Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Hamilton The Musical

Hamilton the musical has taken the world by storm. Theaters and playhouses have sold out of the record-breaking play about the life of Alexander Hamilton (Lin-Manuel Miranda).

Recently released on Disney Plus, Hamilton was recorded live in New York City in 2016. The recording took place at the historic Richard Rodgers Theater. This recording includes the original Broadway cast.

Logo from Hamilton the musical

It was a treat to watch the talented actors and actresses portray Hamilton, King George (Jonathan Groff), George Washington (Chris Jackson), Aaron Burr (Leslie Odom Jr.), James Madison/Hercules Mulligan (Okrieriete Onaodowan), Angelica Schuyler (Renee Elise Goldsberry), and Eliza Hamilton (Phillipa Soo). Each Actor and actress brought something unique and entertaining to the show.

One of the highlights was the vocal talents of the crew. Their range in tone and style was incredible.

This is why you should watch Hamilton. You will see talented men and women work their craft.

But you won’t just enjoy the musical treats of the actors and actresses. You will discover so many leadership lessons in Hamilton. Today, we’re going to look at many of those leadership lessons.

Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Hamilton

1. You can overcome early hardships:

Hamilton’s life wasn’t peachy. Oh no, it was a hard-knock life.

His father left his family when he was young. Then Hamilton’s mother died while he was sick. To top it off, after moving in with his cousin, his cousin committed suicide.

You can’t say Hamilton had a good life growing up. It was messed up and dirty.

You may be able to relate to the upbringing of Hamilton. Your family history may be dirty, ugly, even disgusting.

I want you to know that you can overcome the early hardships in your life. Hamilton did. You can too.

2. Aaron Burr:

Talk less. Smile more.

Burr gave Hamilton advice on how to get through life. The advice Burr gave was to talk less and smile more.

This theme ran throughout Hamilton. You hear Burr repeat this phrase multiple times.

We would be wise to heed Burr’s advice.

Talking less gives others the opportunity to share their thoughts, ideas, dreams, and passions. Let others speak more than you do.

The other advice was to smile more. Smiling can change the way others view you. By smiling, you tell others you’re happy, open to interactions, and are willing to engage.

These two pieces are great for up and coming leaders. They will open more doors than being the loud-mouthed, angry, scowling leader.

3. Alexander Hamilton:

I’m young, scrappy, and hungry.

Alexander Hamilton knew what he was. He also knew these things were strengths.

His youth gave him the energy to keep going. His scrappiness allowed him to get into debates and battles with others. Finally, his hunger pushed him to go further than others were willing to go.

What would be possible for you if you had these qualities? Could you do more than you’re doing now?

Not all of us may be young but we can be young at heart. This gives us an upbeat spirit and one that believes in possibilities.

Scrappiness is something we can all take on. We can be the scrapper that is determined to get the job done.

Hunger… Hunger will push us to do what needs to be done. Be hungry to learn, grow, and get things done.

4. Your actions can bring multiple outcomes:

Hamilton and his band of merry men were discussing starting a revolution. They were ready to take action but then Hamilton wondered something.

He wondered if their actions would have multiple outcomes. He knew there could be bloodshed. There could also be freedom for their descendants.

The same choice could have different outcomes.

Do you weigh what could happen with your decisions? Your decisions may appear to have one specific outcome. However, there could be other, divergent outcomes from your actions.

Look at what all of the results of your actions could be. Then decide whether it is worth it to move forward.

5. Leaders can believe they’re doing one thing when they’re doing another:

King George was a mockery in Hamilton. He was silly and over-the-top. This made him laughable.

In one scene, King George sings about love. He talks of loving the Colonies… Then he sings about threatening the people with death, hurting their friends and families, violence, and war.

King George believes he loves the people of the Colonies. I think he didn’t.

Isn’t this what a lot of us leaders do? We talk about caring for our teams. We share how much we want to do for them… Then we do the exact opposite.

Our actions need to match our thoughts and our words. If we’re not doing what we say and what we believe, we’re conflicted and divided. We’re also ineffective and inauthentic.

Let’s get real and do what we think and say.

6. Bad things come from envy:

Burr was jealous of Hamilton. He sang of his desire to be in Hamilton’s shoes. To be confident and strong. To not hesitate. And to not have anything to lose.

This leads to bad things in the future (I won’t spoil it just yet). Burr’s envy was soon to turn tragic.

It is easy to look at other leaders and wonder what it would be like to be them. You may even have a strong desire to emulate them and be as close to them as you could.

I know I had that desire with leaders like Michael Hyatt, Andy Andrews, John Maxwell, and others. I wanted to be like them so badly that I lost myself.

That’s what happens when you envy and desire to be like others. You lose yourself.

Stopping chasing after the success of others. Chase your success.

7. Money isn’t everything:

Hamilton’s upbringing was one of poverty. He always dreamed of having more and being more.

His wife Eliza, on the other hand, was content to be where they were. She was happy to have Hamilton and no money.

Hamilton’s discontentment… his desire for more, more, more… It drove him to do things that are unbecoming of a man.

Money, fame, riches… they’re not everything. They’re not even much in the grand scheme of this life.

Stop chasing these temporary things.

Instead, chase what will matter long into life. Love your wife. Spend time with friends. Take care of your kids.

8. Projects can balloon out of control:

Hamilton had the gumption to start writing the Federalist Papers. This project was to be written by multiple authors and total 20-some papers.

By the time the Federalist Papers were done, they had ballooned to 85 papers. That’s almost 4 times as many as the original estimate.

Many of our projects are like the Federalist Papers. We start out with an idea and we think it will take one or two weeks to get done.

By the time the project is completed, we’ve put in 6, 7, or even 8 weeks or more to complete the project. The project ballooned out of control.

Be ready to put more work in than you expect.

9. When will it be enough?:

George Washington asked Hamilton to lead the Treasury Department. He knew Hamilton was a hard worker and would do great in the position.

Hamilton was excited. He wanted to be a part of this. He wanted to be seen as successful.

Eliza, on the other hand, was distraught. She was not happy with her husband. She asked him “When will it ever be enough?”

We have to know when it will be enough. When will we have enough success? When will we have enough wealth?

If we aren’t careful, we can consume our lives with the pursuit of more. This pursuit of more will eventually destroy you.

10. Protect your integrity:

Mrs. Maria Reynolds (Jasmine Cephas Jones) came to Hamilton’s house while Eliza was away visiting her father. Reynolds played the damsel in distress and wanted Hamilton’s help.

He gave her some money and walked her home. There, she seduced him into an affair.

I saw a couple of things wrong with this. First, Hamilton sent his wife away for an extended period of time. This left him alone and vulnerable. The second was that he went alone to help Reynolds out. This put him in a comprising situation.

Men, we have to be careful of the situations we put ourselves in. It is easy to fall into the trap of seduction or sexual immorality if we’re not careful.

Guard your heart. Guard your marriage. Protect your integrity.

11. Don’t make it all about you:

After Hamilton’s affair, he wrote the Reynold’s Pamphlet. In this pamphlet, he shared the truth about what happened.

He let those around him know he had cheated on Eliza. He spilled the whole, ugly truth.

But… what about Eliza? Where was she in the story? She wasn’t. It was all about Hamilton.

To say that Eliza was upset would be an understatement.

It is easy for a leader to make everything about himself. You’re leading the organization. Why shouldn’t it be all about you?

Because your people matter. Your organization matters. Your family matters.

Make sure you’re not taking care of only you. You need to take care of those around you.

12. Angelica Schuyler:

There are moments that the words don’t reach. There is a grace too powerful to name. We push away what we can never understand. We push away the unimaginable. They are standing in the garden. Alexander by Eliza’s side. She takes his hand

After Hamilton’s affair, Eliza and Hamilton’s son, Phillip (Anthony Ramos), tried to stick up for his father’s honor. He dueled with George Eacker (Ephraim Sykes) and lost his life.

Their son’s death brought Eliza and Hamilton back together. There was grace in the moment.

Leaders need to find moments of grace for their team members. Team members will make mistakes. You will make mistakes.

What happens when mistakes are made? Are unilateral decisions made or is there grace offered?

I believe offering grace is powerful in a leadership position. Great leaders are willing to extend grace while also helping those they lead to understand what is and isn’t acceptable.

13. Alexander Hamilton:

No one knows what you believe.

In a letter to Burr, Hamilton lets him know how he feels. He tells Burr that he’s a phony. People don’t know what he believes and that’s the problem. That’s why Burr lost to Jefferson.

Burr was wishy-washy. He switched parties to have a better chance. He changed his stances on topics. And he wouldn’t give solid answers.

All of these were major issues in his election bid. They’re also huge issues in any leader.

Leaders need to be bold and outspoken about what they believe. They need to share the truth and honesty.

A lot of online personalities will tell you to hold back about your beliefs. Whether that it’s you’re a believer or not, they will tell you that you will alienate your audience.

I, sadly, believed that for too long. I wrote many mediocre pieces because I wanted to hold back parts of me in my writing. This is something I apologize for.

I want to encourage you to stand firm on what you believe. Don’t be afraid to share your faith, how you feel, or anything else.

14. Your best friend can become your enemy:

Burr had been Hamilton’s first friend. He was a confidant and trusted person in Hamilton’s life.

This changed as time went on. Burr went from friend to enemy.

This happens in our lives. People’s roles change. They evolve and we move on.

Sometimes, those relationships turn toxic. They become violent. They may even become deadly.

Know your relationships will change over time. You may lose your friends. You may even lose important people in your life.

Be prepared for this.

15. You can put yourself back into someone’s story:

After Hamilton’s affair, Eliza took herself out of Hamilton’s story. She didn’t want to be a part of what he was doing.

However, there was a reconciliation. She chose to put herself back into his life after Phillip’s death. More than that, she began doing the work Hamilton had done after his death.

She chose a path of forgiveness and reconciliation. She chose to put herself back into the story.

You may have to leave someone you love. You may have to choose a different path for a while.

This doesn’t mean you’re out of their lives forever. You can step out of someone’s life and step back in later when healing has occurred.

Be willing to step back into the lives of those that matter when it is time.

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