Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Beverly Hills Ninja

Logo for Reel Leadership

Beverly Hills Ninja was one of Chris Farley’s last movies. There were only two other movies released after this that the funny man starred in.

Prior to writing this article, I’d never watched Beverly Hills Ninja. After watching the movie, I am sad I did not watch it.

Beverly Hills Ninja was a great piece of physical comedy film.

Chris Farley as Haru in Beverly Hills Ninja. Doing a Ninja move.

Buy Beverly Hills Ninja at Amazon.

Farley plays an inept ninja named Haru. He washed up on the shore and a ninja clan took him in. They believed he would fulfill the prophecy of the great white ninja.

Boy, were they ever wrong.

This didn’t stop Haru from trying to become a great ninja. He tried, tried, and tried some more. All of his hard work never paid off. It only got him deeper into trouble.

By the end of the movie, something changed. Haru did succeed in becoming a ninja.

Mixed with comedy, Beverly Hills Ninja helps us see something. The movie helps us see that we can improve and become better. That’s not the only lesson in Beverly Hills Ninja. Beverly Hills Ninja is chock full of leadership lessons. Today, we will dig into those lessons.

Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Beverly Hills Ninja

1. Great leaders are dedicated:

Beverly Hills Ninja opens with a narration of the ninja clan we would soon be seeing. He tells viewers that there is a clan of warriors who have dedicated their lives to the art of the ninja.

These ninja warriors weren’t partially committed or dedicated. These men were completely dedicated to their art.

Great leaders are like the ninjas in this movie. They know they have to dedicate their lives to learning, growing, and becoming better in the art of leadership.

They are unwilling to compromise. They go above and beyond what many would consider reasonable. They are willing to live a life that people would recognize as one a leader would live.

2. Expect the truth from your team members:

Sensei (Soon-Tek Oh) asked Gobei (Robin Shou) what he thought of Haru. Gobei said very kind things at first.

Sensei cut him off. He told Gobei he needed to know the true feelings of Gobei.

Gobei began to open up about Haru’s failures. He began to speak truthfully.

The conversation looks like this:

Gobei: I love my little brother. His determination is like a tiger, swift as a…

Sensei : GOBEI.

Gobei : He’s fat. He’s a fool. He’s an embarassment to all ninjas everywhere.

We have to desire for our team members to speak freely and honestly to us. We cannot do this while wanting to hear only the nice things.

Give your team members permission to speak the truth. You will hear what needs to be said when you do.

3. Great leaders are happy for other people’s success:

Sensei passed out medallions to those who were being named ninjas. Gobei received a medallion. The other ninjas did too.

Well… except for Haru. He didn’t receive a medallion or the title of a ninja.

Haru did something big, bold, and brave. He didn’t bemoan the fact that he didn’t get the title. Rather, he went to Gobei and celebrated with him. While he was sad for himself, he was excited for the person he considered his brother.

What do you do when you see other people recognized for their work while your hard work is ignored and goes unappreciated? Do you celebrate with those other men and women? Do you complain that you went unnoticed?

While Haru was a goofball, let’s learn to be more like him. We can watch his actions and learn to be happy when someone else succeeds.

I want to challenge you to congratulate someone today. Let them know how happy you are for what they’ve accomplished.

4. Leaders look foolish when they claim to know something they do not:

Allison Page (Nicollette Sheridan), who first introduces herself as Sally Jones, approaches Haru at the ninja dojo. She tells him she needs a ninja for a stealth mission.

She believes her boyfriend, Martin Tanley (Nathaniel Parker), is into shady things. She needs someone to keep tabs on him.

Haru tells her he’s her man. He is a ninja. He will be the one to watch Martin in secrecy.

Only he wasn’t. As he tried to show his skills to Allison, he makes a fool of himself. He bungles every move he tries to show her. It was humiliating.

We can look like Haru. We do this by trying to do everything ourselves. It happens when we’re unwilling to admit the things we cannot do.

We fumble over what would be simple tasks for someone more skilled in the knowledge of the task. We do this because we’re afraid to say we aren’t good.

Let’s stop doing that. Let’s start admitting our weaknesses and helping other people shine.

5. Sensei:

It is you who needs help.

Haru tells Sensei there is a woman who needs help. He wants to help her. His Sensei stops him.

Instead of the woman needing help, Sensei tells Haru he needs help.

Leaders have to speak hard truths to their team members at times. While Allison did need help, Haru needed help as well.

You have seen team members like this. They have the desire and drive to help. They also lack the skills or talents to actually help.

Be willing to be frank with your team members. They need to hear the truth just as we need to hear the truth.

Deliver the truth in gentleness but deliver the truth.

6. Give people shadows:

Sensei knew Haru would get into trouble if he went to Beverly Hills by himself. He told Gobei to follow Haru. To be Haru’s shadow. To not let Haru know he was there.

Gobei followed his Sensei’s advice. He went to Beverly Hills. He protected Haru.

We can’t be like Sensei and have someone shadow a team member without their knowledge. What we can do is to help a team member grow by giving them a shadow.

Find someone who is further along in their knowledge and ask them to do a reverse job shadow. This would have the team member there to help another team member better understand the position’s intricacies. He could watch what the team member is doing, give him instruction, and let the team member do the job.

Doing this will help increase the confidence of the team member being instructed. It also helps the shadow learn how to instruct and guide others.

It helps multiple team members become better.

7. Desperate people will follow anyone:

Joey Washington (Chris Rock) was a valet for the Beverly Hills Hotel Haru stayed. He was a wimpy young man who complained about a lot.

He also was a runner. His constant state was of running from something. He didn’t like this.

After Haru told him he was a ninja, Joey was excited. He wanted to be taught by Haru.

Yeah… you chose a mentor who wasn’t quite yet there.

Joey was desperate to learn how to protect himself. He jumped into a situation where he would be taught by someone who wasn’t what he said he was.

If you’ve been on the internet long enough, you know there are plenty of people like Joey. They look for a mentor and they jump at the first one that shows up.

This mentor isn’t always who they say they are. They haven’t accomplished what they say they’ve done. Or they may have just started doing what they’re teaching.

Beware of following the wrong person.

8. Sensei:

Haru, you must stop comparing yourself to Gobei.

Haru had a big problem. He was constantly comparing himself to Gobei.

There was no way Haru could compare to Gobei. He couldn’t be Gobei.

Haru could only be himself.

We’ve got to get over the comparison trap. It’s one that will hold you captive. It will keep you stuck.

You are not Michael Hyatt, Brian Dodd, Tyler Reagin, or any other leader out there. You are you.

Make sure you’re leading with your own unique style. This is when you will see great success.

9. Heart matters:

Haru compared himself to Gobei. He saw Gobei’s skill and wanted that.

Haru actually had something Gobei did not. Haru had heart.

This meant Haru would keep getting back up. He would keep pursuing things even if he wasn’t good at them.

Haru had the heart of a ninja. The skill would follow.

Leaders can have all the skills in the world. If they lack heart, they lack a crucial piece of leadership.

Heart will help you get through the trials of leadership. It will help you keep going when things seem bleak.

Yes, leaders need skill. They also need heart.

Heart matters.

10. Haru:

I may not be a great ninja; I may not be one with the universe; but I will say this: NO ONE MESSES WITH MY BROTHER.

Haru eventually realizes he may not be the greatest ninja. He may not be one with the universe.

This is when Haru becomes a ninja.

By giving up the desire to be great, he realizes his potential because he realizes what he is fighting for. He is fighting for his brother.

It’s okay to admit you’re not the greatest leader. Why? Because there’s a lot of leaders who are better than you.

However, you can be a great leader. You become one when you realize what you’re leading for.

Find your purpose, and you will find your greatness.

11. Haru:

You made me believe in myself.

Haru had a difficult time believing in himself. It was only with the help of Sensei that he began to believe he could be a great ninja.

Sensei helped him realize his potential.

Let’s all be a bit more like Sensei. Let’s help our team members begin to believe in themselves.

You can do this by encouraging them when they do something well. You can watch and praise their actions.

Leaders who praise the positive things their team members do help their team members believe in themselves. Be a leader who helps team members see their potential!

If you enjoyed this Reel Leadership article, you may enjoy our collection of Reel Leadership articles eBook. You can get this eBook for free by signing up for updates by clicking here.
Follow Me

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.