I can show you the world Shining, shimmering splendid Tell me, princess, now when did You last let your heart decide? These lyrics defined a generation much like “Do you want to build a snowman? Or ride our bike around the halls? I think some company is overdue I’ve started talking to The pictures on the walls!” from Frozen has defined the current generation for many young people.
I remember when the animated version of Aladdin was released in 1992. The animation was stunning. The story was engaging. And the music was top notch.
There were few people who didn’t fall in love with Aladdin at this time. Now, it’s time for a whole new generation to fall in love with the Aladdin story in a whole new way.
Disney released the live-action version of Aladdin to adoring audiences this past weekend. The characters in Aladdin were brought to life in a beautiful way. Aladdin felt so similar to the original animated movie yet so different (in a good way).
The story revolves around a young street urchin turned prince named Aladdin (Mena Massoud). His pursuit of Princess Jasmine (Naomi Scott) leads him into the evil clutches of the Royal Vizier Jafar (Marwan Kenzari). Through this encounter with Jafar, Aladdin finds a magical lamp and meets with the Genie (Will Smith).
Disney and the cast did a terrific job of bringing the classic animated movie to real life. They also did a great job of bringing Reel Leadership lessons to the screen.
There are plenty of leadership lessons in Aladdin. You’ll discover them as we take the magic ride through Aladdin through the eyes of Reel Leadership.
Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Aladdin
1. The desire for more isn’t what life is about:
Aladdin opens with a small boat passing a larger boat. Two children were discussing how great it would be to own such a large vessel. Then their father, the mariner (Will Smith), breaks into their conversation.
He tells them he has a story to tell them. That the desire for larger things isn’t what life is about. And we dive into the tale of Aladdin.
We’ve been inundated with conversations on how to get more. How to be more. How we shouldn’t settle for less than what we deserve.
But what if all of that isn’t the truth? What if you and I could be happy with what we have right here, right now? The world would be a better place.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with having a desire for more. It’s when the desire for more begins to consume you, this is when the desire is wrong. Be careful that your desire isn’t consuming and changing you.
2. Great leaders are generous leaders:
Aladdin didn’t have much. In fact, he was a thief to survive. He would steal from the local merchants and customers.
Bracelets… Fruits… Clothing… Nothing was safe from young Aladdin’s hands.
However, Aladdin wasn’t thinking only of himself when he stole. There is a scene in the movie where he sees a young boy who looks hungry. Aladdin has a bag of dates. He chose to give those dates to the young boy instead of eating them himself.
Aladdin was a thief, yes. He was also generous with what he had.
How are you with generosity? Do you see your ability to gain and build wealth strictly for your benefit? Or is there a greater desire for your money and possessions?
Great leaders know they won’t be able to take their wealth with them. They also know they can make more money even if they give it away. They see the ability to give as a blessing. One they must honor.
They look for ways to give back to those they lead and to their community. They look for ways to invest in worthy organizations, their churches, and the people they do life with.
Be a generous leader.
Where’s the fun in that?
By this point in the movie, Aladdin had met a disguised Jasmine. They were running from the guards. They had to escape.
Aladdin saw an escape path. He could jump out a window, land on a cloth awning, bounce off of another, and get to the ground.
The disguised Jasmine chastised Aladdin for taking such a risk. It was dangerous and there was an easier path. Aladdin’s answer? Where’s the fun in that?
When you’re leading, you don’t have to be serious all of the time. There is a time and place for seriousness. There’s also a time and a place for fun.
Look for ways to introduce you and your team to fun activities. You might make a fun game time during lunch. Or you could introduce fun colors to the office.
The office doesn’t have to be boring and drab. There can be fun.
4. Your vantage point is different the higher you get:
Princess Jasmine was often barred from leaving the castle. Her father, the Sultan (Navid Negahban), wanted to keep her safe. That was his way of protecting his daughter.
The Sultan’s actions kept her from seeing the world around her. She had one point of view. This view was limited in scope.
While hanging out with Aladdin, she was able to go higher and higher in the city. She eventually looked out over the city from Aladdin’s house.
The view was stunning. It was like nothing she had ever seen before.
Changing her vantage point changed what Jasmine saw. The higher she got in the city, the more she could see. The same happens with leadership.
When you rise in the ranks, your vantage point changes. You will see different aspects of the organization. Many you never saw or thought about before.
Take it in when you rise up a level. Look over what you can now see.
5. Give people something new:
Many classic songs make a return in the Aladdin remake. You will still hear songs like the Genie’s You’ve Got A Friend In Me and A Whole New World. They knew they had to keep the classic soundtrack.
They also knew they had to give the audience something new. One of the new things in Aladdin is an update of the classic songs. There’s been some changes to the songs you remember. And the changes were fun.
There’s also the addition of two new songs in Aladdin. They gave the audience something new to go along with the old.
Your organization’s offerings may be stagnant. They may rarely change. This doesn’t mean you can’t give your customers something new once in a while.
Look for ways to introduce a new way to deliver your current products. Find a chance to introduce a twist to your current offerings.
Little tweaks along the way can add in big delight for your customers.
6. Beware of bad counsel:
Jafar was out for his own desires. He wanted the power of the Sultan. He actively pursued it.
So much so, he was using his snake staff to hypnotize the Sultan to do his bidding. Under his spell, Jafar would offer ideas to the Sultan. Ideas the Sultan would never think of without the bad counsel.
You may believe everyone on your team is out for the betterment of the team. There will be people who are only looking out for themselves. In doing so, they will offer up bad counsel.
Measure the advice you’re given. Make sure it aligns with the values of your organization. Make sure you’re not being used to do something that isn’t right.
You cannot read experience.
While Jafar is the villain in Aladdin, he also has his moments of wisdom. When he uttered the line of “You cannot read experience,” he was speaking the truth.
You can read all you want. You can fill yourself with as much knowledge as your mind can hold. What you cannot do is gain experience from reading. You have to experience things to gain experience.
If you’re not out there, doing things, you’re not gaining experience. You need to put to use what you’re learning. What you’re reading.
Only by doing, will you become a better leader.
8. Jasmine (repeating a saying from her mother):
We can only be as happy as our least happy subject.
Jasmine was thinking about the things her mother used to say. One of those was the line above.
Have you ever thought about this? As a leader, can you truly be happier than the least of those you serve? I think Jasmine’s mother was onto something with this.
We may be able to appear happier. But are we?
If you know you’re hurting someone. If you’re not being fair to someone. Or showing respect to those you lead… Are you really going to be happy doing what you’re doing?
Look out for the welfare of those you lead. Their happiness will impact your happiness.
9. Have friends who will hold you accountable:
Aladdin entered the Cave of Wonders under the orders of Jafar. He was to seek out the Genie’s lamp and return the lamp to Jafar. Along the way, he was not to touch anything in the cave.
There was a temptation. Aladdin wanted to touch some of the jewelry as they sought the magical lamp. At that moment, Aladdin had a friend to hold him accountable. Abu was that friend.
Abu slapped Aladdin when he reached for the jewelry. He was there to make sure Aladdin was going to stay on track.
Do you have a friend who will hold you accountable? The decisions of a leader carry a lot of weight. The decisions also affect many people.
Having someone who will tell you to do the right thing will be a godsend. You need to have a friend in your life who you will hold you accountable with the decisions you make.
There isn’t enough money and power in the world for you to be satisfied.
Genie told Aladdin a truth few too many people truly grasp. Genie told Aladdin regardless of the money or the power he gains, he will never be truly satisfied. Power and money only create a desire for more power and money.
Have you fallen into this trap? Do you look for the next best opportunity? We have to be careful about what we desire.
Money… Power… These things will not satisfy you. You will always desire more if this is what you’re chasing after.
When we seek the tempory, we won’t be satisfied. We have to seek out the eternal.
11. Be interested in what other people desire:
Genie and Aladdin had a little heart to heart conversation. During the conversation, Aladdin asked Genie what he would wish for.
Genie’s response may surprise you. No one had ever asked Genie what he would wish for. This left him speechless.
Aladdin was interested in what Genie would want. He was also willing to give Genie what he wished for.
When’s the last time you asked your team what they desired or would wish for? If it wasn’t recently, you need to find time to ask your team this question.
By learning what your team desires, you learn what motivates them. Their motivation will vary from team member to team member but you will get an understanding of why they’re working.
Get to know your people. Learn their desires. Help them fulfill them.
When you’re the genie, someone always wants something from you.
Because of the Genie’s ability to grant wishes, everyone he meets wants something from him. They desire him to grant their wishes and make him happy.
This is a lonely road. He doesn’t have a true friend because he can give people everything they want while he’s held captive.
Sometimes, leadership can feel this way. Your team will constantly come to you… Looking for you to give them something.
Whether it’s a promotion, raise, or wisdom, people will seek you for the things you can provide. Leadership can become lonely… Even hurtful.
Know you’re putting yourself in a position to have a lot asked of you. Be willing to give.
13. Great leaders inspire trust:
Aladdin, as Prince Ali, showed Jasmine his magic carpet. He asked her to get on the carpet with him.
To do so, he had to gain the trust of Jasmine. He did. She went on the magic carpet ride.
Great leaders have to inspire trust. They know their team will constantly question them if there’s a lack of trust.
Work on building trust with those you lead. Be a leader they can trust.
It’s them. The people that make it beautiful.
Jasmine saw the city of Agrabah while riding on the carpet. She commented on how beautiful the city was.
The thing that made the city the most beautiful? The people within the city.
Do you know what makes your organization great? It’s not you or the other leaders.
What makes your organization great is the people within the organization. Know your people are your greatest asset.
15. Real character shines through:
Aladdin had asked Genie to make him into a prince. This transformation hid who he really was from those he encountered.
Looking at Aladdin, they would only see the prince. They wouldn’t see him.
But Jasmine saw through the change. She saw Prince Ali for who he really was. She saw Aladdin.
Why did she see Aladdin? Because she could see his character. This was something the Genie couldn’t change.
There’s a lot of talk about fake it until you make it. It’s good advice. It can help you get over your insecurities and succeed where you couldn’t without that belief in yourself.
However, the fake it until you make it belief won’t change who you are. You can’t fake good character. Your character will eventually expose you for who you are.
If your character is good, that is awesome. People will see you are good. If your character is bad… You better watch out.
16. Speak to the heart of your people:
Jafar gained control of the lamp and Genie. He used one of his wishes to make him into the Sultan.
With the power of the Sultan comes control of the royal guards. One of those guards was a man named Hakim (Numan Acar).
This man had been with the Sultan for a long time. To turn his back on the position would be hard.
Jasmine knew she had to speak up. She began to talk to Hakim. She told him who he was. She reminded him of where he came from. Of who his parents were.
By speaking to Hakim’s heart, Jasmine prevented Hakim from following Jafar and to help protect the real Sultan.
The heart of your people is a valuable thing. You can win their heart by speaking to it or you can repel their heart.
Learn to speak to their hearts. To do this, you need to know who they are, where they came from, what they desire in their lives.
You can speak into their hearts. First, you need to know their heart.