Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Sharknado

A Reel Leadership Article

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Moviegoers have been treated to natural disaster movies. These include films such as Twister, The Day After Tomorrow, and others. Natural disaster movies tap into something that terrifies us while thrilling us.

We’ve also been treated to monster animal movies. Jurassic Park, The Meg, The Grey, and others have brought the horror of animals attacking us to the big screen.


Something happened in 2013. SyFy, a science-fiction focused television channel, merged the two genres. They gave us something that combined animals attacking and natural disasters. That film was Sharknado.

Man with a chainsaw jumping into the open mouth of a shark from Sharknado

Sharknado became an instant cult classic. The cheesy sci-fi film spawned another five sequels. People flocked to the horrible storytelling, lapses in continuity, and more. The movies were so bad they were good.

Today, I’m taking you back to 2013. We will examine Sharknado to see what leadership lessons are in the movie. Surprisingly, you can find multiple lessons.

Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Sharknado

1. The lessons you’ve learned may not be correct:

Sharknado opens with a boat on the water. Captain Carlos Santiago (Israel Sáez de Miguel) was making a deal with Palmer (Marcus Choi). Santiago tells Palmer he’s learned something from being on the sea and fishing for sharks.

The lesson? People shouldn’t be afraid of sharks. Sharks should be scared of people.

Shortly after saying this, the sharks attack. Everyone on the boat died from sharks jumping onto the ship and chomping on them.

Guess these sharks didn’t get Santiago’s lesson!

We experience and learn while leading every day. There’s something new we gain, and we put those lessons into practice.

Most of the time, we benefit from these lessons. We’re able to apply them to the people and organizations we lead.

But then there are the times when those lessons aren’t correct.

Be willing to change your thinking when what you’ve learned doesn’t align with what you’re experiencing. The quicker you change, the easier it will be to correct.

2. Leaders will get hurt:

Fin Shepard (Ian Ziering) and Deanna (Sumiko Braun) had paddled out to catch the big waves produced by the incoming hurricane. Going into the water was a bad idea.

The storm had pushed the sharks toward Santa Monica Pier, and they were unhappy. Deanna was attacked and killed by the sharks. Fin was in danger of experiencing the same fate.

Baz Hogan (Jaason Simmons), Fin’s friend, was in the water on a Sea-Doo. He rushes to Fin’s aid.

While attempting to help, Baz is bit by a shark. His leg is bleeding. He’s hurt!

Leaders have a responsibility to help those they lead. They also have a responsibility to help the organization they’re a part of.

In doing so, a leader puts himself at risk—a risk of being hurt.

You may be hurt by the reaction of someone you help, the organization may let you go, or you may feel underappreciated. Hurt is a part of leadership.

Build up your resistance to being offended.

3. George (John Heard):

Don’t you ever make fun of my stool again.

George was the local bar drunk. Fin owned a bar on the Santa Monica Pier. George was a regular.

After the sharks attack, everyone fled the bar. People were falling, running over people, and being rude.

Nova Clarke (Cassandra Scerbo), the bar’s bartender, falls on the pier. She’s in trouble. She’s freaking out and cannot shoot the shark with her shotgun. Then, good old George comes to the rescue.

He wasn’t given a weapon when he left the bar like some of the others. Instead, he brought his bar stool with him. He bashes away the shark with the barstool.

We all use different tools to get the job done. Sometimes, the tools are unconventional. People may laugh at what you use.

Don’t let their remarks bother you. Use the tools that work for you.

4. Fin:

Hold up with the gun. We don’t need anymore blood in the water.

Fin, Baz, George, and Nova all hopped into a vehicle together to escape the attacking sharks. As they’re driving away, the sharks begin swimming in the roads.

Not good.

Nova begins to load the shotgun. Fin stops her. He thought about what would happen if Nova were to shoot a shark. There would be blood in the water.

What happens when there’s blood in the water and sharks around? Sharks go into a frenzy.

As leaders, we must be aware of the blood we’re adding to the water. We’re not adding real blood, but we are adding metaphorical blood.

The blood we’re adding can be:

  • Unneeded tension in the workplace
  • Rumors
  • Hidden truths
  • Bad new hires
  • And more…

We can add blood to the water that disturbs the people we lead. They become tense, feel unwelcome or unneeded, or worse.

Make sure you’re not adding blood to the water of the workplace. Do your best to help keep it a calm, inviting workplace.

5. Leaders help:

Fin is driving toward his ex-wife April Wexler’s (Tara Reid) house. He wanted to ensure April and their daughter, Claudia (Aubrey Peeples), were safe.

On the way to their home in Hollywood, Fin stops their vehicle. He saw there were people in trouble behind them. He couldn’t let those people be attacked by sharks.

He wasn’t the only one to jump to their aid. Nova, Baz, and, reluctantly, George all got out of the vehicle. They began helping those stranded by the rising water.

We’re leaders not because of the privilege. We are leaders because we are people helpers.

When we see people in need, we spring into action. We do what needs to be done even if we don’t want to.

Be a helper of people.

6. A lack of belief is dangerous:

Fin and his friends, minus George, who was killed while helping a stranded motorist, make it to April’s house. There, Fin runs into April’s boyfriend, Collin (Christopher Wolfe). He’s upset to see Fin at their door.

Fin fills April, Claudia, and Collin in on what’s happening. There’s still disbelief about a shark in their swimming pool.

Collin goes to the window to check out if it is true. This was Collin’s mistake. A shark crashed through the window and began to eat Collin.

His lack of belief caused his death.

A lack of belief is dangerous. This can play out in one of two ways.

The first is a lack of trust in the people you lead. They’re your eyes and ears on the floor. They deal with other employees, customers, and vendors. If you can’t believe them, that’s trouble.

The second is a lack of belief in the work that you do. If you don’t believe your work is valuable, you won’t do your best.

Believe in your people and the work you do.

7. People will be angered when you do the right thing:

Fin, Baz, Nova, Claudia, and April pile into their vehicle and head to get Matt (Christopher Wolfe). On their way, they once again run into people who need help.

There’s a school bus stuck on the flooded highway. Fin says they have to stop to help. April becomes upset.

She is frustrated because Fin is more interested in helping strangers than finding their son. However, Fin believes they must help others when given a chance.

His desire to stop was the right thing. There were multiple children and a bus driver on the bus. He is able to rescue them all except for Robbie the Bus Driver (Robbie Rist) who dies from a jumping shark.

You will have to decide between doing the right thing and the thing that makes people happy. Choose to do the right thing.

It’ll strain relationships. People will be upset. However, you will have to live with your decisions. Make the decision you can live with.

8. Matt:

Semper Paratus

Fin and the gang made it to the airfield Matt was at. They find him and some of his friends hiding behind a piece of corrugated metal.

They eventually make a run for transportation. There was a helicopter on the airstrip they considered using.

However, the helicopter wouldn’t hold the number of people they had. It would also be difficult and dangerous to fly.

That’s when they see a store across from the airfield. Matt had been there before and knew the store would hold the supplies they needed.

He quoted his father by saying Semper Paratus. The saying is Latin and means “Always prepared.”

Leaders may not always be prepared in the traditional sense. They are prepared to know where to go, who to talk to, and figure out what to do next. Just like Matt.

Work through the situations in front of you. Figure out what to do. In doing so, you’ll always be prepared.

9. Matt:

You always taught me to help people.

Matt wanted to take Nova up in the helicopter to attack the tornado. They had created bombs they could throw into the heart of the tornado to stop them.

April was hesitant to let Matt go. So was Fin.

However, Matt let Fin know his example encouraged him to do what he was about to do. Fin was always helping people, and it was something he tried to instill in his children.

The attitude of helping people stuck.

People are watching you, especially those you lead. They want to know who you are. When they figure that out, they begin to take on your traits.

The traits you display are the traits people will mimic. Make sure you’re displaying what you want people to do.

10. People open up when you open up:

Nova had a scar on her leg. Trust me, I know it was pretty gnarly, as I have a major scar on my arm from a childhood accident.

Matt noticed the scar. He inquired what happened as Nova tried to hide the scar.

Matt lifted his shirt and showed Nova that he, too, had a scar. He shared his story of how he obtained the injury.

Through Matt’s openness, Nova began to share her experience.

Are you closed off as a leader? Do people feel they can’t approach you? That’s not good.

Leaders who open up have people who open up. Their people will share their struggles, challenges, and desires if the leader opens up.

Be willing to share your experiences and challenges. You’re going to help your people deal with their own issues in doing so.

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