This past weekend saw the DC Snyderverse come to a close. The Aquaman sequel, Aquaman And The Lost Kingdom, was released to less than stellar reviews. However, I still went and watched the film.
Guess what? While not as good as the first Aquaman movie, it’s still solid. Aquaman And The Lost Kingdom sees Arthur Curry/Aquaman (Jason Momoa) facing the returning threat of David Kane/Black Manta (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II).
Black Manta returns to remove Aquaman from his throne, make him suffer, and destroy everything he loves. To stop him, Aquaman has to free his once-evil brother, King Orm (Patrick Ailson), to help battle Black Manta and the powerful Black Trident.
It’s a fun movie if you let it be. It’s also a movie full of leadership lessons.
We will dive into the leadership lessons in Aquaman And The Lost Kingdom in the latest Reel Leadership article.
Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Aquaman And The Lost Kingdom
1. The allure of leadership can quickly fade:
Aquaman was excited when he became king of Atlantis. He had the power, respect of his people, and more. It was great…
Then 10 years passed.
Over time, Aquaman realized that his position as king wasn’t all fun and games. There were meetings, political issues, and other issues that sapped the joy out of his leadership position.
We may find ourselves in a similar position. We’re excited to step into a leadership position in our organization. It’s an honor to be asked to lead. Then reality hits.
There’s more to leadership than power and influence. We have to manage relationships, political grandstanding, and dealing with loss.
Be ready for the fun of leadership to fade and to take on the challenging aspects of leadership.
2. Great leaders get excited to share their position with others:
In the new Aquaman movie, Arthur and Mera (Amber Heard) have a son, Arthur Jr. He’s just a wee little tyke.
One day, while looking at his fish tank, Arthur Jr. sends out a mental message to the fish in the tank. What this means is that Arthur Jr. has similar powers to his dad!
Arthur goes crazy. He’s so excited to see his little son doing the same things he can. He says he can’t wait to share the gift with him.
Leaders have a gift. It’s responsibility, influence, and power.
Too many leaders horde these gifts for themselves rather than sharing them with those they lead. Great leaders know they must share their gifts with the ones they lead.
They slowly seed their power to others. They help give their influence to the ones they lead.
Leadership isn’t about hoarding your influence. It’s about spreading the love around.
3. Power in the wrong hands is dangerous:
Black Manta is searching for Atlantian technology. What he finds is much more dangerous.
He finds the Black Trident. This weapon is among the most powerful in the DC Extended Universe.
Using dark magic, the ruler of the lost kingdom of Necrus, Atlan’s (Vincent Regan) brother Kordax (Pilou Asbæk), created it. When it falls into Black Manta’s hands, it gives him unimaginable power. With that power comes corruption and destruction.
We have to be careful who we give power to. In the wrong hands, it can be dangerous.
Think of someone who is promoted too early in their career. They gain power, but they lack wisdom. The power goes to their head, and they demand respect and honor.
People become frustrated. Anger rises because the new leader doesn’t live out the organization’s core values.
While we should look for people to share our power with, we have to be cautious about who we give it to.
You can’t expect them to care about us if they don’t even know we exist.
One of the political issues Aquaman needed to deal with was the pollution from the top world. Humans were constantly polluting the oceans. Toxic chemicals were dumped, causing all kinds of issues.
The High Council, including Karshon, aka The Shark (Indya Moore), wanted to take drastic action on those living on land. They wanted to put an end to the human race and reduce the pollution.
Aquaman raised a valid point. How could the surface dwellers care about the people of Atlantis and beyond if they didn’t know they existed?
As leaders, we are responsible for opening their eyes to the world they do not see. We have to share what’s going on behind the leadership curtain.
If we don’t, how can we expect them to care?
5. Tom Curry (Temuera Morrison):
Sometimes not giving up is the most heroic thing you can do.
Aquaman was lamenting his struggles to his father, Tom. He went on and on about all of his problems. Then, he wondered how his dad did everything he did.
Tom had a great answer. He didn’t give up. That was the most heroic thing most people can do.
Leadership is never easy. There’s always a new challenge, difficult person, or business issue to face.
We may want to give up.
That’s the easy thing to do. The heroic, or leadership, thing to do is to keep going. To not give up.
If you’re discouraged today, I want to push you not to give up. There’s hope beyond today.
6. We forget our transgressions but focus on the transgressions of others:
Black Manta found a power source called Orichalcum. It was a powerful energy source but also polluted the planet.
It’s funny to watch the High Council denounce humankind for their willingness to pollute the planet only to discover that they once had used Orichalcum to power their world. Their use of Orichalcum almost destroyed the planet.
Now, they see another civilization doing something similar, and they’re the bad guys.
The Atlantians forgot their past transgressions. I’ve seen leaders do the same thing.
They’ve made mistakes in their pasts. Mistakes that almost destroyed an organization, family, or friendship.
Skip to the present, another person in their organization is making similar mistakes. The leader freaks out. They see what’s coming and want the person out, forgetting they were once that person.
Never forget the mistakes that you have made. If you do, you’ll destroy others for the same things you were given grace for.
7. Bad leaders can easily dismiss concerns because of the glory they may receive:
Dr. Stephen Shin (Randall Park) had been working for Black Manta. When he saw what the Orichalcum was doing, he raised his concerns.
Black Manta dismissed those concerns. Even tried to make those concerns seem minor compared to the breakthroughs they might see with it.
He knew what was happening. He knew what the Orichalcum could do to the planet. Still, he pushed forward regardless of the consequences.
Bad leaders do the same thing. They know the consequences of their actions. They see what is happening. And then, they try to talk about all the good that will come from their actions.
Beware of people who are willing to let their actions damage and destroy others so they can have a breakthrough.
If you weren’t such an a**hole, you could still be king.
Aquaman hadn’t wanted to be king of Atlantis. What he wanted was for someone kind and gentle to rule the kingdom.
King Orm was not that man in the first Aquaman movie. He was power-hungry. He was a jerk. He wasn’t fit to be king. And he’d tried to destroy the surface world.
All of these things made Orm a poor choice for king. Something had to be done. Aquaman stepped in and took control.
While Aquaman used strong language to make the point here, he’s right. Many leaders are ousted from their positions because of their attitudes. If they’re jerks, cruel, or worse, people no longer respect them or listen to them.
Be aware of your attitude toward others. It will impact the way you influence others. And, one day, someone may take you out of your position.
9. Bad leaders prey on their people:
Kordax was a bad, bad dude. He destroyed his kingdom and then tried to return and destroy another kingdom.
One of the things he did was to prey on the thoughts of Aquaman and King Orm. He swirled around them and whispered negative thoughts to them. He preyed on their thoughts.
Beware of playing mind games with your people. It’s a form of manipulation and preying on them.
No one will respect you if you do this, especially after discovering it.
10. King Orm:
You’re not as bad at this as you think.
Aquaman thought he wasn’t a great leader. He struggled with the mundane tasks that come with leadership.
King Orm, his half-brother and protagonist in the first Aquaman movie, finally came around to him. He realized Aquaman wasn’t a bad leader. In fact, he was a pretty good one.
He shared this with him. And that encouraged Aquaman.
Many leaders struggle with confidence and feeling like what they do matters. Know that what you do matters. Know, too, that you’re probably better at this leadership thing than you think.
Everyone struggles with doubt. The best leaders overcome it through positive thinking, real feedback, and continuing to lead.
11. Personal issues seep into the business world:
Aquaman And The Lost Kingdom struggled from a real-life issue. Amber Heard, one of its main stars, was in a legal dispute with her ex-husband, Johnny Depp. The court case revealed that Amber Heard had major issues. These issues spilled over into the filming of Aquaman 2 and her role was reduced in the film.
We like to think that our actions outside of work have minimum impact on our careers. Reality says differently. Our actions in our day-to-day lives can dramatically impact our business lives.
Know that your actions are being watched in and out of the business world. Your personal issues can and will seep into your business world.
The consequences may be more damaging than you’d like to think.