Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Madame Web

My latest book, Reel Leadership, is now available on Amazon. If you love movies and leadership, you will love this book.

We’re returning to the Spider-Verse with this week’s Reel Leadership article. We’re going to be examining the exciting leadership lessons in Madame Web. It’s the fourth film in Sony’s Spider-Man Universe and was produced by Columbia Pictures and Di Bonaventure Pictures. 

For those of you who don’t know who Madame Web is, she’s a vital character in the Spider-Man lore. She’s a clairvoyant and precog who can see the strands of life’s web. There’s an interconnectedness she sees. It’s interesting and unique.

 Let’s dive into the Reel Leadership lessons in Madame Web. There’s quite a bit to take away from this movie.

Red background, webbing spinning out with multiple characters from Madame Web movie featured in image

Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Madame Web

1. Not all people make good team members:

Constance Webb (Kerry Bishé) was searching the jungles of Peru for a special spider. It was rumored there were mythical spiders there that could heal the sick. 

After searching and searching, Constance finds one of the spiders. She returns to camp, excited. She begins to show it to those she’s with.

Ezekiel Sims (Tahar Rahim) was also part of her expedition team. He hears the good news, but he’s not there to celebrate. He pulls a gun, shoots the two men Constance told, and tries to take the spider from her.

In the struggle that ensues, Ezekiel shoots Constance. Ezekiel escapes with the mythical spider. And members of the secret spider tribe Las Arañas appear to help Constance.

We can be tempted to bring in crazy talented people to our teams. These are people who have been hyped up by those around us. They appear to have the talent to succeed.

But then you dig deeper.

They’re not a great fit for the team. Their drive for success overrides loyalty, ethics, and core values. 

Beware of who you bring onto your team. Not everyone is a good fit.

2. Allow people to show their appreciation:

Ben Parker (Adam Scott) and Cassandra Webb (Dakota Johnson) are paramedics. They’d just picked up a patient and transported her to the hospital. 

They get the good news that the patient will be okay. Even better, the woman’s daughter wanted to thank Cassie for saving her mother.

Cassie resisted. She didn’t want the attention or appreciation. 

This hurt the family. They knew someone had helped, and they wanted to let that person know they had made a difference.

You rob people of a blessing when you deny their appreciation. By pushing away their acknowledgment, you’re saying it doesn’t matter.

Their feelings, gratefulness, and thanksgiving do matter. 

Allow people to show you their appreciation. It blesses you and them.

3. Cassie Webb:

I hope those spiders were worth it, mom…

Constance was Cassie’s mom. Even though Santiago (José María Yazpik) and the Las Arañas did their best to save her, Constance died in childbirth. Cassie never got to meet her mother.

This hurt her. She had an empty hole in her life. She felt this gaping hole while going through her mother’s possessions. She discovered photos of her mom and the drawings her mother had made.

Cassie saw Constance’s pursuit of the elusive spider as a reason she never got to know her.

What holes are you leaving in the lives of your family? Are you ignoring them? Do you put everything into your organization but give your family the leftovers?

You may think it is a holy pursuit to take care of your family financially. However, there’s more to taking care of them than the financial side.

You have to give them your attention. You have to spend time with them. You have to make them feel important and loved.

4. If you feel something, say something:

Cassie’s paramedic coworkers had been invited to Mary Parker’s (Emma Roberts) baby shower. Cassie was hesitant to go but finally gave in.

During the baby shower, the paramedics received an emergency call. Many attendees at the party left to attend to the scene of a major fire.

Upon arriving at the scene of the fire, Cassie sees a vision of O’Neil (Mike Epps) dying. She had an uneasy feeling about the vision but didn’t do much to stop him from getting into the ambulance. 

That was a bad move.

O’Neil drove away from the scene. Moments later, he was struck by another vehicle and killed.

This was one of the first reveals of Cassie’s, or Madame Web’s, precog abilities.

I relate Cassie’s precog abilities to our gut instincts. They’re easy to brush off, but they’re critical to our success as leaders. 

Our gut instincts allow us to immediately understand a situation without knowing all the details. Sometimes, it allows us to make decisions we never thought we could.

We’ve got to learn to trust our gut instincts. When we begin to feel something inside of us, speak up. Share what you’re thinking or feeling.

That feeling could save you, the organization, or someone else.

5. Figure out what connects your team:

Ezekial hired a woman, Amaria (Zosia Mamet), to be his tech support. She would use the technology he had to hunt down three women he had seen in his dreams. Those three women were future Spider-Women:

  • Julia Cornwall/Spider-Woman (Sydney Sweeney)
  • Mattie Franklin/Spider-Woman (Celeste O’Connor)
  • Anya Corazon/Araña (Isabela Merced)

Each character wouldn’t show their powers in the movie, but you knew they were a threat. Ezekial knew they were a threat and wanted them stopped.

Amaria tracked them down. She discovered the three women were at the train station, but something wasn’t right.

All three women were there separately. Amaria wanted to know what connected them.

Do you know what connects your team? Why are your people there? 

If you can find this out, you will have a powerful connection to your team. Not only will you understand why each person is there and how they’re connected, you can share with them that connection.

Connection is a major advantage in any organization. As people feel connected, they feel empowered. Find the connection.

6. Cassie Webb:

I don’t know…

Ezekial attacks the three girls on the train. Cassie comes in to help rescue them as she begins to see even more precog events. Eventually, Cassie is able to get them off of the train, out of Ezekial’s path, and to momentary safety.

The girls wonder what’s going on. They wanted to know who the guy crawling on the wall was (that was Ezekial Sims). They asked a ton of questions. 

But Cassie didn’t know. And she answered as such. She admitted to not knowing what was happening. 

We’ve all been in Cassie’s shoes. A thousand questions are coming our way. People are wondering what’s happening, what’s next, and more.

We don’t always have an answer. Saying I don’t know is a completely valid response.

However, there’s a caveat. When you don’t know, admit it, but let them know you’ll work on finding an answer.

7. Great leaders are teachers:

Ezekial had infected Cassie with his spider venom. It didn’t affect her in the same way as others due to her spider powers. However, Cassie understood Ezekial could use his venom on her or the girls. 

She had to teach them how to help someone who had been poisoned. Cassie began to teach the girls CPR.

You have skills, talents, and knowledge that your team doesn’t have. They may have access to it through you, but they don’t know it intimately.

Great leaders know this. You know this.

What are you going to do about it? I believe the best thing a leader can do is to be a teacher. The best leaders I’ve encountered help others understand how to take action.

Be a teacher of your people.

8. Your talents are valuable:

Cassie flew to Peru to get answers about her mother, her talents, and the three young girls in her charge. She got to meet Santiago, who had promised her mother that he would help her when Cassie returned.

Cassie’s spider powers weren’t super-strength. They weren’t venom or poison. There wasn’t super-speed in her arsenal.

Yet, Santiago tells Cassie her gifts are just as powerful.

You may not have the gift of gab, powerful insights, or another business skill. However, you do possess plenty of skills and knowledge for leadership.

Don’t let your lack in one area keep you from leading well. The skills and talents you possess are just as valuable.

9. Anya Corazon:

We’ll protect each other.

As the girls are once again escaping from Ezekial, Cassie steals an ambulance. They ride in the ambulance until it breaks down.

The four of them try to come up with a plan. Cassie tells the others that she will protect them.

No, says Anya. We’ll protect each other.

Cassie saw it as her duty to protect the girls underneath her. The girls saw it differently. They saw themselves as part of the team.

Are you a Cassie leader or an Anya leader? When the going gets tough, think like a team member.

You don’t have to do everything. You’re not the be-all, end-all. You have a team and are part of that team.

Allow your team members to step up to the challenges facing the organization. They’ll step up.

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