Quotes And Leadership Lessons From 20th Century Fox’s Daredevil

A Reel Leadership Article

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I love to watch movies hated by critics. Many times, these movies are more enjoyable than the critically acclaimed movies of our time. If nothing else, they are more fun.

One such movie is 20th Century Fox’s Daredevil film.

Many of 20th Century Fox’s films are decried by critics. Most of the X-Men movies have been poo-pooed by critics. The Fantastic Four movies (did you hear there’s a new one being produced by Marvel?!?) were hated. Daredevil fell in with these films.

Ben Affleck in the Daredevil suit

The hate for the Daredevil movie hit especially hard after Netflix did a great series for Daredevil. I also highly recommend that version of Daredevil.

However, I have always loved the Daredevil movie. It was fun, entertaining, and kept my attention.

I don’t know about you, but I think I may love this Daredevil movie. If nothing else, Daredevil provides many leadership lessons.

Today, we’re going to take a look at the leadership lessons in Daredevil.

Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Daredevil

1. The church is a great place to seek help:

Daredevil opens with a few flashes of action. Then, we see Daredevil/Matt Murdock (Ben Affleck) clinging to a church’s steeple.

Daredevil is badly injured. He’s bleeding and weak.

He went to the church for help. There, he received help.

The church is a place for the hurting and the seeking. It is a place to be restored, built up, and sent back.

If you’re hurting today, I want to encourage you to seek out the church. They are there to help.

2. Encourage diversity:

The Daredevil movie did something that changed a major character. They cast Michael Clarke Duncan as Wilson Fisk, the Kingpin of crime in Hell’s Kitchen. Fisk, in the comics, is a large, intimidating caucasian.

Seeing Duncan play the Kingpin threw me off at first. This isn’t the Kingpin I know!

Over time, I grew to love this version of the Kingpin. He was everything the comic Kingpin was except he was diverse.

We can’t keep making our organizations like us. We need to seek out diversity in our organizations.

Finding people of different backgrounds and ethnicities will not only make for a more diverse organization, but diversity will also make for a better organization.

3. Great leaders want their people to be better than them:

Young Matt Murdock’s (Scott Terra) father Battlin’ Jack Murdock (David Keith) wanted Matt to become better than he was. He didn’t want Matt to get into fights or become a boxer.

Instead, Jack had big dreams for his son. He wanted Matt to become a doctor or a lawyer.

This would give Matt more opportunities than Jack had. He wouldn’t have to beat up his body to make money.

What do you want for the people you lead? Do you want them to stay where they’re at? Do you want something better for them?

Great leaders see the opportunity in their team members. They also have a desire to see them go further than they have gone.

Ensure you are looking out for your team members and encouraging them to be better than you are.

4. Bad leaders will goad you:

Jack Murdock was an old fighter. He was 42 years old.

Fallon (Mark Margolis) was a crime boss in Hell’s Kitchen. Murdock had worked for him and thrown fights to appease him.

Fallon goaded Murdock when Murdock told him he wasn’t going to throw the match. This was when Fallon told Murdock he’d only won because Fallon had told his other fighters to throw their fights.

Bad leaders will not give credit where credit is due. They will make their team members feel less than.

This isn’t how good leaders lead. They don’t goad or minimize their team members. Instead, they look for ways to build up and encourage their team members.

Which are you doing?

5. Pay tribute to the leaders before you:

The 20th Century Fox Daredevil movie did a lot of things right. One of those was to pay tribute to the comic book greats that came before them.

All throughout Daredevil, you hear the names of the comic book greats.

A boxer was named John Romita after the comic book artist. Stan Lee made an appearance. A defendant accused of rape was named Jose Quesada (Paul Ben-Victor) after Joe Quesada.

Instance after instance, there was tribute paid to the people who had made comic books great.

Look at the leaders who came before you. Who springs to mind?

For me, it is Joe Lalonde, Rick South, Dale Carnegie, Michael Hyatt, Skip Prichard, and others. These men helped me become the leader and man I am today.

I hope I am paying tribute to them in the best way possible. What about you?

Are you paying tribute to the men and women who poured into your life? Do you recognize the contribution they’ve made?

It’s not too late to change and begin to recognize their contributions.

6. Doing the right thing can be costly:

Jack Murdock chose not to throw his fight. This cost him his life.

After winning the boxing match, Fallon sent his thugs to teach him a lesson. They pummeled Murdock to death.

This is a painful lesson.

Leaders, we must do what is right regardless of the cost. The right thing is always more important than our safety or security.

Do the right thing. Pay the price for doing the right thing.

It is worth the price.

7. Daredevil:

I would help those others wouldn’t.

Matt Murdock heard his father being beaten and killed. After his father’s death, Matt made a promise.

Matt would help those that other people wouldn’t help. He would help the unhelpable.

I believe this is a big calling of leaders. We are called to help others, especially those that other people are unwilling to help.

Look around your organization. Who can you help? Who can you pour into that has been discarded?

Help those people, even if the reward isn’t great.

8. Disabilities don’t have to hold you back:

Matt Murdock was blinded as a child. Despite his blindness, he became the superhero Daredevil.

His disability didn’t hold him back. In fact, his disability gave him something more. It increased his other senses.

Are you struggling with disabilities? Do you have something you believe is holding you back?

We can let our disabilities hold us back or we can move forward with them.

I think of Moses in the Bible. He had a stutter. He let it hold him back until he didn’t. Then he became a Bible great.

Or Nick Vujicic. He was born without limbs. Yet he’s gone on to do great things.

Don’t let your disabilities hold you back.

9. Matt Murdock:

Can one man make a difference?

Matt went through a crisis of faith. He wondered if one person could make a difference.

There were days when he believed this. He saw the difference he was making.

Then, he doubted. He wondered. He lost faith.

Leaders, we’re like Matt, aren’t we? We wonder and doubt. We can’t see the difference we’re making on the tough days.

Know that one man (or woman) can make a difference.

10. Daredevil:

Somebody has to do something.

Daredevil was talking to Father Everett (Derrick O’Connor). The Father knew Daredevil didn’t want forgiveness. He wanted permission to keep taking out the bad guys.

The Father wanted to know why. Daredevil gave his why. Someone had to do something.

Leaders understand Daredevil’s feelings.

Leaders cannot sit by idly. They have to do something to help others.

Make sure you are doing the things that matter. The things that make a difference.

Leaders have to do something.

11. Define your better:

Matt and his law firm partner Foggy Nelson (Jon Favreau) were discussing their law firm’s situation. Foggy wanted to bring in more, better clients.

Matt knew what Foggy meant by better clients. Foggy wanted rich and guilty clients. He wanted their firm to take on moral ambiguity in the clients they served.

Matt didn’t want this. He wanted to help those that needed the help.

Have you defined your better? Have you defined what it means to win or be successful?

Leaders, this is your responsibility. You need to define what better or a win is. You need to do this to help your team understand what they are striving for.

12. Leaders can be blamed for things they didn’t do:

Bullseye (Colin Farrell) was one of the bad guys in Daredevil. He had a skillset of being able to hit and kill anything he aimed for.

One of those targets was Nikolas Natchios (Erick Avari). Nikolas was Matt’s love interest Elektra’s (Jennifer Garner) father.

Bullseye used one of Daredevil’s clubs to kill Nikolas. Elektra saw the club, the fight, and the death. She thought Daredevil had killed her father. She blamed Daredevil.

You’re going to face a lot of heat as a leader. Things your team does or didn’t do will be placed on your shoulders.

Be ready to take the blame. You’re the leader. The ultimate responsibility falls on you, even if it is not your fault.

13. Leaders don’t have to share everything:

Ben Urich (Joe Pantoliano) was an investigative reporter. He was seeking to discover who Daredevil was.

He finally discovered Daredevil’s secret identity. This was the big scoop. It would put him on the map.

What did Urich do? He kept Daredevil’s secret identity secret. He didn’t share it.

Why? He knew not everything needed to be shared, even if it would bring about success.

You don’t have to share everything with your team. There are going to be things that are top-secret or high-level eyes only.

Don’t feel bad or ashamed about keeping certain things close to the vest. This is part of leadership.

You have to decide what gets shared and what doesn’t.

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