At the end of the original IT movie, the Losers Club (Bill Denbrough (Jaeden Martell), Ben Hanscom (Jeremy Ray Taylor), Beverly Marsh (Sophia Lillis), Richie Tozier (Finn Wolfhard), Mike Hanlon (Chosen Jacobs), Eddie Kaspbrak (Jack Dylan Grazer), and Stanley Uris (Wyatt Oleff)) believe they have defeated the evil clown Pennywise (Bill Skarsgård). In It: Chapter Two, we learn they only wounded Pennywise. He makes a violent return 27 years later to the town of Derry, Maine.
It: Chapter Two reunites the Losers Club 27 years to Derry. Mike had stayed in Derry to keep watch over the town. He knew he had to watch for Pennywise’s return. He was wise to do so.
When Pennywise returned, Mike (Isaiah Mustafa) began to call the old Losers (Bev (Jessica Chastain), Bill (James McAvoy), Richie (Bill Hader), Eddie (James Ransone), and Stanley (Andy Bean). He knew they had to make good on their commitment to return to Derry if ever Pennywise returned.
With a couple of phone calls, the Losers Club was back together… Well, minus one. Stanley never made it back to Derry.
The story shifts between the current time and 27 years ago. They shift back and forth to remind viewers of what happened in the previous movie and to fill in some of the plot that was missed in the original movie.
While I didn’t enjoy the second chapter of It, I’ve heard of plenty of people that have. I also know that my not liking the movie doesn’t mean there’s not Reel Leadership lessons in It: Chapter Two.
I hope you’ll sit back, enjoy this Reel Leadership article, and try not to be too scared!
Quotes And Leadership Lessons From It: Chapter Two
1. Mike Hanlon:
Sometimes we are what we wish we could forget.
It: Chapter Two begins with Mike narrating. One of the things he says is that we wish we could forget what we are at times.
This It: Chapter Two quote struck me. Especially as a leader.
Leaders aren’t perfect. We lead from what we know. This means we’re failable.
How many times have you wished you could forget a leadership mistake you’ve made? Or your past and the struggles you’ve gone through?
These things we wish we could forget are us. We can’t change them. We have to embrace our imperfections.
2. Leaders have to be willing to wait:
While the rest of the Losers Club had moved on with their lives, Mike couldn’t. He chose to stay in Derry and remember what the rest of his friends had experienced. He also knew he had to wait to see if Pennywise would return.
It’s a good thing Mike was willing to wait. Twenty-seven years after they first encountered Pennywise, he made a return. Had there not been someone waiting for Pennywise, many more people would have died.
In our go, go, go world, we believe we have to be on the move. There’s no time to wait around to see what will or could happen.
This is a major leadership mistake people make. They feel they have to constantly innovate and transform. They don’t.
Sometimes, the greatest thing a leader can do is to wait and observe.
3. People will often tell you what you want to hear:
Bill had become a successful author and screenwriter. While his manuscripts and movies were good, his endings were awful. But he didn’t know this.
People around him would lie to him. They would tell him they enjoyed everything about the book or the movie. They wouldn’t tell him the truth.
He would only hear what people believed he wanted them to say.
Be careful of surrounding yourself with people who will only praise you. You need true friends who are willing to wound you with the truth.
The truth can hurt. Yet the truth sets you free and allows you to improve.
Be willing to listen to helpful criticism.
4. There are times leaders need to act fast:
Mike made calls to the Loser Club members. He told them they needed to return to Derry.
When he told them when they needed to return, the time frame was short. They needed to be there tomorrow. They needed to act quickly.
I mentioned earlier there are times when leaders need to wait. They need to take their time and make sure they are where they’re supposed to be.
There are also times when leaders need to act quickly. They have to spring into action and get things done.
Know the difference. Know when to wait and know when to act fast.
5. Bad leaders talk down to their team members:
We learn Bev had married an abusive husband, Tom Rogan (Will Beinbrink). As she tried to head back to Derry, she believed she had to sneak out under the cover of night.
Tom discovered her leaving. He began to berate and beat her. Tom was not the shining example of a husband… or leader.
Bad leaders know they don’t have control. So they look to claim control any way they can. Their way to control other people often come in abusive ways.
The number one way bad leaders try to control others is by talking down to their team members. They will tell them they are worthless. They will tell them other leaders won’t treat them better. Or they will tell them they’re not worth it.
Beware of how you talk to your team members. The way you talk to others will often be an indication of your true self.
6. The longer you’re away from something, the more you forget:
Mike remembered Pennywise. The rest of the Losers Club did not. They had slowly forgotten their story and their friends.
Mike remembered Pennywise because he stuck around Derry. He had stayed in the town where everything had happened. The rest of the Losers did not. This allowed them to forget.
You have to be careful about stepping away from leadership for an extended period of time. The longer you’re away from a leadership position, the more you forget about leading and how to do it well.
7. Richie Tozier:
How are we going to do this?
Richie wasn’t the leader of the Losers Club when everyone came back. Mike became the de facto leader because he had been the one to call them all back.
When Mike told them what they had to do, Richie had a question. He wanted to know how they were going to do this. He wanted direction.
One of your responsibilities as a leader is to give your team members direction. You are to help guide them in the right course of action.
Help your team to understand their role. Help them to figure out what actions they need to take to accomplish the mission.
8. Mike Hanlon:
See, there’s more to our story.
Mike tried to help the rest of the Losers remember what happened during and after the first Pennywise attack. They struggled to remember but Mike did not. He remembered it all.
He knew there was more to their story. And, as the Losers began to remember, he knew they would be better off knowing.
There’s more to your story too. There’s also more to your team’s story.
Help yourself and them figure out the story of your and their lives. Help them to grow into the people they’re meant to be.
9. Sometimes leaders go alone:
To defeat Pennywise, Mike discovered the Losers would each have to find their tokens. These would be items that had special meaning to them and the items would still be in Derry.
To obtain these tokens, they would have to go alone. They couldn’t go with another Loser. This part of their journey had to be singular.
While I often advocate leaders never lead alone, there are times when leaders will have to go alone. This could be due to a decision others don’t agree with or to recharge.
Be willing to go alone when your leadership requires it.
10. Remind people who they are and what they’ve done:
Eddie, honestly, was unsure of himself. He froze when another Loser needed his help. But he wasn’t a chicken. He had done something great before.
Richie and the other Losers knew this. Richie helped remind Eddie who he was.
In a great scene, Richie recalls the things Eddie had accomplished. Richie and Eddie exchange this great piece of dialogue:
Richie Tozier: Who killed a psychotic clown before he was fourteen?
Eddie Kaspbrak: I did.
Richie Tozier: Who took Henry Bower’s knife and stabbed him with it?
Eddie Kaspbrak: I did.
Richie Tozier: Who married a woman ten times his body mass?
Eddie Kaspbrak: I did.
Richie helped Eddie recall his previous victories. As leaders, this is what we are called to do. We are called to help our team members know who they are and what they’re capable of.
One way you can do this is to keep a list of accomplishments your team members have had. When they come to you with doubt, pull out the list. Remind them who they are and what they can accomplish.
11. Mike Hanlon:
Nothing lasts forever.
In the first It movie, the Losers made a pact with one another. They took a blood oath and cut their hands. Their scars remained…
Until they defeated Pennywise for the second time.
They soon realized the scars were gone. They were happy and sad at the same time.
As their scars faded, they realized nothing lasts forever.
Leaders, you won’t last forever. You will leave your leadership position. You will pass away. And your legacy will slip away from the memories of those you once led.
It’s okay. Nothing lasts forever. But you can still make a big impact on the here and now and the near future.
Do your best to do what you do best. Help others. Lead others. Be a leader worth following. Whether people remember it or not doesn’t matter. What you do matters.
12. Leaders can stick around too long:
It: Chapter Two logs a long runtime. It: Chapter Two clocks in at 169 minutes. That is 2 hours and 49 minutes. A really long time.
In my opinion, it felt like It: Chapter Two could have been told in a much shorter time. Maybe 30 minutes to an hour less of runtime.
The movie stuck around for a lot longer than it needed to. It lost me and a lot of other viewers.
Be careful how long you stick around an organization. You need to know there is a time to stick around and a time to go.
You can overstay your time at an organization. Be aware enough to know when it is time to leave.