Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Cry Macho

A Reel Leadership Article

Cry Macho is the new Clint Eastwood movie. It stars Clint as cowboy Mike Milo. He’s old and well past his prime in the cowboy circuit.

Due to a favor owed to rodeo promoter Howard Polk (Dwight Yoakam), Mike agrees to go to Mexico to pick up Howard’s estranged son, Rafo (Eduardo Minett). The journey is slow but touching. It shows growth between the hurting Mike and the distrusting Rafo. In the end, the story concludes on a bittersweet note.

Clint Eastwood in Cry Macho

There’s nothing unexpected in Cry Macho. It is a typical, aging Clint Eastwood movie. That’s not a bad thing by any stretch of the imagination. The movie is engaging and enduring.

Today, we’re going to look at the leadership lessons in Cry Macho. We’re going to see how Clint’s latest flick can help us become a better leader.

Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Cry Macho

1. Mike:

Ain’t got nothing worth stealing.

Mike had left his home’s doors unlocked. Howard had entered the home while Mike was away.

Howard asked Mike if he no longer locked his doors. Mike’s answer was confident. There was nothing worth stealing in the home. Why lock it?

Mike knew the value of his belongings. He wasn’t striving to keep them safe. He was okay if they came up missing.

What does this have to do with leadership? We have to know our value.

What do you bring to the organization? Are you a connector? Do you make your team feel valued? Are you willing to go the extra mile?

Knowing what your value is will help you lead better. It will help you communicate what you can do and why.

2. Bad leaders use guilt to lead:

Howard had supported Mike long after he should have. Mike’s skills and drive deteriorated after his horse-riding accident and an accident that killed his wife and child.

Mike was a broken man. He was riding on borrowed loyalty.

Howard was willing to support him. However, years later, Howard was going to use the help he gave to guilt Mike into helping him.

Howard recalled all that he had done for Mike. He then asked Mike to go to Mexico to retrieve his son. The guilt made Mike agree to go.

Let’s not be a Howard-like leader. We can do better than using guilt to manipulate people into doing what we want.

Instead, you can motivate your team to get the job done by discovering their reasons for working. When you do, you can help connect their reason to the work they do.

3. Leaders know they have to keep a clear mind:

Rafo’s mom, Leta (Fernanda Urrejola), questioned Mike. She wanted to know why he had entered her home.

Once she was satisfied, Leta offered Mike a drink. Mike turned down the drink.

He had a job to do. He wanted to do the job with a clear mind.

We have to be careful what we put into our minds and our bodies. When we begin to put unhealthy things into our bodies, our bodies will react to it.

This could be alcohol during working hours. It could be fatty, sugar-filled food.

Be careful what you’re feeling yourself with if you want to keep a clear mind.

4. Mike:

You can watch that macho stuff. No one likes that.

Rafo talked a lot about being macho. He liked the thought of being macho so much, he named his cock-fighting rooster Macho.

While Rafo was waxing eloquent about being macho, Mike put a stop to it. Mike shared with him no one wants to hear how macho someone is. It’s not something someone should brag about.

Do you brag about your accomplishments? Do you tell people how amazingly well you lead?

Be careful in puffing yourself up too much. No one likes it.

5. There is a time to change course:

While driving with Rafo, Mike came upon a Mexican Federale roadblock. This concerned Mike.

What did Mike do? He didn’t keep going along the same path. He saw the roadblock, turned away from it, and then kept heading toward his goal.

What do you do when you see a roadblock? Are you willing to change course?

Great leaders know there is a time to change the way they’re going. They’re willing to turn so they can avoid trouble.

Know when to stay the course and when to change course.

6. Rafo:

Who am I then, Mike?

Rafo tried to talk proudly about how he was fully Mexican. There was a problem. Rafo wasn’t 100% Mexican.

Mike told Rafo that he was part gringo and part Mexican. This threw Rafo for a loop.

Rafo no longer knew his complete identity. He was confused. He wanted to know who he was.

Leaders can be confused like Rafo. When a career shift happens or a business closes, a leader can wonder who he is.

We have to be confident in who we are, not what we do. Identity doesn’t come from our work. Our identity comes from who we are.

7. Take a nap:

Mike and Rafo stopped at a small restaurant in a Mexican city. The owner, Marta (Natalia Traven), fed the pair.

After their meal, Mike took off his hat and began to lay down. Rafo wondered what Mike was doing.

Mike was clear. He needed to rest. He was going to take a siesta.

Sadly, we’ve been taught that it can be a shameful thing to need rest. It is not shameful to get rest. We all need it. Especially after the last couple of years.

Will you be willing to take care of your body? If so, take regular naps. It will recharge you and keep you fresh for the whole day.

8. Trust is earned:

Rafo had a hard time trusting people. In fact, he told Mike that he trusted no one. This changed with Marta.

When Mike awoke, he discovered Rafo had told Marta the truth of their journey. He had opened up to this stranger that had somehow earned his trust.

Trust is earned. You cannot expect to step into someone’s life and have trust given to you. You earn the trust by consistent, faithful actions.

Earn the trust of your team. Work on showing yourself trustworthy. Soon, you will get to hear their stories and gain their loyalty.

9. Mike:

We did it. We did it, partner.

In the town where Marta lived, there was a business that tamed wild horses. There were a few the owner had trouble taming. This is where Mike and Rafo stepped up.

Mike began to work on the horses. His gentle spirit helped tame the horses. Rafo also helped but he wasn’t sure what he was doing.

When they finally broke a beautiful, white horse, Rafo got excited that Mike had tamed the horse. Mike’s response wasn’t that he had tamed the horse. His response was that they had tamed the horse.

Leaders know when to take credit and when to give credit. Leaders praise their team and give them the credit more often than not. They help their team accomplish the mission but give the credit away.

Are you willing to give the credit away? Do you hog the glory? Great leaders give credit. Bad leaders take the glory.

10. Mike:

This macho thing is overrated, you think you have all the answers, but then you get older and realize you don’t have any. By the time you figure it out, it’s too late.

Mike knew he didn’t have all the answers. He was old enough to finally realize this.

I loved Mike’s brokenness, his contriteness in this quote. He summed up life.

We want to have all the answers. We want to be macho. We want to be somebody.

The older we get, the more we begin to realize this isn’t what is important in life. We don’t have the answers. We’re not really macho. If we’re nobody, that’s okay.

Let’s stop being macho leaders. Let’s be leaders who know what is valuable in life.

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