We’re still under a shelter-at-home order in the state of Michigan. Many other states are as well. This means no new movies!
Oh well, there’s plenty of great movies on Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Disney+. The last couple of Reel Leadership articles have been courtesy of Netflix. Today, we’re switching it up.
I logged into my Amazon Prime account and remembered I’d purchased a classic animated movie: Batman: The Mask Of The Phantasm. Though I’d purchased it, I hadn’t watched it. This changed last night.
Batman: Mask Of The Phantasm sees our favorite hero, Batman (Kevin Conroy), implicated in the deaths of multiple mob bosses. We, the viewers, know Batman isn’t guilty. The citizens and police officers of Gotham don’t.
As The Phantasm (Stacy Keach) stalks Gotham City for the guilty, Batman has to avoid the Gotham City Police Department. They believe he is guilty and they are willing to use lethal force to bring the reign of terror to an end.
This animated movie is a great throwback to a time of Batman: The Animated Series. The visuals are stunning and the story draws you in.
But, as you already know, there’s more to movies than great visuals and storytelling. There are leadership lessons in Batman: Mask Of The Phantasm. We’re going to look at those in today’s article.
Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Batman: The Mask Of The Phantasm
1. You have to let others know what you have to offer:
Batman: Mask Of The Phantasm opens with the words: Warner Brothers Presents Batman: Mask Of The Phantasm. I loved this. It not only gave us the name of the movie but it let the viewer knew what was being presented.
The production company didn’t hop right into the story. It gave a brief intro into what the viewer will see. This intro let people know what was coming.
Leaders, I’ve seen so many of us jump into a new role without an introduction or explanation of what we have to offer. We start and hop right in.
This can be frustrating to those you’re getting ready to lead. They don’t know you from Jack or Jill.
Help your new team out. Give them an introduction of who you are. Let them get an idea of what you have to offer.
This will go a long way in gaining the trust of your team.
2. Chuckie Sol (Dick Miller):
Batman! How did you get here?
Chuckie was one of the mob bosses offed in Batman: Mask Of The Phantasm. He had begun to launder money through the casino and Batman burst into the room. Chuckie ran and Batman pursued.
Chuckie thought he had lost Batman in the parking ramp. He had… But then he was confused. Batman had caught up to him. But Batman hadn’t… It was Phantasm.
Chuckie tried to avoid Phantasm. In his attempts, he ran his car over the edge of the parking ramp and into the building across the street. This is when Batman appeared at the ramp.
Bystanders looking at the action saw Batman. This led to the assumption Batman had killed Chuckie.
We have to be careful about where we go and what we do. There are people watching. There are people paying attention.
We can have people assume negative intent by us when we put ourselves into unsavory situations.
Be on guard. Know your reputation can change if people see you doing things you should not be doing.
3. Talking out loud can help you understand your next move:
Andrea Beaumont (Dana Delany) was at her mother’s gravesite in Gotham. Bruce Wayne had overheard her talking to someone. There was no one around.
He sauntered over to the gravesite to ask if she had been talking to him. She hadn’t. She had been talking to her deceased mother.
When asked why, Andrea mentioned it helped her. She would talk to her mother out loud and imagine the advice her mother would give.
You may think I’m crazy but give this a try. The next time you have a problem you don’t understand or don’t know what to do next, start talking out loud. Imagine you’re having a conversation with someone. Listen to what your inner-self says.
You will be astonished by the insight you can gain from this. You have more in you than you know.
4. Don’t underestimate those around you:
Andrea showed up at Wayne Manor as Bruce was practicing Jiu-Jitsu. She made a joke about his practicing and Bruce retorted it takes years to master.
This is when Andrea made her move. She slid in quickly and took Bruce to the ground.
It was funny. It’s also a great example of how we can underestimate those around us.
Bruce underestimated Andrea. We underestimate our team members day in and day out.
Your team members are valuable. They have insight and tribal knowledge of the business.
Let them help you make your organization better. Listen to them. Learn from them. Grow from them.
5. Great relationships return value:
Batman had cultivated a great relationship with Commissioner James Gordon (Bob Hastings). This relationship held the police off when another officer wanted to go after Batman.
The officer confronted Gordon. He told him the police must go after Batman. Batman had gone off the deep end.
Gordon told the officer not to. Batman was a good guy. Batman wouldn’t kill.
The relationship Batman built with Gordon helped give him extra time.
What relationships are you building in your organization and outside of your organization? The relationships you are building today will be the relationships that get you through tomorrow.
Look for ways to build new relationships. You need relationships in your business, in your circle of friends, and in the community you live.
Build your relationships and watch your leadership value grow.
6. You don’t need much to start:
When another mob boss was offed, Batman noticed a chemical residue on the lawn. There wasn’t much residue left but he took a sample of what was there.
He wanted to examine the small sample. He figured if he could get the chemical makeup of it from the test, he could compare it to the chemical residue left on the windshield glass of Chuckie’s car.
We have to stop thinking we need the whole picture before we begin to move forward with a project. If we have a small picture of what we want to accomplish, we can begin to move towards the goal.
As we begin to take action, we can begin to expand the picture. We can get a clearer focus with each step we take.
Take the first step even if the full picture is cloudy. You don’t need much to start but you do need to start.
7. Mr. Carl Beaumont:
I’m never too busy for Andy and her friends.
Bruce and Andrea had made an impromptu visit to Carl’s place of business. Andrea wanted to introduce Bruce to her father, Carl.
The short notice would bother a lot of business leaders. Their time is valuable and their children should know it. The interruption of Andy and Bruce didn’t bother Carl. He welcomed it.
How often are you bothered by interruptions from your loved ones? Does it annoy you when they stop by unexpectedly or ask for something out of the blue?
I’m guilty of this. I can get annoyed when Pam steps into my office while I’m writing. It distracts me and I can get short with her.
I shouldn’t… But I do.
I can take a lesson from Carl. I can learn to welcome the interruptions from a loved one. You probably can as well.
Let’s learn to welcome our loved ones into our lives and what we do.
8. Great leaders can’t do sit by idly:
As Andrea and Bruce were walking out of Carl’s office building, Bruce sees a couple of thugs attacking a man. They’re looking to rob him.
Bruce hops into action. He goes after the thugs and tries to save the man and his money. He lays a couple of the thugs out but the thugs knock him to the ground.
When you see something wrong at the office or the production floor or the Slack channel, do you sit by idly or do you step in and take action?
All the great leaders I know will take action. They know they can’t sit by idly if there is something wrong. They have to show those they lead what is expected.
If we expect others to do what is right, we have to do what is right. Take action when you see the wrong thing happening.
9. Leaders will face failure:
Bruce attempted to stop the thugs. In the previous lesson, I mentioned the thugs knocked him down. This stopped Bruce from stoping the thugs from taking the man’s money.
He failed to save the day.
You will initiate initiatives that may not see fruition. You will believe you’ve faced failure. And you will have.
Failure, though, isn’t fatal. Failure is a part of the leadership journey.
When you fail, you can learn from the failure. You will see the what and why of the failure. From this, you can move forward and learn what not to do.
Is this a failure then? I don’t think so. Failure is a process to move you forward.
10. Bruce Wayne:
You are now. I’m changing the plan.
In a shocking event, Bruce Wayne had asked Andrea to marry him. This shocked Andrea as much as it did viewers of the movie. The bachelor was going to be tied down.
Andrea thought Bruce would never settle down. She had stepped into his life at an awkward time and wasn’t part of the plan.
Bruce understood this. Yet he knew he had control over the plan. He could change the plan.
Having plans is great. They give us a roadmap of the pathway to success.
However, we have to be willing to be flexible with our plans. We can’t stick so rigidly to a plan that there is no flex when something new comes into play.
Be willing to follow the plan. Also, be willing to flex the plan and change it if need be.
11. Make sure you do business with trustworthy people:
Salvatore Valestra (Abe Vigoda) was one of the last mob bosses the Phantasm was targeting. Sal knew this and figured he needed help. He went to the only man he knew could help him.
This man? The Joker (Mark Hamill).
We believe the Joker is going to help him. This changes when Andrea (who is Phantasm) enters Sal’s house and discovers Sal is dead.
We have to be cautious of the people we do business with. They can make us or break us.
I remember years ago I watched a webinar of someone I respected. They had a guest and the guest was rude and obnoxious.
The interaction of the guest turned me off of the guest and the person I respected.
Be cautious of who you do business with. If they’re untrustworthy, their reputation will rub off on you.
12. We often know the answers to our own questions:
Batman confronted Andrea about her role as Phantasm. He asked her what would vengeance solve.
Andrea knew the answer. Batman also knew the answer. Vengeance is what Bruce Wayne had been pursuing as Batman.
We’ll often question others with questions we’re dealing with internally. We don’t do this intentionally. We do this because our internal compass is trying to tell us something.
If you’re asking questions of those you lead, look at yourself. These questions are often an indicator of what we need to deal with ourselves.