Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Charlie’s Angels 2019

They’ve returned after a sixteen-year absence. The Angels have returned. To be honest, I’m not sure their return was a good thing but it has happened.

Critics have panned the latest Charlie’s Angels movie. Moviegoers are avoiding the new movie. And the movie has failed to live up to the hype.

Does this make the latest Charlie’s Angels movie a bad movie? No, not really. I actually enjoyed the newest film in the series.

Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott, and Ella Balinska in Charlie's Angels 2019

While cheesy, it is what you expect from a Charlie’s Angel movie. Three women, fighting crime, and a plot twist. You get what you pay for with this movie.

But you can get more out of Charlie’s Angels than a few cheap thrills. You can pull leadership lessons from Charlie’s Angels. I hope you’ll give the movie a shot. I think you might be surprised despite the hate the movie has received.

Today, we’re going to examine Charlie’s Angels for the leadership lessons contained in the movie. Let’s get to it.

Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Charlie’s Angels

1. Be careful of distractions:

Charlie’s Angels 2019 (as I like to call it) opens with Sabina Wilson (Kristen Stewart) trying to seduce Jonny Smith (Chris Pang) in Rio de Janeiro. This is all part of a sting operation to bring Jonny and his crew to justice.

Sabina knew two things. First, her looks would distract Jonny and his men. The second was her gender would make her seem less of a threat to the men.

Her seduction and charm were distractions. These distractions were costly to Jonny.

Leaders will have distractions abound. New leadership techniques, new opportunities, and new technology will pull you away from what is important.

Know what is important to you and your organization. Focus on those things. Push the distractions away.

2. On-time is late:

Elena Houghlin (Naomi Scott) was a systems engineer at a technology company. She was trying to alert her boss, Peter Fleming (Nat Faxon), of a flaw in the new Callisto technology they had developed. When she showed up to her appointment with Peter, the receptionist told Elena she was late.

Elena was confused. Her meeting was at nine. She was there at nine. She was on time. Right?


You have to respect the time of those you lead and those you’re doing business with. Your time is valuable. So is theirs.

Arriving on time may seem like the right thing to do. However, arriving a few minutes early gives you time to get ready, get comfortable, and start the meeting on time.

Know arriving at the start time isn’t on time. It is late.

3. Create new leaders:

John Bosley (Patrick Stewart) was going to retire. In this scene, we’re shown there are actually multiple Bosley’s. Some are men. Others are women. All were Bosley’s.

Each Bosley led a wing of the Angels. They were the head of their wings and they were all leaders in the Townsend Agency.

The Townsend Agency didn’t always have multiple Bosleys. This happened over time. They saw the need for their agency to be more than one man or woman. There had to be multiple leaders in the organization.

If you don’t see the need to raise and create new leaders, you’re missing the point of being a leader. The point of being a leader isn’t to grow an organization or become wealthy, though neither is bad. The point of being a leader is to inspire and create new leaders.

You won’t be around forever. Neither will the next generation of leaders. Therefore, you must be willing to create your replacement and help your replacement realize the need to create new leaders below them.

Work towards creating more leaders.

4. Edgar Bosley (Djimon Hounsou):

Are you sure you want to take this risk?

Edgar was another Bosley in the Townsend Agency. He also was the Bosley that was meeting with Elena after her failed attempt to make those in Brok Industries aware of the fatal flaw in Callisto.

She met with Edgar in the hopes of making people aware of the danger of this new technology. She wanted to expose it.

Edgar knew there was a risk inherent in blowing the whistle on a project of this magnitude. He wanted to make sure Elena was ready for the risk.

Leadership is risky. There’s danger in building up new leaders, growing an organization, and being the face of a company.

You become a target. You become someone others will attack.

Are you ready to take the risk?

5. Rebekah Bosley (Elizabeth Banks):

Hugs work.

Jane Kano (Ella Balinska) and Sabina were working undercover at a cafe as Elena was meeting with Edgar. The meet goes sideways when an assassin, Hodak (Jonathan Tucker), is exposed and begins to attack Elena.

The attack sent the women into action. They began to fight Hodak and got him outside of the cafe. A chase ensued and the women almost lost the fight.

After the pursuit and fight, Rebekah, a former Charlie’s Angel herself, pulls up. She tells the Angels that “Hugs work” to help calm them down.

Great leaders take note of issues. They notice when their team members are upset or hurting. They seek to calm down the situation.

Look for ways in which you can help your team calm down or become more comfortable. The more you do to help alleviate their anxiety and issues, the more they can focus on their work.

6. Great leaders try not to hurt others:

Elena had to overload the Callisto unit she had. She did this in an area she thought was safe. It wasn’t.

Ralph (David Schütter), a man she worked with, appeared. He was within the blast range of the Callisto device.

Seeing this, she ran to him and tried to warn him. He wouldn’t listen. He got caught in the blast.

Despite this, Elena did her best to keep him safe. She warned him and tried to get him to safety.

Great leaders know there may be danger. Danger to reputations, danger to family units, and danger to others.

These dangers aren’t always apparent. They come and go. They can be from overwork, a project gone bad, or other situations that come up.

Great leaders work to minimize the damage done on the projects they lead. Help your team to avoid dangerous situations.

7. We all have issues:

Sabina and Jane began to talk about their pasts. They shared about the crummy lives they had lived. They opened up and were honest in front of Elena.

Their openness showed Elena she wasn’t alone. People all have issues.

I’ll be the first to admit I’ve got issues. I do things that frustrate my wife, I’ve been kicked out of a church, and I have regrets. Yeah, I’ve got issues.

If you’re honest, you’ll admit you have issues too.

Don’t act high and mighty. Don’t act like you don’t have issues. You do. So does everyone else.

Your issues don’t make you less of a leader. Your issues will make you more relatable.

8. Rebekah Bosley:

Tattoos are earned.

The Angels have subdermal tattoos that act as a communication device. Elena saw these and thought she was going to get one. She was wrong.

Bosley told Elena she hadn’t earned a tattoo yet. She would be getting a bracelet to communicate with the other angels.

Leadership is earned. You don’t become a leader because you’re given a title or have moved up in rank. You become a leader when you’ve earned it.

Leadership is earned when you’ve positively influenced others. Leadership is earned when you go above and beyond. Leadership is earned when you don’t shy away from the hard things.

9. Your lack of follow-through hurts others:

We’re introduced to a woman named Fatima Ahmed (Marie-Lou Sellem). Fatima is a woman Jane had worked with previously during her time in MI-6.

Sadly, Jane had promised Fatima something. Jane didn’t follow through. Fatima lost her clinic.

Jane’s lack of follow-through hurt Fatima. Fatima paid the price.

When you make promises to those you lead, make sure you follow through with those promises. People are counting on you. Your follow-through will help your team succeed.

10. Elena:

I want to help.

Elena saw the other Angels going to the derby. She didn’t want to stay behind. She wanted to help. So… Elena spoke up.

She let the other Angels know she was there. She let them know she was ready and willing to help.

This is what great leaders do when it is their time. They speak up. They let others know they are there. And they offer their help.

Make sure you’re helping when and where you can. Your willingness to help will help others see you as a leader.

11. Know your competition:

Jane and Hodak squared off. Jane had watched Hodak. She knew Hodak had a specific set of moves… Seven moves, to be exact.

Knowing this, she fought him. She began to lure him to the edge. There, she tossed him over the edge and he fell to his death.

If you study your competition, you can learn about their moves. You can figure out how they will react and what they will do in each kind of situation you can put them in.

Learn their moves. Then use their moves to help you succeed.

12. Surround yourself with good people:

As the movie neared its end, the Angels crashed a party. There, they took out the bad guys but Sabina, Jane, Rebekah, and Elena were in danger.

Or were they?

It may have looked as though these four Angels were alone. They weren’t. They were surrounded by other Angels.

These Angels helped Sabina, Jane, Rebekah, and Elena take out the rest of the bad guys. Without their help, they could have been in hot water. However, they were surrounded by other Angels and were able to save the day.

Who are you surrounding yourself with? Are they people you can count on in times of trouble or will they flake out on you when you are in need?

Make sure you’re building relationships with people who are for others, not themselves. These will be the people you can count on when times are tough.

13. Stop blaming others:

I hesitated to see the latest Charlie’s Angels because of the comments of Elizabeth Banks. In an interview with the Herald Sun, Banks said

If this movie doesn’t make money it reinforces a stereotype in Hollywood that men don’t go see women do action movies.

Banks was already blaming someone for the possible failure of her movie. She blamed men and said men don’t go see women action movies. I don’t know where Banks has been but there have been plenty of successful women action movies. A few successful women action movies are:

  • Terminator
  • Wonder Woman
  • Captain Marvel
  • Tomb Raider
  • The original Charlie’s Angels movies
  • Kill Bill (Fun fact, this was the first movie Pam and I saw together)
  • Alien
  • And many others…

Charlie’s Angels wasn’t going to bomb because it was a female-led action movie. The movie was going to bomb because it didn’t look interesting and it’s been done before.

Banks was looking for someone to blame. You may be looking for someone to blame when things don’t go well.

Be careful if you’re going to blame others. Blaming others doesn’t make you look better. Blaming others makes you look petty and that you’re unwilling to accept responsibility.

Great leaders know they have to accept responsibility for the outcome of their leadership. Accept responsibility and move on.

Question: If you’ve watched Charlie’s Angels, what leadership lessons did you take away from the movie? If you haven’t seen the movie, what Reel Leadership lessons from Charlie’s Angels that I shared resonated with you? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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