Leadership Lessons And Quotes From Thor: Ragnarok

A Reel Leadership Article

Chris Hemsworth reprises his role as Thor for the blockbuster movie Thor: Ragnarok. This is the third time Hemsworth has been featured in a stand-alone Thor film (surprisingly, I have not done a Reel Leadership article on the other 2 Thor films).

Thor: Ragnarok changes tones for the third film. Ragnarok feels more like a buddy comedy than full-on action/superhero. And that’s not a bad thing.

Leadership lessons and quotes from Thor: Ragnarok

The previous Thor films ranked on the lower end of the Marvel Cinematic Universe for me. They always felt like a letdown. Thor: Ragnarok doesn’t. Instead, Thor: Ragnarok delivers.

Not only does Thor: Ragnarok deliver in laughs, action, and adventure, Thor: Ragnarok delivers in leadership lessons as well.

Caution: Thor: Ragnarok spoilers below

Leadership Lessons And Quotes From Thor: Ragnarok

1. Thor:

Because that’s what heroes do.

Surtur, a demon in the Ragnarok movie, had imprisoned Thor as Thor was looking for the Infinity Stones. Surtur lowers Thor out of his cage and begins taunting him. Eventually, Thor breaks free, defeats Surtur, and believes he’s prevented Ragnarok from happening.

He was wrong. But he also did what heroes and leaders do. He fought evil and did the right thing.

There are certain actions leaders take. They do these things day in and day out. Because that’s what leaders do.

Are you doing what leaders do?

2. Great leaders know how to use the tools at hand:

Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir, had always helped him channel his power. He used Mjolnir to hold back a flame attack from Surtur. He also used Mjolnir to fly.

Those aren’t the only things the hammer could do. Mjolnir could be used for even more.

But one thing you’ll notice. Thor had a powerful tool at his disposal. He learned how to use the tool he had to fight and protect the world.

Great leaders will use the tools they have. They will study them and figure out the best way to use the tools at hand.

Are you discovering what the tools you have can do? Begin studying what you have at hand and begin using them to their fullest potential.

3. Odin:

Look at this place. It’s beautiful.

Odin, once more played by the robust actor Anthony Hopkins, is sitting on a bluff in Norway. He sits there with his sons Thor and Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and tells them how beautiful it is there.

Odin was able to appreciate where he was and what was in front of him.

You’re put in a specific place for a specific reason. Find the beauty in your location.

For me, I’m in Michigan. Many people dislike Michigan because of the winters. Yet Michigan offers so much, even in its coldest days.

I find beauty in where I live and where I work. You can too.

Begin looking for the positives and beauty in where you’re located. Then learn to be content with it.

4. Bad leaders demand respect. Great leaders earn respect.

Ragnarok wasn’t to happen because of the demon Surtur. Instead, Ragnarok was going to happen because of Odin’s daughter Hela (Cate Blanchette). Hela had been imprisoned long ago to stop her blood-thirsty rampages.

When Odin passed, Hela was able to break free from her prison and begin a reign of terror.

She did what bad leaders often do. She wanted people to respect her. To get this respect, she DEMANDED their loyalty and respect.

This isn’t how great leaders get respect. They know you can’t force respect.

Great leaders know the key to gaining the respect of those they lead.

They treat their team members with repsect. They give clear direction and cast an empowering vision. Great leaders give hope.

Are you demanding respect or are you earning the respect of your team?

5. Thor:

I’m not for sale.

Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), a former Asgardian, brought Thor to Sakaar. Sakaar is a distant planet where The Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum) holds gladiator matches with his combatants (or are they prisoners. Who knows, The Grandmaster will tell you they are not prisoners).

On Sakaar, Valkyrie offers Thor for sale to The Grandmaster. This is when Thor loses it. He is not for sale!

This scene made me think of how there are leaders who will sell out for money. They will turn away from all they know to become famous or to earn more money.

Great leaders aren’t for sale. Their ideas and opinions cannot and will not be bought.

Stand strong when temptation comes. Know your principles and stand by them.

6. Great leaders are committed to their mission:

Thor had a mission. He was to get back to Asgard and prevent the impending Ragnarok.

This meant he had to find a way off of Sakaar, travel to Asgard, and kick some butt.

Thor wouldn’t give up on his mission. Even while he was imprisoned on Sakaar, he continued to look for ways to complete his mission.

Great leaders are committed to their missions. They know what they want, they know the direction they must go, and they go.

Are you committed to your mission? Do you know what your mission is?

Get clear on your mission and go for it.

7. Ask people to join your mission:

On Sakaar, Thor met a rock-like creature named Korg (played by Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi). Korg was on a mission to recruit other combatants to join his revolution.

When he met Thor, he asked Thor to join the revolution. To fight alongside him.

Great leaders know they can’t lead effectively alone. They must have a great team.

That’s why you need to ask people to join your mission or your team. Bring people into the fold. More importantly, invite people into the fold.

8. Great leaders remind people of their goodness:

Valkyrie had a tattoo. This tattoo was the mark of the Valkyrie on Asgard.

Thor saw this tattoo. He knew what he had to do. He had to remind Valkyrie of who she was.

There will be times when those you lead lose their way. Either a screw up will happen, the wrong words will be spoken, or another mistake will occur.

Don’t kill them for their most recent mistake. Instead, gently remind them of who they are. Bring to light all of the good they have done.

Be a leader who encourages their team instead of discourages their team. Remind people of who they are.

9. The Grandmaster:


The Grandmaster put Thor into the arena against Thor’s buddy The Incredible Hulk/Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo). Thor was initially excited to see the Hulk until he realized the Hulk was out to get him. That’s when Thor began to fight back.

The battle looked like it would be a lop-sided battle with the Hulk destroying Thor. But the battle was more complicated. Thor was a valiant fighter and he knocked the Hulk around the arena.

This shocked The Grandmaster. He’d never seen this happen before.

You will be shocked and surprised by the abilities of those you lead. Many people have hidden powers and skills you never see. When you do, you’ll be taken aback.

Because of their hidden skills, you’re missing out. Find ways to cultivate these hidden talents and grow your team members.

Offer time to explore personal interests on company time. Ask team members what they love to do outside of work and see how it ties in with their job. Inquire with other team members to see what they see in others.

You’ll be SHOCKED with how many skills each member of your team has. Be willing to let them use their talents!

10. Leaders fight for their friends:

The Hulk was on a rampage. He was angry and all he wanted to do was destroy so he could win.

But Thor knew there was more to the Hulk than the rage. There was a man inside. And he was a good man.

Thor began to fight for his friend. He encouraged the Hulk to let Banner out.

Thor did this through singing a soothing song. He talked with the Hulk. He made an effort to win his friend back.

Great leaders know the potential of the people they lead. He also knows their friends are important. So they fight.

They encourage their team members. They remind people of who they are. And they don’t give up the fight.

Keep fighting for your friends!

11. Great leaders have more within than they realize:

Thor was the god of thunder. Though he didn’t realize how powerful he truly was.

Earlier in Thor: Ragnarok, Hela destroyed his hammer Mjolnir. He thought he could no longer control lightning and thunder. He felt powerless.

Then something truly amazing happened. Thor was able to call on his power and shock the Hulk.

He had power within him. The tools he used just channeled that power.

You have more within in you than you realize. You can do great and amazing things.

The power within you can change the direction of your organization. Your power can change the lives of those you lead. And you have the ability to change the world.

Examine yourself and discover the things within you. Then begin using the power for good.

12. Great leaders protect:

Heimdall (played by the always impressive Idris Elba) is the all-seeing, all-hearing Asgardian sentry. He guarded the rainbow bridge, Bifrost, which allowed access to Asgard.

In Ragnarok, Heimdall took on a different role. He became a protector of the Asgardians when Hela went on a rampage.

Heimdall took the fleeing Asgardians to safety and hid them. He took risks as he protected the citizens.

Heimdall showed the trait of a great leader. He protected those he was watching over.

This is what you need to do. You need to guard and protect your team members. Keep them safe from the dangers of their job and burnout.

Are you protecting those you lead?

13. Bad leaders can become good leaders:

Odin wasn’t always a beloved leader. He was once a maniacal leader who destroyed people and places.

Something clicked within him and he began to change. He saw the errors of his ways and turned to good.

When you see a bad leader, don’t write them off. Their past or present doesn’t dictate their future.

There is hope for bad leaders.

14. Odin:

Even with two eyes, you could only see half the picture.

Odin had lost an eye at some point. He knew two eyes didn’t mean better vision. Vision and seeing the big picture took more than physical sight.

Do you have the ability to see the full picture? Most of the time we lack this ability. We struggle to everything going on around us.

Take the time to examine everything going on around you. Take in everything. See what you might miss if you only take a cursory glance.

You’re probably missing out on the whole picture. That’s okay once you realize this and you find a way to compensate.

15. You are more than your tools:

It’s already been mentioned Thor believed his hammer was the source of his power. Mjolnir was not the true source. Thor’s power lay within him.

When Mjolnir was destroyed by Hela, Thor had to discover this truth. He was more than the tools he used.

You my find out a tool or resource of yours no longer gets the results it once did. Don’t be heavy hearted.

The tool or resource isn’t who you are. You are more than the tools you use.

Dig deep. Find your strength. Use your strength.

16. You’re better with others:

How did Thor fight against the threat of Hela? He formed a team called The Revengers (though they quickly dropped the name).

Thor joined forces with Valkyrie, Loki, and Bruce Banner/The Hulk. They fought side by side.

You need a great team to lead well. The best leaders out there know they can’t lead well in isolation.

Find great people to join your team.

17. Leadership is all about the people:

Ragnarok was the destruction of Asgard. But not…

The physical location of Asgard was destroyed by Surtur after Thor unleashed the demon to destory Hela. This allowed Surtur to decimate the physical location of Asgard.

You soon learn that Asgard wasn’t the location. Asgard was the people.

There are leaders out there who think leadership is about THEM. What can the leader get out of this? How can the leader benefit? What can the leader do?

This mindset is all wrong. Leadership isn’t about the leader. Leadership is about the people you’re leading.

Learn this leadership truth. Begin applying it to your leadership. Watch the effectiveness of your leadership explode.


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