The DC movie universe has been hit or miss for quite some time. Leadership at DC and Warner Brothers must have taken notice as Aquaman and Wonder Woman has broken from the pack of new comic book movies and been enjoyable.
Aquaman tells the story of Arthur Curry/Aquaman (Jason Momoa) as he steps into his role as the protector of Atlantis. We see the blossoming of his parents, Atlanna (Nicole Kidman) and Tom Curry (Temeura Morrison), romance to his romance with Mera (Amber Heard).
The Aquaman movie was overall enjoyable and well-paced. You want to see a great comic book character brought to life? You will see it in Aquaman. You will also get a well-told story.
But that’s not what you’re here for. You’re here for the latest Reel Leadership article and the leadership lessons in Aquaman. We’ll cut to the chase and get to it.
Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Aquaman
1. Different people can come together:
Aquaman opens with Tom Curry discovering a wounded Atlanna along the shore of his lighthouse. She had washed up and was badly injured.
Tom chose to bring Atlanna to the lighthouse and help her. He tended to her wounds and nursed her back to health. His caring hand also sprung forth a budding romance with her.
Over time, the two fell in love. They conceived Arthur, who would grow up to become Aquaman.
Despite Atlanna being from a world underwater and Tom being a land dweller, the two put their differences aside. They chose to become united.
In any organization, there will be differences. Whether the differences are race, religion, gender, or something else, you will not have a homogenous people. They will all be different.
You don’t have to let those differences separate your team. You can have different people come together and serve well. Help facilitate this.
2. Great leaders make sacrifices:
The reason Atlanna was wounded was she had fled the land of Atlantis because of an arranged marriage to King Orvax. When King Orvax discovered where Atlanna had fled, he sent his men to return her to him.
Rather than stay and risk the life of young Arthur and Tom, Atlanna made a choice. She chose to sacrifice her happiness and return to the world of Atlantis. She would go marry a man she didn’t love so her family would be safe.
Hopefully, you won’t have to make such a drastic sacrifice as Atlanna. Yet leaders must make sacrifices.
Great leaders will often choose to sacrifice their wants, needs, and desires to protect those they lead. Be ready to sacrifice.
That’s your kid? Shame on you.
One of the villains in Aquaman was Black Manta (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II). He is first introduced as Jesse’s (Michael Beach) son.
In one scene, Aquaman, Jesse, and Manta are fighting on a submarine. Aquaman takes the time to ask Jesse if Manta was his son. He then scolds him for raising a villain.
You have a responsibility as a leader. You are to help mold and shape new leaders along with creating a great team.
Look for people with potential. Help guide them towards a leadership path they can fulfill.
4. Poor decisions create loss:
Manta and his father had attacked a submarine. During the battle with Aquaman, Jesse was hurt and caught behind a fallen torpedo.
There was pleading by Manta to Aquaman to help his father. Aquaman said his choices had led to this. They could help themselves.
Because of their choices, Jesse lost his life and Manta lost his father. Their poor choices created a loss.
Think about the decisions and choices you’re making. Are they wise? Are they good? What are the results of the choices you’re making?
Every choice, every decision has an outcome. Poor decisions will create loss.
5. Great leaders can’t stand on the sidelines:
As Aquaman was visiting his father, a news report flashes across the TV of a fish man stopping the pirating of a submarine. That man, of course, was Arthur.
He couldn’t stand on the sidelines and let bad people get away with villainy. He had to step in to help those that couldn’t protect themselves. The sidelines were not his place.
Great leaders are like Aquaman. They see injustice or they see room for improvement. And they have to act. They can’t stand by idly.
Do you have this conviction when you see something that needs done? Do you feel compelled to go where others won’t?
This is the siren call of a leader. They can’t resist stepping into the challenge and battling what’s wrong.
6. Tom Curry:
Son, one day you’re going to have to stop blaming yourself.
Arthur was blaming himself for not being able to save his mom. His dad knew better. He knew Arthur couldn’t have done anything to save her.
Yet Arthur continued to blame himself. He kept looking for ways to make up for his failure to protect his mom.
Leaders can’t continue on a path of self-blaming and loathing. This kind of negative thinking will tear a leader apart.
Stop focusing on the past. Stop focusing on what you didn’t or could have done.
Instead, look to the future. What can be done? What is the possibility?
The future is bright. Stop blaming yourself for past failures and focus on what is to come.
7. It’s not always about the money:
Because Aquaman didn’t help Manta save his father, Manta had a vendetta against him. He wanted Aquaman’s head!
When King Orm (Patrick Wilson) approached Manta about stealing a sub for him, he had no qualms in providing the sub. The sub helped spark fear the land dwellers were going to attack Atlantis and the other kingdoms below.
Manta told Orm he didn’t want money. He wanted Aquaman.
Leading shouldn’t be about the money or the fame you may gain. Instead, leadership is about helping people to the next level.
On top of that, your team isn’t looking for more money. They’re looking for purpose and a mission that will help others.
Are you giving this to your team?
8. You don’t know what you don’t know:
Nuidis Vulko (Willem Dafoe) was a friend of Arthur’s mother. In a flashback scene, you see Vulko teaching Arthur various things. One of those was swimming.
As they began their training, Arthur believed he already knew how to swim. Vulko corrected him. Arthur did not know how to swim but he would learn.
Through the training, Arthur learns to swim in a way mere mortals could not. He was fast and moved through the water quickly.
You don’t know what you don’t know until you learn the unlearned skill. Oft times you will believe you know more than you do.
The reality is you can always learn. You can always improve.
9. It’s hard to smell your own stench:
Mera and Aquaman joined forces. They went to Mera’s ship but it was stored in a chum butter container. Yuck!
Arthur said he didn’t want to like swamp butt. Mera said smelling like swamp butt would be an improvement.
This is when Arthur smelled his armpits. And agreed with Mera. He did stink but he couldn’t smell it until he paid attention.
Listen to those around you about your behavior and attitude. They will see the things you don’t see in yourself.
Be willing to accept what they say as truth. They’re there to help you, not harm you. They’ll also help you to see and smell things you can’t.
10. Nuidis Vulko:
By winning the hearts and minds of the people.
Aquaman was wondering how he could defeat Orm. Even if he did, would the people accept him?
Vulko knew Aquaman had to do more than defeat Orm. He had to win the hearts and minds of the people of Atlantis.
Great leaders know they can’t have a great team based out of fear or anger. They have to win the hearts and minds of those they lead.
Work on winning people over. Find out what would bring them closer and help them fully commit to the cause.
11. Hunger for power leads to a leader’s downfall:
In the days of old, Atlantis had untold of technology. They were a vastly superior people. They were also thirsting for more power.
This thirst led to their downfall. The sea welled up against them and swallowed them.
Be wary of your thirst for power. Thirsting for power often comes before a fall.
Instead of looking for power, look for ways to positively influence others. Great leaders who seek to help, rather than be helped, find this is the way to success.
12. Great leaders do what needs to be done:
Orm tells Arthur the land dwellers have been destroying the sea. Their pollution has tainted their home. They need to be stopped.
He then asks Arthur if he is still willing to challenge him. Arthur tells his half-brother he will do anything to stop a maniac.
Are you willing to go the distance? Great leaders do what needs to be done to right wrongs and positively impact others.
Go farther, go longer than others are willing to. You will stand out.
Sometimes you have to do what is right even if your heart aches against it.
Mera chose to help Aquaman in his fight against Orm. She swooped in and rescued him before Orm could kill him. This broke the law of the land and exiled Mera.
She chose to help even when it broke her heart. Yet she knew she was doing what was right.
They say doing the right thing isn’t the easy thing. This is true. Doing the right thing will hurt. It may even cost you everything.
But doing the right thing is the right thing. Don’t hesitate because it’s hard. Instead, do it because it is right.
14. Make your shots count:
Aquaman and Mera went to the trench. There, trench creatures attacked them.
Mera threw her spear. She hit her mark. Then a second mark. The spear went through two trench creatures.
When leading, you can make sure your shots count. Like Mera’s spear hit two trench creatures, you can attack two problems with one solution.
Look for ways to effectively deal with issues. This may include the two-for-one solutions.
15. Nuidis Vulko:
The king has risen!
Arthur went and retrieved King Atlan’s (Graham McTavish) trident from his resting place. Upon his return to Atlantis, Vulko saw Aquaman had been successful and he cheered on the soon-to-be king.
He recognized what was happening. And he cheered it.
People recognize influence and true leaders. Step up and be a great leader. The people will recognize you for it.