Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Guardians Of The Galaxy Volume 3

A Reel Leadership Article

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Guardians Of The Galaxy Volume 3 brings back the Guardians as we’ve known them with a few changes. We’re treated to an excellent ending for the original Guardians in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Those original Guardians are:

  • Peter Quill/Starlord (Chris Pratt)
  • Gamora (Zoe Saldana) – She’s different, but she’s Gamora
  • Nebula (Karen Gillan)
  • Groot (Vin Diesel)
  • Drax (Dave Bautista)
  • Mantis (Pom Klementieff)
  • Rocket The Raccoon (Bradley Cooper)
  • New edition Kraglin (Sean Gunn)
  • New edition Cosmo the Space Dog (Maria Bakalova)

This team makes a great ending and an even better new beginning for the team we’ve loved for two movies, several appearances, and one Christmas special. 

I went into the movie expecting one thing. I got something completely different from the film. You will too.

Most of the Guardians Of The Galaxy team. Mantis, Groot, Drax, and Starlord suited up in their blue and red suit.

As new characters are introduced, you’re on the edge of your seat to see who will perish. It’s been hinted some of the characters will no longer be around after this film. Be prepared to have some heartstrings pulled.

And be prepared to have your leadership muscles flexed. There’s a lot to digest with Guardians Of The Galaxy Volume 3. As you process what you’ve watched, you’ll walk away from this James Gunn extravaganza a better leader.

You can catch up on all the Guardians Of The Galaxy goodness with the Guardians Of The Galaxy collection.

Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Guardians Of The Galaxy Volume 3

1. Our unpleasant beginnings often lead to extraordinary adventures:

Rocket The Racoon had a very unpleasant beginning. Guardians Of The Galaxy Volume 3 opens with the High Evolutionary’s (Chukwudi Iwuji) hand reaching into a cage of raccoons. They all look terrified.

These animals had a right to be. The High Evolutionary wanted to experiment on these poor creatures. He would try to “evolve” them into something better.

While Rocket was tortured, something positive came from the experience. He gained knowledge, met the other Guardians Of The Galaxy, and was able to go on amazing adventures.

I’m not downplaying any trauma you may have faced in your past or future. Yet, I want you to know that something great can come from your past experiences.

Don’t let what has happened to you shape you into something negative. Instead, use what you’ve gone through to help others.

I’ve seen people come out of poverty and help others understand they can do better. I’ve seen people like Mary DeMuth come out of sexual abuse to help others heal from the pain.

What you’ve gone through doesn’t have to define you in a negative way. Those experiences can lead you onto an epic adventure as you redefine your life.

2. Rocket:

So, what are you going to do about Quill?

Rocket walked in on Starlord as he was drunk and stumbling around. He’s in no shape to lead or do anything productive.

In fact, he passes out. Nebula has to carry Starlord out of the building and into the ship.

Starlord had gone from being an adequate leader to being a liability. The rest of his team wondered what they could do about him.

A leader who doesn’t care for himself or his team is a liability. His team will wonder what they can do to change things. 

You leave your team in a quandary when you slack, get drunk, or don’t care.

Control yourself. Make sure you’re not a liability to your team.

3. Leaders have to make difficult calls:

There’s a new villain in Guardians Of The Galaxy Volume 3. Along with the High Evolutionary, there’s Adam Warlock (Will Poulter). He’s a flunky of the High Evolutionary.

Adam Warlock attacks the Guardians on Knowhere. He takes out Rocket, Groot, and Nebula. Then he attacks Drax.

Drax is fighting back, but he’s losing the battle. Starlord goes to help him, but Mantis calls for his help. Rocket is in trouble, too.

Now, Starlord has a choice to make. Which teammate does he help? Drax or Rocket?

He has to choose. You have to make similar tough calls.

Don’t be afraid to make a decision. That’s what leaders are called to do.

You have to weigh out what deserves your attention at the moment. Then you have to choose.

4. What we think of as threats can be a helping hand:

The Guardians discover that Rocket was created at the Orgoscope, the headquarters of Orgocorp. As they arrived at the Orgoscope, they had to break through three shields protecting the base.

They broke through the first shield. Then the second. And finally, the third. Only to have their ship stop as if it hit a shield. 

Starlord wondered why they didn’t make it through. They had. There was something else stopping them. 

Waiting outside the ship was a Ravager, Stakar Ogord (Sylvester Stallone). The Ravagers began to board the ship. Starlord thought they had arrived to do piratey things.

The truth was Nebula had reached out to the Ravagers. She knew the Guardians Of The Galaxy would need help and called on them.

What’s your first thought when something goes wrong or someone you don’t like shows up? Do you see a threat? A danger? A frustration?

What if you switched your mindset from fear to something positive? When things don’t go right, when the wrong people show up, when you see something that shouldn’t be there, think of it as an opportunity to do something new or have a helping hand.

Not everything that appears as a threat is a threat.

5. Leaders help bring about change; they don’t force it:

The High Evolutionary had a lofty goal. He wanted to create the perfect species.

I wouldn’t say this is a bad goal. It could be really good. However, the High Evolutionary went about his goal in a bad way.

The High Evolutionary took creatures and began to do horrid experiments on them. He would remove limbs, give them implants, and other various changes.

He wanted a positive change, yet the High Evolutionary did this the wrong way.

We want to bring about positive change. Sometimes we think that we need to do this by any way possible.

That’s not the mindset of a leader. The leader understands that they can’t force lasting change. What they need to do is to help bring change.

Leaders do this through coaching, teaching, and being there for their team members. Be a leader who helps bring change, not forces it.

6. Make things easy to understand:

The Guardians Of The Galaxy had colored spacesuits when they attempted to enter Orgoscope. They also had color-coded buttons on their wrist communicators.

Starlord pressed the color of Gamora’s suit. He poured out his heart to her. 


Another Guardian told him that he had pressed the button that communicated with all of them. Uh oh…

The coloring system made no sense to Starlord. The communication buttons didn’t line up with the suit colors. 

Who would do that?

We do. We do it a lot.

We don’t communicate clearly. We find ways to make processes more complicated. We do our darnedest to confuse people.

Let’s work on becoming better at this. 

We can learn to communicate more clearly. We can simplify processes. We can figure out the best ways to get things done.

It’s not that hard, people! Let’s stop making things so complicated.

7. Others have gone through horrible situations, have empathy:

A lot of the Guardians had been tortured. One of those was Nebula.

Thanos was her father. He had tortured her. He had taken her apart and reassembled her with new body parts.

It wasn’t pleasant. 

She always thought she had it rough. That was until she saw and understood what Rocket The Raccoon went through.

This opened her eyes to the fact that while her torture was terrible, others out there had gone through worse.

Understand you may have had bad situations in your life. They shaped you. But others out there have had worse situations happen to them.

This doesn’t diminish yours. What it should do is help you to have empathy for others.

8. Bad leaders get upset when there are smarter people around them:

The High Evolutionary had conducted experiments on a baby raccoon that turned into Rocket The Raccoon. These experiments gave Rocket intelligence beyond measure.

Rocket began to solve complex problems even the High Evolutionary couldn’t. This frustrated the High Evolutionary.

How could a lowly creature be wiser than the being that created it? How could an animal outsmart a man changing the world?

This weighed on the High Evolutionary. He couldn’t accept it.

Do you accept that there are smarter people than you out there? You have to because there are.

Don’t be afraid to be less smart than others in the room. As you surround yourself with more intelligent people, you begin to learn and grow. This is a process of personal development. It’s one that will help you become smarter and wiser.

9. Drax:

Why didn’t you ask?

Nebula, Mantis, and Drax were on the Orgoscope. They saw children who spoke an alien language.

Mantis and Nebula tried to communicate with them. They made hand motions and yelled. It didn’t work.

Suddenly, Drax began to speak the alien language. He knew what the children were saying and how to respond.

Mantis and Nebula were shocked. They wondered why Drax hadn’t said anything.

His response was simple: You didn’t ask…


How much talent are we wasting because we fail to ask our team what they can do? Our team is comprised of amazing people with amazing skills and talents.

Ask them what they can do. Ask them what they understand. 

You’re going to find your team is crazily skilled.

10. Everyone deserves a second chance:

Adam Warlock was the secondary villain in Guardians Of The Galaxy Volume 3. He and his mother, Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki), had tried to find favor with the High Evolutionary. This included trying to abduct Rocket.

The Guardians Of The Galaxy didn’t care what Adam Warlock had done in the past. They still helped him when he was in trouble. Adam Warlock wondered why the Guardians Of The Galaxy would save him.

Their answer? Everyone deserves a second chance.

Do you believe what the Guardians Of The Galaxy said? I do. 

People will make mistakes. Some will be small; others will be major mistakes. Most of the errors or bad decisions can be overcome.

Don’t write people off because of a mistake they’ve made. You can give second chances.

11. The best leaders pass on the baton of leadership:

At the end of Guardians Of The Galaxy Volume 3, the Guardians go their separate ways. They split the team in an emotional scene. Thankfully, none of the Guardians Of The Galaxy passed away; the team just changed.

Starlord talks to Rocket, his best friend. He tells Rocket that the team is now his. He’s passing his leadership baton to the new leader.


What an emotional, impactful scene we saw here. A leader steps aside and lets someone else assume the mantle of leadership.

This is what the best leaders do. They understand when their time has passed. They know others are waiting in line to take on the role of a leader.

Be willing to recognize when your time as the leader of an organization is done. It’s OK to leave, to step away. It’s also OK to grieve.

But you must be willing to pass the baton of leadership to the next person. 

12. You are part of the story:

There was a line spoken about midway through Guardians Of The Galaxy Volume 3. It said:

This story has been yours all along. You just didn’t know it.

This line was to Rocket. 

When you heard this line, shivers ran up your spine. You knew something special had been communicated. 

The story of the Guardians had been Rocket’s all along. He (and us) just didn’t realize it.

Your story is being told. You are part of the organization’s story.

Live it. Play the role you’re supposed to.

13. We can be labeled the wrong thing:

When we first met Drax, he was Drax The Destroyer. Or was he?

By the end of Guardians Of The Galaxy Volume 3, Drax has a new name or label. He goes from Drax The Destroyer to Drax The Daddy.

I believe that Drax was really a gentle giant all along. He wasn’t a Destroyer (though he could). Drax was a father figure. He would fiercely protect those he cared about.

What labels have you been carrying with you? Have you been labeled dumb, aloof, uncaring, or dangerous? Maybe there’s another label you’ve carried with you.

You don’t have to accept the label you’ve been given. You can be something else. Something better.

Don’t accept the labels people or society have placed on you. Find your label and live it out.

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