

A Reel Leadership Article

Yes readers, you’re not seeing things. Today brings two new Reel Leadership posts to the website. The first was Leadership Lessons And Quotes From Ben-Hur. Now, you get leadership lessons from Kubo and the Two Strings.

This weekend was packed with movie goodness and I couldn’t resist sharing this bonus post with you. I hope you enjoy!

Kubo And The Two Strings is the stop-motion animation story from the studio of LAIKA. The studio who brought us Coraline and The Boxtrolls.

Kubo is a one-eyed boy on a mission. He journeys across Japan with a wooden monkey come to life and a giant beetle man. He also carries an ancient three-stringed instrument called a shamisen.

Odd, I know. Yet oddly enjoyable.

It’s also, as usual, packed with lots of leadership lessons.

Caution: Kubo And The Two Strings Spoilers ahead

Leadership Lessons And Quotes From Kubo And The Two Strings

1. Your disabilities don’t hold you back:

Kubo is a young boy who was disabled. His evil grandfather ripped one of his eyes out. He attempted to get both, but was only successful in removing one.

So, we see Kubo grow from a weak, young boy to a strong boy. His disability didn’t hold him back.

You may struggle with issues that you believe hold you back from leading well.

Me? I struggle with stuttering and communicating well.

Does this hold me back? Yes, in public speaking. However, I found out that I can communicate clearly in writing. So I communicate mainly in the written form.

You may have an issue communicating clearly, or it could be another disability. Don’t let your disability hold you back from leading.

Lead anyways. Discover the way you can most effectively lead and lead.

2. You can lead older people:

After Kubo’s mother rescued him from his grandfather, she had received a head injury. She had a difficult time remembering and taking care of herself.

Thus, Kubo cared for his mother. He fed her and made sure she was well. He was leading someone older than himself.

Many times you’ll be put into a situation where you’re a younger leader than those you’re leading. This is scary!

It’s also doable.

You don’t have to be wiser than someone else to lead. You just have to be a few steps ahead.

3. Audience member after Kubo’s performance:

People like an ending

Kubo would perform a magic paper show with his enchanted shamisen. He would tell the story of Hanzo, his father, in the middle of his small village.

Only he wouldn’t tell the whole story. The audience members began telling them they would like the who story. They like an ending.

Those you lead also like an ending.

What does this look like to you? This means you have a clear vision of what the end looks like. And you pursue the vision to the end.

4. Boundaries protect us:

Kubo’s mother, while not all there, would tell him that he needed to be home before dark. One night, Kubo didn’t listen and he found out why he needed to be home on time.

Like Kubo, we should have boundaries that protect us. Whether that’s in how we deal with the opposite sex, our work hours, or other boundaries, boundaries are there for our good.

Set healthy boundaries.

5. Monkey:

It’s the best bad idea we have

One of Kubo’s traveling companions was a monkey. She didn’t like the path they had to take but she knew it was the best course of action, even if the plan wasn’t ideal.

We will be faced with choices that are neither good nor bad. They just are.

We have to make a decision based on the choices in front of us. Choose the best one.

6. Kobu:

Do you ever say anything encouraging?

Does this sting you as much as it stings me? Kobu said this to the monkey he was with.

She was constantly trying to tell him the way to go but in less than encouraging tones.

I was struck with how often I’m like the monkey. I try to set the path but I fail in setting the proper tone.

You may find yourself there as well.

Watch your tone. Be careful of how you say things.

People are listening and they’re looking for encouragement, not negativity.

7. Humanity and compassion changes us:

We find out that Kubo’s mother wasn’t always such a nice person. Rather, she was a villain trying to kill Hanzo before she fell in love with him.

What changed her? The compassion and humanity Hanzo showed her.

How are you treating those you lead? Are you leading with humanity and compassion?

If not, you need to begin showing these to your team. They will change them and make your job leading so much easier.

8. Bad leaders can become good leaders:

You now know that Kubo’s mother was a bad guy. She became good.

Did you know the same thing can happen to bad leaders? Bad leaders can become good.

Their transition doesn’t happen overnight. Yet they can transition from bad to good.

Bad leaders become good when they focus on what they’re doing wrong. Then make an intentional effort to change.

Don’t rule out a bad leader because they’re bad. They can change.

9. Our influence goes on after we’re gone:

We see Kubo’s mom is scared that her influence will end once her life ends. That’s when the wise beetle-man creature speaks up.

He tells her that her influence will continue long after she is gone.

She has touched too many people. Their lives had been impacted by her kindness and love. That love will pass on to future generations.

Her influence will never end. And neither will yours, if you lead well.

You will touch many people as you lead. That influence will pass on from them to their children. And from their children to their grandchildren.

Our influence will continue through the ages because of the one person we touch.

10. Leaders can forget who they are:

Throughout the movie, we are led to believe that Hanzo had passed away fighting Kubo’s grandfather and aunts. That wasn’t the truth.

Instead, Hanzo had been cursed to live as a beetle man. Because of this curse, he also forgot his true identity.

I’ve seen many leaders forget who they are the more successful they become as a leader.

They forget the reason they first began to lead. Their families are left behind. Their ideals no longer reflect their heart.

Watching leaders forget who they are is a sad, sad thing.

Don’t forget who you are. Reflect constantly on your reasons for leading. Don’t let go of it!

11. Your story can change:

Kubo eventually lost his mother and father for good. Yet he gained a good grandfather.

After years of hunting his family, his grandfather was defeated. And changed.

When he was beaten, his grandfather lost his memory. That’s where the happy ending comes into play.

Kubo’s grandfather now had no memory of who he was. He could write a new story.

The villagers helped him do so. They told him new stories of how he was a gentle man who loved to help others and make people smile.

Grandfather’s story was written and changed.

Do you have a life story that you hate?

We all have had something negative happen to us in the past. This doesn’t mean we have to continue letting it haunt us in our future.

We can tell ourselves a new story. One where the past no longer has power over us.

Don’t let your negative past be your future. You can have a future that doesn’t reflect your past.

Question: Have you seen Kubo And The Two Strings? If so, what’s one or two leadership lesson you pulled from the movie? If not, what leadership lesson from Kubo And The Two Strings that I shared most resonated with you? Share that in the comment section below.

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