Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Angel Has Fallen

A Reel Leadership Article

Gerard Butler has become a favorite actor of mine. Ever since I saw him in the great movie Machine Gun Preacher, I try to keep an eye out for new movies from him. I’ve missed a few, like the previous movies in the Has Fallen series. These movies include Olympus Has Fallen and London Has Fallen. I’m glad I didn’t miss Angel Has Fallen.

Angel Has Fallen picks up after London Has Fallen and sees Butler return as Secret Service agent Mike Banning and Morgan Freeman as President Trumbull. The two play well off of one another when they’re both on screen together. Their co-stars also bring energy to their roles.

Promotional image for Angel Has Fallen

Gerard Butler and Morgan Freeman in Angel Has Fallen

Angel Has Fallen tells the story of a disgraced Mike Banning as he has been framed for an assassination attempt on President Trumbull. The rest of Banning’s Secret Service team did not survive the attempt and all the evidence points back at Banning.

Does this mean Banning is the bad guy? Will you discover who was really behind the assassination attempt? Does President Trumbull and Banning survive?

If you watch Angel Has Fallen, you will learn what happens. In this Reel Leadership article, we will lightly touch on these topics. More importantly, we will examine the leadership lessons in Angel Has Fallen.

Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Angel Has Fallen

1. Great leaders never stop learning:

Angel Has Fallen opens with Banning trying to escape from a burning building. He’s being attacked and it looks like he may not succeed in getting out.

He does… then he is shot in the heart… by a paintball.

We discover Banning isn’t in any real danger at this point. Banning and a team of agents are trying to improve. They’re looking for ways to improve their skills. They do this by putting themselves in situations that could be real.

I loved seeing the agents train in such a real environment. They’re having to escape and fight for their lives. This pushes the ante of their training.

When you’re leading, you have to be like Banning and his team. You have to constantly learn and train for the next thing coming up.

You can’t lie low or believe you’ve made it. If you believe you’re at the pinnacle of knowledge, you’re in danger of losing it all.

2. Great leaders help new team members hop onboard quickly:

Pam and I never watched the previous Has Fallen movies. Angel Has Fallen was our first foray into this movie series.

With two other movies in the series, this could have been difficult for us. We could have felt lost. We didn’t.

Hoping on at the third movie felt like we were watching something fresh and new. We didn’t need to know the full backstory. All we needed to do was sit back and enjoy the latest film.

Great leaders know new people are coming onto their team and they do their best to help them acclimate to their new positions quickly. They don’t make them feel awkward or out of place for being the new guy. Instead, they show them what they need to know and get them going.

Are you helping new team members onboard well? They need your help as much as you need theirs. Give them an easy transition onto the team.

3. Doctor Siebertz (Stuart McQuarrie):

You’re a disaster waiting to happen.

Banning visited multiple doctors in Angel Has Fallen. Doctor Siebertz was one of those doctors.

Siebertz told Banning he was a disaster waiting to happen. He had so much wrong with him, Siebertz was concerned about Banning’s health and knew he was in danger of hurting himself or someone else.

You need to constantly be aware of your health. Not only your physical health but your mental and spiritual health.

These three areas of health need to be on your radar. You need your physical health so you’re able to get and stick around. You need your mental health so you are there. And you need your spiritual health because if you gain the whole world and lose your soul, what does it profit you?

Make sure you’re taking care of every area of your life. Don’t be a disaster waiting to happen.

4. You don’t have to answer every question:

President Trumbull was asked a very pointed question during a press conference. One of the members of the press asked Trumbull about private contracts. Trumbull chose not to answer the question and end the press conference.

He could have answered. Yet he knew he had the power not to. It was wiser in his opinion to be silent on the matter than to give an answer.

People will believe they have a right to know everything. They don’t. There are things they need to know and things they are okay not knowing.

If a team member asks a question, give him the best answer you can. Sometimes this will be a straightforward answer. Other times, this will be silence on your end.

Be wise in knowing when to give an answer and when to be silent.

5. President Trumbull:

The status quo has gone on long enough. It’s time for it to change.

The President realized the status quo had run its course. It had been useful for a time. Now it was time to change.

We can coast by on the status quo. We may even be able to do great work while things stay the same. Yet there are times when the status quo has to change.

You have to be willing to shake the boat at times. You have to be willing to say enough of the same old, same old.

Are you willing to buck the status quo and bring change to your organization? It is time.

6. Great leaders help others:

Wade Jennings (Danny Huston) was an old friend of Banning’s. He, Leah Banning (Piper Perabo), and Banning were having dinner together. Wade brought up an old story about Banning.

Banning and Wade had frequented a restaurant together. When they learned Mo, a restaurant employee, had to walk multiple miles to and from work, Banning decided he would do something to help Mo.

He chose to help raise money to get Mo a car. To do this, he passed a bag around their unit. When there wasn’t enough or someone didn’t donate, he gently encouraged them to give again.

Banning showed true care and a good heart when he chose to help Mo get a car. He chose to go out of his way to raise the funds and help someone out.

Do you know who else does this? Great leaders. They know they have been given a gift. Many times, leaders make more than those they lead and interact with on a daily basis.

This blessing shouldn’t be held onto too tightly. Rather, this blessing should be used to help those around you.

Be a generous leader. Help out those who could use a helping hand.

7. Not all promotions are desired:

Banning was going back and forth on whether or not he desired to be promoted to the Director’s position. He loved being in the field and didn’t want to sit behind a desk.

When President Trumbull gave Banning the position, there was a look of sadness in Banning’s eyes. He was happy he was considered. He was sad he wouldn’t have the same type of position as before.

You may think a great team member is desiring a promotion. You may think they’d be excited to be recognized and to move forward in the organization.

And you may be right. There are people who look to move forward and upward within an organization. There are also people who know their job and position so well they desire to stay there.

They are willing to forgo a title or money to continue what they’re doing. They see their work as valuable and something they truly enjoy.

Know when to promote and when someone would like to stay where they are.

8. You will be unjustly attacked:

Banning had been watching over the President on a fishing trip when a drone attack happened. He saw the drones approaching and he sprung into action.

He rushed towards the President’s boat. He called out to the President and another agent on the boat. He helped save the President’s life.

None of this mattered. He had been set up and no one saw the signs. They believed what the evidence showed and began to accuse Banning of the attack.

I hope you’re never in Banning’s position of being accused of an assassination attempt. Yet I know you will be in situations where you will be unjustly attacked.

Maybe a former team member believes you attacked unfairly to them and attacks your character. Maybe a bad business decision tanks the business and you’re the scapegoat. Or maybe something you said was taken out of context and your character was attacked.

Regardless of the situation, you will face times where you are attacked unfairly. Be ready for those times. Know you don’t have to attack or respond negatively.

You can respond with poise and dignity. You can answer the accusations with peace because of your character.

9. You will take hits as a leader:

As Banning was being transported to another facility, he was rescued by the group of men who had framed him. Banning wasn’t ready to go willingly with them. He chose to fight back once he was in the vehicle.

He attacked the men and took them out. Even the driver. With the driver out, the vehicle wasn’t under control and slammed into a tree… HARD.

Banning had to take the hit of the tree to get out of the dangerous situation he was in. He had to take the risk of being hurt in order to free himself.

I mentioned in the previous lesson you will be unjustly attacked. In these attacks, there will be painful hits you will have to take and get through.

Dirty accusations, name-calling, angry people… All of these things will be hits you take as a leader.

Take them. They will hurt. But you will get through them.

10. Know when to give up:

Banning had been approached by the Mountain Militia in an attempt to apprehend him. While they were trying to do a citizen’s arrest on him, he overtook them. Then a trucker pulled a gun on him to help the militia.

Banning overtook the trucker. He also took the trucker’s semi-truck. He fled from the militia and the trucker.

He did this avoid the detection of the FBI agents hunting him. In this pursuit, Banning hit a bridge support and overturned the semi. He then fled the scene.

The FBI combed the scene in hopes of finding Banning. They didn’t.

One of the agents, Agent Thompson ( Jada Pinkett Smith), said if they hadn’t found Banning yet, they wouldn’t. He’s gone already.

Agent Thompson knew when to give up. They had to call it quits because their target was no longer in the vicinity.

Leaders have to know when to give up. They can’t keep pounding their head against the same brick wall hoping something will change.

Great leaders know there is a time to keep going. There is also a time to give up.

They’re willing to let hard work go. They do this because they know it is foolish to keep pouring resources into something that isn’t working.

Learn when to keep going. Learn when to give up.

11. Clay Banning (Nick Nolte):

Did ya do it?

Mike Banning is reunited with his father, Clay, who had walked out on his family. Banning went to his father’s remote cabin because he felt like it was the only place he could go.

When he and his father were reunited, his father had a question for him. His father asked him if he had done it. Had he turned on the President?

I don’t believe Clay did this because he believed Banning had committed treason. Clay did this to hear the truth from his son.

Sometimes you will already know the answer to a question you’re going to ask. Yet you need to ask the question anyway. The question you need to ask may be blunt, straight-forward, even uncouth… But it is a question you need to ask to hear the truth.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions that may offend. They will get you to the truth.

12. Clay Banning:

Sounds like you should pick better friends.

Mike told his father that he felt like it was a friend of his who set him up to take the fall of the assassination attempt. He believed it was Wade.

In response, his father shot straight once more. Clay told Mike he needed to pick better friends.

He wasn’t wrong.

Do you need to take the advice of the senior Banning? Do you need to take a look at your friends list and choose better friends?

Your friends can make or break you. They will encourage you to do the right things… or the wrong thing.

Make sure you’re surrounding yourself with Godly, wise men who are willing to help you become the man you’re supposed to be. Without a great support system, you will flounder.

13. Notice abnormalities:

Banning had entered the hospital to help the President. While there, he heard the hospital’s computers had crashed 6 times today. He asked if this was normal. The response was it was not normal.

This alerted Banning that something was wrong. Could there be a hacker in the hospital system? There was…

Many times when a business or organization is in trouble, there are abnormalities you will notice. Maybe it’s small inconsistencies in the finance department. Or you might notice the owner acting differently.

Abnormalities may mean nothing. They may also mean something is wrong.

Learn to pay attention to the signs. They will say something.

14. Leah Banning:

I need you to follow through.

Clay had decided he would stick around a bit with his son and family. He wanted to make a change in the way he did things.

Leah wasn’t sure. So, she gave him a warning. She told Clay he needed to follow through.

There’s two things you can take away from this quote. The first is easy…

Follow-through is important. People will pay attention to your actions more than they will to your words. If you don’t follow-through and keep your commitments, your word won’t be valued.

The second is you have to speak hard truths to people. Leah could have simply let Clay stick around without a warning. She knew he had to be reminded of a hard truth.

So, she let him know what was required. He needed to follow through.

Leaders are required to follow through. They have to be willing to be a man of their word. They can’t be wishy-washy and think they will get the buy-in of their team. They have to be men of their word.

Leaders also are required to speak hard truths to those they lead. They will have to gently correct team members and other leaders in their organization. They will be truthbearers.

Question: If you’ve watched Angel Has Fallen, what leadership lessons did you take away from the movie? If you haven’t seen the movie, what Reel Leadership lessons from Angel Has Fallen that I shared resonated with you? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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