I was a huge fan of the Playstation 2 video game Dynasty Warriors 2. Hearing that Netflix had released a movie based on the series, my interest was piqued. I was excited to watch a video game from my youth transition to a live-action movie.
Dynasty Warriors began with an epic battle. Sadly, it ended with a whimper. My desire for a massive, large-scale battle didn’t materialize. My wife even walked away from the movie.
This doesn’t mean that there’s nothing to learn from the movie. There is. There is always something we can learn from a movie, even a movie we don’t enjoy.
Sadly, Dynasty Warriors was a movie I did not enjoy. Still, I painfully watched the 2-hour long movie so I could bring you the leadership lessons from Dynasty Warriors.
I hope you’re happy.
Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Dynasty Warriors
1. Leaders continue to move forward despite adversity:
Dong Zhuo (Suet Lam) was attacked by the Yellow Turbans. He and his horse were being overwhelmed by the Yellow Turbans as they piled onto his horse.
He could have easily given up. He didn’t. Instead, he continued to move forward despite the adversity he was facing.
Leaders will face adversity. At times, it will feel overwhelming. We will want to give up.
We can’t. Leaders move forward despite the adversity they face. They keep going. It’s what leaders do.
2. Liu Bei (Tony Yo-ning Yang):
The three of us carry no official rank or title.
Liu Bei and his unofficial brothers, Guan Yu (Geng Han) and Zhang Fei (Justin Cheung), had volunteered for military service to fight the threat facing their country. The generals asked them who they were, what their rank was, etc…
The answer Bei gave surprised them. They were nobodies. They had no title.
Could they use them? The generals didn’t think so… But, in the end, the three brothers were vital in winning the war.
We can fret over our education, our titles, or our family lineage. We can think we’re not enough because of a lack of title.
I want to encourage you today. A title only goes so far. What really matters are the actions you take and how you treat people.
Do this well and you will be a leader.
3. Bad leaders want to hear the answers they desire:
Dong Zhou began to ask questions of those around him. Whenever he would ask the question, he would begin to answer the question for them. If the person began to answer differently, he questioned whether it was what they really meant.
He didn’t want to hear differing opinions. He wanted his ideas reinforced.
This goes against what great leaders do. Great leaders are willing to listen to respectful discourse and opposing ideas.
They know hearing a different perspective could give them the insight they’ve been looking for. Allow others to have a difference of opinion.
4. Leaders can regret their decisions:
Liu Bei, Guan Yu, and Zhang Fei saved Dong from imminent death. In the moment, they felt like this was the right thing to do. Honestly, it was the right thing to do.
However, down the line, Dong changed. He became a major villain in Dynasty Warriors. He caused chaos and death. He was the epitome of a bad guy.
This caused the brothers to regret their decision.
Leaders have to make hundreds and thousands of decisions over the course of their careers. Many times, they will make decisions they are pleased with. Sometimes, though, the decision they make is not the correct one.
It is okay to regret a decision you make. You are not perfect. Your track record will not be 100%.
When you make a decision you regret, don’t let it hold you back.
5. Dong Zhuo:
Why would he want to assassinate me?
Dong Zhuo was told someone he thought was friendly wanted to kill him. That man was Cao Cao (Kai Wang).
Dong believed he was untouchable. No one would want to kill him. But people had a reason to want him dead.
Dong was a traitor. He went against the emperor. To them, Dong deserved death.
We can be blind to the reasons people dislike us. We can easily believe we’re always doing the right thing. Even if we’re not.
We fail. We make bad decisions. We make selfish decisions.
When we begin to make selfish decisions, people will begin to question us. They may even want us ousted from our position.
There is always a reason behind another person’s actions. Discover them.
6. Leaders can dig a hole they cannot escape from:
Cao sought refuge with a family friend. The family friend took Cao in. He was going to feed him. He was going to care for him.
Then Cao became paranoid.
Cao believed the family friend and his family were going to kill him. He took action and slaughtered the man’s family while the father was away.
After killing the family, Cao left. On his journey, Cao ran into the father.
This is when Cao dug his hole deeper.
Cao realized his mistake. But when he ran into the father, he murdered him as well. He kept digging his hole deeper.
When we make mistakes in our leadership, we have a choice to make. We can own up. We can say we screwed up. Or, we can try to cover it up.
We do this through cooking the books, telling more lies, or leaving. The holes we dig are the holes we have to climb out of.
Be careful not to dig a deep hole.
7. Bad leaders can still do good things:
Lu Bu (Louis Koo) saw a young woman, Diao Chan (Coulee Nazha), walking into the river. Her plan was to commit suicide to avoid marrying someone she didn’t want to marry.
Lu Bu saved the young woman. He promised to take care of her. He would help her live a free life.
Despite being a bad guy, Lu Bu still was able to do good.
We think all bad people are inherently bad. There’s no redemptive quality in them.
We are wrong when we think in these type of absolutes.
People are difficult. They are ever-changing. They are fluid.
We have to be willing to see the good in the people we lead and the people who lead us. We then have to help them cultivate that good.
8. Bad leaders leave others behind:
Dong Zhuo heard that the remaining general’s armies were closing in on him. What did he do? He told his people to take all the valuables and clear out of town.
What did this do? This left the people of the town vulnerable and broke.
Dong Zhuo saw nothing unethical about this. Yet it was.
Great leaders know they cannot leave people behind. Great leaders know they do not fend only for themselves. They fend for those they lead.
Don’t leave people behind. Find a way to take care of them. It’s your responsibility.