Green Lantern: Emerald Knights is an engaging animated film. Hailing from DC Comics, the film has the Green Lantern Corps’ home planet of Oa under attack. Hal Jordan (Nathan Fillion) prepares the new Green Lantern recruit Arisia (Elisabeth Moss) for the upcoming attack.
How Hal does this is interesting. Hal doesn’t send her to combat school, simulations, or anything like that. No, Hal recalls stories of the first Green Lantern and other Green Lanterns that have come before her.
She’s prepared for the upcoming battle by recalling history and what other Green Lanterns have done.
This was a masterful way to share the history of the Green Lantern Corps, explain how things are done, and show viewers that there’s more than action for these DC heroes. It’s also a great way to teach the viewer impactful leadership lessons.
Let’s dive into this episode of Reel Leadership and seek out the leadership lessons in Green Lantern: Emerald Knights.
1. There will be times when you have to leave your place of comfort:
Ganthet (Michael Jackson), a Guardian of the Universe, told the Green Lantern Corps that they would have to leave their homeworld of Oa. Krona was coming for them and there would be no stopping him.
The Guardians of the Universe had already begun to remove the sacred texts of the Green Lantern Corps, and the library was next. They knew it was time to move on and away from their homeworld for now.
The jobs we take, the organizations we work for… they can become comfortable. We feel a sense of belonging and purpose.
But what if we’re too comfortable? What if we need to leave our place of comfort?
Don’t be afraid to leave your current organization. There’s something else out there for you.
The thing is, why me?
Arisia didn’t understand why she had become a Green Lantern. The biggest challenge up until the Ring chose her was sitting in class.
When the ring chose her, her life changed. She had new purpose. But she didn’t know why.
We can be Arisia. We can be chosen for our skills, heart, or determination. We may wonder why because we haven’t reflected enough on who we are or the strengths that we bring.
Look inward. See what others see. Get rid of the impostor syndrome.
You’re a leader for a reason.
3. Have faith in your abilities and in those you lead:
G’Hu (Steve Blum), Wachet (Jane Singer), Blu (Gwendoline Yeo), and Avra (Mitchell Whitfield) were chosen as the first four Green Lanterns. Everyone thought Avra’s choosing was incorrect. He had been a scribe before this. What kind of a warrior could he be?
Avra proved his naysayers wrong when one of the other Green Lanterns was killed.
Wachet said the remaining members should retreat. Avra said no. He had faith in the ring and in being chosen.
Avra led the way for the rest of the battle, destroying those in his way. His faith was justly placed.
We have processes, abilities, and people that we need to have faith in. They’re there for a reason.
Look toward the people you have chosen. What are their skills and abilities? What are your skills and abilities?
Remember how they’ve served you well in the past. They will serve you well in the future as well.
4. Leaders are stepping stones for others:
Sergeant Deegan (Wade Williams) trained new Green Lantern recruits. One of those recruits was Kilowog (Henry Rollins).
Deegan took the new recruits into an active volcano. He sent them to the very bottom, where you could see the molten hot magma.
Kilowog saw an opportunity to help others. He was built like a tank. He would use that to his advantage.
What did Kilowog do? He allowed his fellow trainees to use him as a stepping stone to escape the magma. The other trainees could step on him, get to the next point, and continue.
People literally stepped on Kilowog. Through that, he helped them.
You won’t have to allow people to literally step on you. Instead, you can be their metaphorical stepping stone.
Let people use your influence, experience, and knowledge to step up to the next level of leadership. You can use your past experience and knowledge to teach them the ins and outs of leadership. You can extend your influence to them, allowing them to connect with other leaders and opportunities that may have been out of reach for them before.
5. Bad leaders need to be called out:
Deegan told Kilowog that he would need to rest for what was coming tomorrow. Kilowog had had it with Deegan. He saw Deegan as a deranged leader. Deegan may well have been one.
What Kilowog did next took courage. He called Deegan sadistic. He knew he and his fellow trainees had been placed into a dangerous situation. It had to be called out.
Be prepared. When you make dangerous, sloppy decisions, your people have the right to call you out.
You also have to be willing to listen to their feedback. Is it correct? What can you do to not make the same mistake?
Haven’t you heard? It’s not my life anymore.
In a battle, Deegan was fatally wounded. Kilowog could have fled, but he went to rescue his mentor.
Deegan chided Kilowog for coming back. He said Kilowog was going to get himself killed.
Kilowog knew he was in danger. However, he remembered something Deegan had said. When he became a Green Lantern, it was no longer his life. He had given up his desires for something greater.
When we pick up the mantle of leadership, we are giving up our desires, our ways for something bigger. What are those things?
We are now beholden to our organization, the people we lead, and the customers of that organization. We can’t look out strictly for ourselves anymore. There are others out there counting on you.
7. Laira (Kelly Hu):
To serve as a Green Lantern means facing the unknown
Laira was chosen to be a Green Lantern after another Lantern fell. The previous Lantern’s ring sought her out at a time when she and her planet needed help.
When her homeworld became extremely violent, she returned. She knew she had to face the known along with the unknown. It was part of her duty.
You, leader, have a duty as well. To serve as a leader means facing the unknown.
You won’t know the challenges waiting around the corner. You won’t know what steps to take next. You won’t know everything.
But you do know that you have to move forward.
Be confident leading in the unknown. It will be a constant of leadership.
8. Bitterness will consume you:
Shortly after Laira obtained the Green Lantern ring, she called out to the Green Lantern Corps to help her save her planet. Among the Green Lanterns that showed up were Abin Sur (Arnold Vosloo), Sinestro Jason Isaacs), and Palaqua (Steve Blum).
This angered her father, Kentor (Tony Amendola). He thought he had the right to be a Green Lantern. More than that, he felt betrayed when his daughter called on the help of the Green Lantern Corps instead of him and the Golden Dragons.
Bitterness consumed Kentor. He attacked her. Tried to kill her.
We can let bitterness consume us as Kentor did. Or, we can choose forgiveness. To move on.
Don’t let bitterness take hold in your life. It will destroy you and your organization from the inside out.
9. Pay attention to your physical and emotional battery:
Did you know the Green Lantern’s rings require recharging? If Green Lanterns don’t recharge their rings, they will be useless.
This almost happened to the Green Lantern Abin Sur. He was fighting Atrocitus (Bruce Thomas) when his ring began to state it was nearly depleted.
While he had enough power to continue the fight, he was saved by fellow Green Lantern Sinestro. Sinestro warned Abin Sur to pay attention to his ring’s energy level in the future.
We all have emotional and physical batteries. Many times, we let those get depleted before trying to recharge.
You can probably imagine a time when this happened to you. You’re charging full steam ahead. Then burnout happens.
Yup, that’s because you let one of your batteries get too low.
Pay attention to your physical and mental health batteries. Recharge them frequently.
10. Willpower isn’t enough:
Abin Sur brought Atrocitus to a prison planet. Atroctius tells Abin Sur something startling.
What was this prophecy? That Sinestro would turn on the Green Lantern Corps.
Abin Sur couldn’t believe this. No, he wouldn’t accept this. Sinestro has too much willpower to turn.
While we don’t see Sinestro’s turn in Green Lantern: Emerald Knights, comic book and movie fans know that Sinestro does turn. He becomes a Yellow Lantern and rules with fear.
We power through difficult situations. We diffuse tense conversations. We think we have it all under control because we have willpower.
Let me tell you, willpower will wane. You will get to a point where your willpower is not enough.
You need people to hold you up and accountable. You need to recharge. You need more than yourself.