Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings

A Reel Leadership Article

What happens when you combine Chow Yun Fat’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon with the Marvel Cinematic Universe? I believe you get the latest Marvel movie, Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings.

Shang-Chi was an exciting Marvel adventure. It brought so much fun, energy, and excitement back to what many consider was a starting-to-flail universe. While Marvel movies have always been top-notch quality, many people were concerned for future movies. Could Marvel keep up the quality movies?

Simu Liu in Shang-Chi movie

Shang-Chi proved the answer was a resounding yes. It is set to smash Labor Day weekend records.

I have to agree. The movie will continue to do well long after its release. Shang-Chi will be a crucial part of the next phase of Marvel movies. We will see more of Shang-Chi. My guess is in the next Avengers movie.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Today, we’re going to dive into the Shang-Chi movie and the leadership lessons we can find in it.

Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings

1. Legends tend to grow:

Shang-Chi opens with a narrator. We soon learn the narrator is Shang-Chi’s (Simu Liu) mother, Li (Fala Chen). During the narration, Li says that the legend of the ten rings had been around for generations. Every year, every generation, the legend of the ten rings grew.

We’ve got leadership legends. These are stories of proven leaders and, sometimes, urban legends about the leaders who have come before us.

These legends continue to grow. We continue to hear of these leaders and how they excelled in their lives. Their legends grow.

What we miss is the reality of their lives. While they may have been amazing people, they were still people. The legends grow around the success they have had. What isn’t told is the hidden, behind-the-scenes stories of their lives.

Know that legends are legends. We need to get to the reality of what happened.

2. Li:

He chased money and fame for generations. He still wanted more.

Li shared about Xu Wenwu (Tony Chiu-Wai Leung). Wenwu was the main bad guy in Shang-Chi. A fun fact, in the comic books, Wenwu’s character was actually named Fu Manchu.

It had been noted throughout history o what Wenwu wanted. He wanted more. More money, more fame, more power, more of everything.

We have to be careful not to get trapped in the trap of more.

It is easy because that’s what we’re always sold. We need the bigger house. The faster car. The sexier wife.

The desire for more is strong within us. We have to learn to control it before it gets out of control.

3. We can run from our responsibilities:

Katy (Awkwafina) and Shang-Chi (going by the name Shaun) were having dinner with their friends. Their friends called out the duo.

What was said? The pair noted Katy and Shaun were not living up to their potential. Both of them were smart. Katy even had multiple degrees.

What were Katy and Shaun doing with their lives? Running from their responsibilities by being valets.

I’ve seen many leaders who have hidden themselves because of the fear of having more responsibilities. Why? Because responsibility means we’re growing up and growing out. The responsibility placed on us can push us beyond our comfort zones.

We have to make sure we’re not running from our responsibilities. Rather, we should be running to our responsibilities.

4. We can surprise those we lead:

Katy and Shaun took the bus to their valet job. During their commute, the bus was attacked by Razor Fist (Florian Munteanu) and his crew. They wanted Shang-Chi’s emerald pendant.

Katy told the attackers that Shaun couldn’t fight. She thought he was going to be mince-meat.

She was wrong.

Shang-Chi had been trained by his father to be deadly. With the skills he had, he easily dispatched the thugs trying to take his pendant. He did struggle with Razor Fist, who eventually was able to steal the prize.

What does this have to do with leadership? It shows us that we can still surprise those who think they know us well. This could be the team we lead or the leadership above us (yes, there is always someone above you).

Don’t be afraid to show your skills. They are part of you and you need to lead with them.

5. We lead in a connected universe.

Shang-Chi had received a message from his sister, Xialing (Meng’er Zhang), or so he thought. He and Katy traveled to Hong Kong to meet with her.

When they arrived, Shang-Chi unwittingly signed up to fight in an underground fight club. The opponent? His sister.

But, before this, we see something else. Multiple fights are going on. One of those involved the Abomination (Tim Roth from The Incredible Hulk movie) and Wong (Benedict Wong from Dr. Strange).

These two battled each other. But, more importantly, it showed that there was a connection to a larger universe. Shang-Chi was firmly planted in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

We cannot forget that we lead in a connected world. We, and the organizations we lead, are not islands to themselves.

What we do goes beyond our organizations. Our actions impact people and other organizations.

Lead with that in mind.

6. When a leader is absent, a team begins to believe they don’t need a leader:

As a teenager, Shang-Chi left his father and sister. He went off and never came back.

Before leaving, Shang-Chi told Xialing that he would be back in 3 days. 3 days turned into 1 week. Then 1 month. Then 6 years.

During this time, Xialing realized she didn’t need Shang-Chi. He was absent and she didn’t need him.

When you’re absent from your organization, your people will begin to wonder whether or not you’re needed. They will see themselves getting things done. They will see success.

What they won’t see is you.

Make sure you’re present for your team and your organization. Without your presence, people will begin to think the leader isn’t needed.

7. You can learn from watching others:

Xialing wasn’t allowed to train with the boys at her father’s training facility. It was due to her being a female.

What happened? Xialing began to watch the boys train. She would study their moves, their actions. Then she would repeat those moves in private.

Through constant practice, she became a great fighter. She learned from watching other great fighters.

You may not have the ability to interact with the leaders you respect personally. However, you do have the opportunity to watch them.

Observe what these leaders do. Repeat their actions. You will start to see results.

8. Release your tension:

Katy, Shang-Chi, Xialing, and Trevor Slattery (Ben Kingsley, the fake Mandarin from Iron Man 3) made their way to Ta-Lo, the hidden city where Shang-Chi’s mother was from. There, they met Ying Nan (Michelle Yeoh).

Shang-Chi began to train with Nan. We see Shang-Chi begin the training with closed, clenched fists. There was tension in his fighting style.

Nan helped Shang-Chi open up his fists. To release the tension.

Once the tension was released, Shang-Chi began to flow in his fighting.

We can hold onto things that have bothered us. This creates a tension that slows us down.

By releasing the tension we’re holding onto, we free ourselves to begin moving freely, unencumbered. Let go of the tension. Go in with hands open instead of fists clenched.

9. Li:

Take everything we’ve given you and make it your own.

Li understood that Shang-Chi had been given part of her and part of his father. There were two parts. Two parts that were very different yet still a part of who he was.

Shang-Chi had to understand this to become victorious. He had to embrace that he is made up of good and bad.

We have to understand that we have been given a little piece of each leader that has come before us. We are made up of everything they’ve poured into us.

Some of this will be amazing. The leaders before us may have taught us how to lead with authenticity, humility, and grace. Use these things!

Some bad leaders may have also led us. These leaders may have taught us to brag, be snarky, or some other poor leadership trait. Realize this but realize you don’t have to own it.

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