Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Chaos Walking

A Reel Leadership Article

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Chaos Walking is based on a series of young adult novels. The movie sets up a great premise. What happens in a world where everyone can hear the thoughts of males? What happens when the thoughts of females cannot?

This is the premise of Chaos Walking. It sets up a great, interesting movie. One I think we can all learn from.

Movie poster from Chaos Walking featuring Daisy Ridley and Tom Holland with Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Chaos Walking overlayed

Starring Tom Holland (Spider-Man) as Todd, Daisy Ridley (Rey in the latest Star Wars trilogy) as Viola, Mads Mikkelsen as Mayor Prentiss, and Nick Jonas as Davy Prentiss Jr, the movie throws us into a world where only men remain until Viola shows up. This changes the land and we begin to realize things are not as we were told.

Today, we’ll dive into the leadership lessons in Chaos Walking. You will see how this movie can help you become a better leader. I hope you will enjoy it.

Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Chaos Walking

1. Todd:

Control your Noise.

Chaos Walking’s premise is that male’s thoughts can be heard and even seen by others. This causes quite the issue when someone thinks something out of place or wants to remain hidden.

Todd kept telling himself to control his Noise. Especially when others showed up. He didn’t want others to know what he was thinking.

We need to control our noise but for another reason. It’s not that we don’t want others to know what we’re thinking. It’s that we can think inappropriate things and we don’t need to broadcast those thoughts.

We need to be able to take our thoughts captive, as the Bible says. We need to be able to tell our thoughts what to do and what not to do.

Let’s learn to control our noise.

2. New environments change things:

Viola was with a party that was headed to the New World. It’s where Todd, Ben (Demian Bichir), Aaron/Preacher (David Oyelowo), Cillian (Kurt Sutter), and others were. It’s also the planet where everyone could hear men’s thoughts.

As Viola’s party’s ship entered into the New World’s atmosphere, things changed. The men’s thoughts were projected. The crew experienced something new.

Is your organization stuck? Have you stayed in the same office building, routines, etc?

It is time to change your environment. Changing where you are can change how your organization works. It can expose new thoughts and ideas. It can provide breakthroughs.

Give it a try.

3. Mayor Prentiss:

That must be overwhelming.

Mayor Prentiss, while a villain, realized how shocking it must be to experience everyone’s thoughts. The experience is overwhelming. He recognized this.

He talked Viola through it. He also tried to track her down.

New situations are challenging. They’re overwhelming.

Help your team to process new situations. Express your understanding of how difficult they can be. Doing this can help your team be more at ease when things change.

4. There are times a leader must leave:

Cillian was close to Todd. He was an adoptive parent of Todd. He loved Todd but realized Todd would have to leave if he wanted to help Viola.

Cillian was willing to let Todd go. He couldn’t keep him there. He also knew it would help someone else if Todd left.

Leaders, we cannot stay in an organization forever. Even if this is something we desire, it is not good for the organization or us.

Know when it is time to leave. Then leave.

5. Leading has a cost:

Cillian led in a way. He stood up to the villain. For this, he was shot.

This exposes a leadership truth. Leading has a cost. Standing up for what is right, even more so.

Be ready to pay a cost to lead. Leading isn’t free. It often will cost you a lot.

Know there is a price. Know how much you’re willing to pay.

6. It’s okay to doubt:

Todd went and helped Viola. He began to lead her to a rumored settlement. But, along the way, something happened.

Todd began to doubt. He questioned whether or not he was doing the right thing.

In the end, Todd finished his journey. He helped Viola contact her people.

Leaders, it is okay to doubt. Doubt is a natural aspect of leading.

You’re going to wander into situations where you’re ill-equipped, not ready, or just don’t know what to do. This is often when doubt creeps in.

Be okay with the doubt. But don’t let doubt stop you.

You can lead through the doubt.

7. Leadership is strange:

For Viola, it was strange to hear the thoughts of others. It was an experience she had never had before.

For Todd, it was strange not to hear someone’s thoughts. He had lived hearing thoughts for so long, and it was a strange void.

Let’s be honest. Leadership is strange.

We’re leading people of all different backgrounds. We don’t know their thoughts. Many times, we don’t know their motivations. It is strange.

Yet, it is something we do.

Let leadership be strange. Be okay with not knowing motivations or full backgrounds.

8. Viola:

Do you believe everything that guy (Mayor Prentiss) says?

The story that was passed down to Todd was that the Spackle had killed all women in the New World. It’s a theory Todd believed.

Viola found it difficult to believe. Especially when they had to battle a Spackle.

Her question raised doubts in Todd. Those doubts were eventually shown to be justified.

Is it okay to question those you lead? Is it okay to question those you report to?

There are times it is absolutely appropriate to question those in a leadership position.

Leaders can easily let their power go to their heads. They can use their power to hide the truth, as Mayor Prentiss did.

I like to say, “Trust but verify.”

9. Squash the threats:

Matthew (Ray McKinnon) had come from where Todd lived (Prentisstown). He found a new home in Fog Town(?).

When Todd and Viola arrived there, Matthew threatened Todd. He told him he needed to go back to Prentisstown.

This is when Mayor Hildy (Cynthia Erivo) stepped in. She told Matthew that there would be no threats in the town.

Leaders have to stand up to team members who threaten others. Threats cannot be tolerated in great organizations.

Work on getting rid of threatening situations. Make it a culture where threats are not tolerated.

10. Hildy:

People are scared of things they don’t know.

This is such great insight from Hildy. She recognizes why people are scared.

What scares people are the things they don’t know. Not knowing who someone is or what something does can cause a lot of anxiety and fear.

Help people through the process of introducing new people or new initiatives. Walk through it with them. Help them to get to know what is coming.

You can alleviate a lot of fear if you do this.

11. We help others even if we don’t want to lose them:

Todd helped Viola get to a ship that could send a message to her people. Todd thought this meant Viola would leave.

He didn’t want her to go. He wanted her to stay. He really liked her.

Still, he knew what was right. He knew he had to help her. So, he pushed forward with the mission and helped reconnect the broken antenna to broadcast the message.

Leadership is about growth and letting go. We help build our team. We give them the tools and knowledge to succeed. And then, we have to be willing to let them go.

We cannot hold onto our best talent. We have to give them the freedom to leave.

Sometimes, you will be surprised and, because of your willingness to lose them, they will stay.

12. A bad leader leads their people down a road they should never go:

The truth came out about Mayor Prentiss. He had the men of Prentisstown kill all of the women.

Because of his urging, the men did something most of them would never do. Murder…

Bad leaders encourage inappropriate behavior. They lead people down a road they should never go.

Make sure the road you’re leading your team isn’t a bad one. Lead them down the right road.

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