Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Justice League: Doom

A Reel Leadership Article

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DC Comics has long struggled with live-action movies. An area they shine in outside of their comics? The animated movies they release.

Their animated movies have been packed full of action, meaning, and style. They should continue to focus on it while developing their live-action films. They’re in good hands with James Gunn heading the new DC Cinematic Universe. Until that time, we get to enjoy the excellent animation they’re putting out.

In this Reel Leadership article, we’re looking at the 2012 animated film Justice League: Doom

The Justice League standing together

Imagine this: Your organization has been hacked. Important files about key personnel have been obtained. An enemy organization is using the data to target those in your employ.

That’s the basic premise of Justice League: Doom.

The Justice League villain Vandal Savage (Phil Morris) has assembled a team, the Legion of Doom. He uses their superpowers to infiltrate Bruce Wayne/Batman’s (Kevin Conroy) Bat Computer (Andrea Romano). Mirror Master (Alexis Denisof) sneaks into the Batcave by hiding in the Batmobile’s rearview mirror. From there, Vandal Savage can understand the weaknesses of the Justice League. The Legion of Doom initiates their attack, and it’s on like Donkey Kong.

Not only is the movie great but there are plenty of leadership lessons in Justice League: Doom. Let’s take a look at those!

Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Justice League: Doom

1. The barriers we see aren’t always real:

Vandal Savage hired the Royal Flush Gang to break into a building. The Royal Flush Gang consisted of Ten (Juliet Landau), King (Jim Meskimen), Ace (Bruce Timm), Queen (Grey Griffin), and Jack (Robin Atkin Downes). Each member had the name of a playing card.

The Royal Flush Gang used an interdimensional lock pick to enter the building. The device was placed in front of a barrier, turned on, and you could then walk through the barrier. 

Batman arrived at the scene of the crime. He found a guard with an ace of spade card in his chest. Batman, the world’s greatest detective, begins surveying the scene. He sees a wall that looks impenetrable. But it’s not.

He places his hand in front of the projection-like device and his hand goes through the wall. The barrier that was there really wasn’t there.

Many of the barriers that we face in leadership really aren’t barriers. They’re imagined, less than, or not even there.

We have to access the barriers that we see. We have to test them to see whether or not they really exist.

Don’t take the existence of a barrier as a roadblock. Test it and see how you can break through.

2. Understand what’s on the other side:

King escaped from Justice League member Martian Manhunter (Carl Lumbly). He took to his high-tech flying card and flew toward the escape portal.

He sees success as he enters the portal that takes him outside. Only to be clotheslined by Cyborg (Bumper Robinson).

Cyborg was outside, near the interdimensional lock pick device, waiting for someone to come through. King couldn’t see what was on the other side. So, as he’s fleeing the Justice League, he’s hit by something he couldn’t see.

We’re so interested in accomplishing goals, getting things done, and doing things that need to be done that we often overlook what’s on the other side. The other side can be a whole host of things:

  • Vacation
  • Another task
  • Success
  • Failure
  • More work
  • Rest

And, sometimes, the other side contains multiple items listed above or even unknowns!

We must be aware of what’s on the other side of our projects and workloads. We don’t want to be clotheslined by something we didn’t see.

3. Vandal Savage:

In short, we need each other.

While Vandal Savage is the main villain of Justice League: Doom, he still speaks words of wisdom. To assemble the League of Doom, Vandal Savage had to bring together criminals. The team he chose was:

  • Ma’alefa’ak (Carl Lumbly)
  • Bane (Carlos Alazraqui)
  • Metallo (Paul Blackthorne)
  • Cheetah (Claudia Black)
  • Star Sapphire (Olivia d’Abo)
  • Mirror Master

These supervillains had tried again and again to take out the members of the Justice League. Each time, they failed. Vandal Savage now had the information to take out Superman (Tim Daly), Wonder Woman (Susan Eisenberg), Green Lantern (Nathan Fillion), Martian Manhunter, The Flash (Michael Rosenbaum), and Cyborg. Each supervillain had a specific skill, talent, or knowledge that would help in the defeat of a Justice League member.

Vandal Savage was right. They needed each other to succeed.

You need your people. They will be the key to your success. Learn their talents, skills, and desires. You will be able to put these things to use in your organization and fulfill their desires to be doing work that matters.

Once again, you need your people.

4. Martian Manhunter:

Why are you here, Ma’alefa’ak?

Martian Manhunter, who is also known as John when he is in his human form, was at a party. A beautiful woman buys him a drink, and he approaches her. He thanks the woman but tells him he can’t drink it; he’s on duty. She tells him it’s okay; the drink is a soda. 

But Martian Manhunter soon learns the truth. The soda was spiked. Ma’alefa’ak had laced the soda with magnesium carbonate. The drugging caused him to burst into flames. But, before he did, he asked Ma’alefa’ak why she was at the party. Now, he knew.

I think this is a wise question to ask ourselves and those we lead. We have to know why we’re in the organization that we are in. We have to understand why others are there as well.

When we know the why behind the presence of ourselves and our team members, we can better lead them.

5. Superman:

There are other jobs.

To lure Superman to the Daily Planet and kill him, Metallo impersonates reporter Henry Ackerdson (Paul Blackthorne). Henry is standing on the roof of the Daily Planet. He’s ready to jump.

Jimmy Olsen (David Kaufman) and Lois Lane (Grey Griffin) were in the crowd and saw this play out. Lois calls Superman to let him know.

When Superman arrives, Henry tells him that he’s done. His career is over. There’s nothing left to live for. He was going to jump.

Superman knows better. He knows that there’s always another job, another career. He tells Henry this before Henry is revealed to be Metallo.

This does nothing to negate the truth of Superman’s words. There’s always another job or career you can go into. If you lose a job, get fired, or move on, you’re not done.

There’s always something else. Don’t give up if you’re facing trouble.

PSA: If you’re facing suicidal thoughts, reach out to someone. If you don’t have anyone, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK(8255).

6. Find the strength to keep going:

Bane had buried Bruce Wayne in a casket with the decayed bodies of his parents. He puts on a brass knuckle and begins beating at the casket’s lid. He makes progress but feels like giving up.

This is when he looks next to him and sees the skeleton of one of his parents. This gives him the needed strength to continue. He beats the top of the casket until it breaks open and he can escape.

Where do you find the strength to keep going? You have to find it somewhere.

I suggest you look toward God, family, and friends. You may also look at your employees for the strength to keep going.

You’ll be amazed at how motivated or empowered you can get from the relationships around you. That strength will be what gets you through.

7. Green Lantern:

And fear is the enemy of will.

Green Lantern had become fearful that he had caused the death of someone he cared for. He was lamenting her loss and ready to give up the Green Lantern ring. 

Batman finds him. He and Green Lantern talk about the Scarecrow’s fear serum that Green Lantern had been doused with. Batman understood where Green Lantern’s strength came from. His will. The fear serum took that away from him.

Too many leaders lead from a place of fear. Fear drives them to lose their will to lead well.

They begin to make poor decisions, irrational decisions, or to stay still. 

Those are not the actions of a great leader. A great leader understands that he must push past the fear. He has to have the will to lead regardless of whether fear exists.

Don’t let fear stop you from leading well.

8. Contingency plans can go bad:

Batman had compiled a list of contingencies in case the members of the Justice League went rogue. He kept all of this information on the Bat Computer. 

When the Bat Computer was compromised, all the information he gathered fell into the wrong hands. His contingency plan had now gone bad.

Leaders, we have to prepare for disaster. The worst-case scenario. 

Yet, we often bring about even more issues through contingency plans. Not because they may need to be used but because we fixate on when and how to use them. We’re always looking for that worst-case scenario. 

Beware of letting your contingency plan rule your life. It’s there for when things go bad, not to make things bad.

9. Create a plan in case you go bad:

The Justice League was upset at Batman. They couldn’t believe he had plans to take out each member if they went bad. This felt like he was waiting to hurt them.

Superman confronted Batman over this. He asked Batman if he had a plan to stop himself. Batman admitted that he did.

That plan? The Justice League. 

Batman understood anyone could go bad, even himself. He had plans in place to take care of those issues if they were to arise.

We may think about others in our organization going bad. Rarely, if ever, do we think about what would happen if we did something inappropriate, made continuous bad choices, and more. We believe we can do no wrong.

But we can.

Be prepared to deal with yourself if you begin to go down the dark road of bad leadership and choices. You have to be prepared to be dealt with if this happens.

You can ask close confidants to keep an eye on you, use a board of directors, or some other means to keep you in check. Don’t let yourself go bad.

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