Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Eternals

A Reel Leadership Article

The Eternals is the latest film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It stars Angelina Jolie as Thena, Gemma Chan as Sersi, Richard Madden as Ikaris, Salma Hayek as Ajak, Kumail Nanjiani as Kingo, Brian Tyree Henry as Phastos, Lia McHugh as Sprite, Lauden Ridloff as Makkari, Barry Keoghan as Druig, and Ma Dong-seok as Gilgamesh.

I really had no history of the Eternals going into the film. Leaving the film, I still felt like I had no connection or history of these characters. The movie fell flat, in my opinion. If you do want to learn more about the Eternals, I suggest picking up the complete Jack Kirby collection on Amazon.

Line up of the Eternals characters

However, Eternals does open the Marvel Cinematic Universe to multiple characters that weren’t major players in the film. This was the most exciting part of Eternals to me: The new characters including the voice of a dhampir.

Even though Eternals didn’t move the dial much for me, or the Marvel universe, there are plenty of leadership lessons in Eternals. Today, we’re going to take a look at those lessons and how you can apply them to your leadership.

Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Eternals

1. Great leaders return things better than they received them:

A young boy and his father were attacked while fishing. Deviants, the bad guys in Eternals, rose from the waters and killed the boy’s father. The young boy was distracted and almost killed by one as well.

The boy dropped a knife during the attack. After the Eternals stopped the attack, one of the Eternals picked up the knife, transmorphed it into gold, and returned it to the boy.

Great leaders don’t just give things to their team members. They find ways to make them better.

What are you giving to your team? How can you make it better?

Think about this the next time you give your team something. You can make it better.

2. Leaders focus on others:

Sersi was a teacher when an earthquake hit. She began telling her students to get underneath their desks.

She helped them get there. Then, one student, was in the path of a piece of wall art falling. Sersi stopped the falling piece of art.

All of this was done while she was still in danger. She focused on those she was leading. She was making sure they were okay.

Do you focus on others (those you lead)? Or do you focus on yourself and what you get out of leading?

Great leaders take the focus off of themselves. They look at others and see how they can help them.

Be a leader who helps others.

3. Sprite:

You better tell him the truth, then.

Sprite and Sersi were talking. They were talking about whether or not Sersi loved Dane Whitman (Kit Harington). The conclusion was that she did.

Sprite encouraged Sersi to tell Dane the truth. She needed to come clean with the fact that she loved him.

While I don’t want to encourage you to tell your team that you inappropriately love them, I do want to encourage you to tell your team the truth.

Leaders can hide the truth from those they lead. They believe it is keeping pain from them or that they can’t handle the truth.

The truth is that your team needs to hear the truth from you. If they don’t hear it from you, they will hear it from someone else. This will erode any trust you’ve built with your team.

4. People won’t understand the thoughts of a leader:

Phastos was a genius. He could create new creations never before seen. One of those creations was a steam-powered engine.

He showed Ajak his design. She didn’t understand it. It was too advanced.

Leaders can have the same problem Phastos did. Their minds think in different ways than the traditional person. They think leaps and bounds ahead.

Don’t be afraid if people don’t understand your ideas. They are still valuable. You only have to tweak them to help them understand what you’re trying to do.

5. Sprite:

Could our mission be a mistake?

Thena had lost control. Her memory went wonky and she began to attack the other Eternals.

Sprite had a moment of doubt. She wondered if their mission was a mistake. If something wasn’t right…

Leaders, it is okay to doubt your mission. It is okay to doubt your vision.

Doing so doesn’t diminish the value of either one. Rather, it can help you clarify your mission or vision.

When you doubt, look into the doubt. Why are you doubting? What can the doubt help you understand?

You will be shocked!

6. Gilgamesh:

Maybe you’re just trying too hard. Sometimes you have to listen.

Arishem (David Kaye) had been giving the Eternals instructions throughout history. His voice had lead them to where they were today.

After Ajak died, Sersi received the power that was within her. Part of the power was to hear from Arishem.

Sersi struggled to hear from him. Gilgamesh offered up a solution. Maybe Sersi was trying too hard to speak to him. Maybe she needed to listen.

Now, this never happens to a leader, right? We never try to communicate without listening…

Yeah, right!

We do this a lot. We need to get better at listening rather than communicating.

Work on your listening skills this week. Hear what your wife, your son, or your team member is trying to tell you.

7. Leaders drop hints (they also explain):

While visiting Druig, Sersi received a phone call from Dane. All we’d known up until this point was that he and Sersi had dated.

When he called, the audience got to see the caller ID. The caller ID stated the call was from Dane Whitman. For comic book fans, this was huge.

Dane Whitman was the third Black Knight character in the comic books. Whoa!

This was a hint of what was to come (did you stick around for the stingers?).

We have to be willing to be straightforward. We also have to learn how to drop the proper kind of hints.

Help your people understand what needs to be done through gentle prodding. These are small hints that lead them in the right direction.

8. Have a backup:

Karun (Harish Patel) was part of Kingo’s entourage. He was also documenting the Eternals.

When one camera would break, Karun would pull out another. When that one broke, he had another backup.

Leaders need to be like Karun. They have to have backups of their backups.

It’s not out of fear. It is out of necessity.

Bad things are going to happen. When you’re prepared, you can quickly recover.

9. Loss can happen rapidly:

Ajak was the first Eternal to die in thousands of years. Then, Gilgamesh died.

That’s two Eternals dead in a matter of days. This was unprecedented.

You can be on a roll. Great things can be happening. Then, all the bad things begin to happen.

Your best employee quits. You lose a top customer. There’s trouble at home.

The hits keep coming. The losses pile up.

Leaders have to be ready when loss happens. It comes quickly. It can through you for a loop, if you let it.

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