Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Stranger Things Season 4 Chapter 9: The Piggyback

A Reel Leadership Article

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

The hit Netflix show Strangers Things is back for the final two episodes and boy were they good. Instead of looking at movie leadership lessons, I’m giving my readers a double-header of Stranger Things goodness.

Today, there will be two articles. This is the second Reel Leadership article (you can see the first set of leadership lessons from Strange Things Season 4 Chapter 8 here). We will look at Season 4’s Chapter 9. This second episode cranks in at feature film length. Chapter 9’s runtime is 2 hours 19 minutes. Both of the episodes are worth the watch.

Chapter 9 focuses on the fight against Venca. Max Mayfield (Sadie Sink) is determined to take out Venca. She has devised a plan where she is used as bait to allow Eleven (Mille Bobby Brown), Mike Wheeler (Finn Wolfhard), Dustin Henderson (Gaten Matarazzo), Lucas Sinclair (Caleb McLaughlin), Will Byers (Noah Schnapp), Nancy Wheeler (Natalia Dyer), Jonathan Byers (Charlie Heaton), Steve Harrington (Joe Keery), Robin Buckley (Maya Hawke), Erica Sinclair (Priah Ferguson), Eddie Munson (Joseph Quinn), and others to end his evil reign.

If you need to catch up on Stranger Things, binge-watch the episodes on Netflix or purchase seasons 1-3 on Amazon.

Now, fair warning, there are plenty of spoilers in this article. If you haven’t watched Stranger Things, be careful reading on. If you’re ready to discover the leadership lessons in Stranger Things, continue reading!

Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Stranger Things Season 4 Chapter 9: The Piggyback

1. Painful experiences give us time to reflect:

Joyce Byers (Winona Ryder) notices the weight loss and scars on Jim Hopper’s (David Harbour) body. She wonders how Hopper received these scars and weight loss.

She knows the answer. Hopper has spent considerable time in the Russian prison.

Talking to Hopper, Hopper tells Joyce it wasn’t all bad. The painful experience gave him time to reflect.

Leaders can hate going through painful situations. They may think the situation is unfair or inappropriate.

We shouldn’t think this way. Instead, we should look at the painful situations in our lives as learning opportunities.

We can reflect on our past actions. We can look to see what we could have done better.

Don’t throw away the opportunity your painful past gives you. Use your pain to push you forward.

2. Leaders shouldn’t try to be the hero:

Steve talks to Dusty and the rocker Eddie. He tells them that they are not to be heroes.

Dusty and Eddie mock Steve. They say:

Ohhh… Go be the hero.

Steve’s insistence that they not be the hero was insulting. They saw this. And they were hurt.

Your people don’t need you to be the hero. They need you to be there for them.

Stop playing the hero. Be the supporter. You’ll get more out of your team and make them feel like a million dollars.

Did you enjoy the song Running Up That Hill by Kate Bush that kept Max safe? You can get the album on Amazon.

3. Use your past experiences:

Eleven knew she had to help Max. She didn’t know how since they were miles apart from each other.

Then Eleven remembered.

She could piggyback into Max’s mind to fight Venca (Jamie Campbell Bower). How did she know this? Eleven had past experience.

Eleven had piggybacked into the mind of Billy Hargrove (Dacre Montgomery). If she piggybacked into his mind, she could piggyback into Max’s.

We think our past experiences hold no value. They do.

You can look back at the tasks, actions, and activities you’ve participated in before. These hold the clues to what you can do now.

Look at your past experiences to help you lead better today.

4. Dmitri Antonov (Tom Wlaschiha):

That hero, where is he now?

Yuri (Nikola Djuricko) had previously double-crossed Antonov, Joyce, and Hopper. He was now stalling to repair a helicopter. This helicopter would fly the trio to freedom.

Antonov knew Yuri was stalling. He called out the man he knew Yuri could be.

There were stories of the exploits of Yuri the Peanut Butter smuggler. The stories told of a brave man.

Antonov saw no brave man. But he knew he could by prodding Yuri.

And it worked.

Do you have people on your team that you know are an amazing talent? Do they struggle to perform?

Maybe it is time you call them out.

Not in a negative way. You call these people out to remind them of what they are capable of. Call out the greatness within them.

5. Leaders may have to be loud:

Eddie was part of the plan to attack Vecna. His role was to rock out and attract the bats guarding Vecna.

To do this, Eddie played the song Master Of Puppets by Metallica.

He played the song loud. He played furiously.

And the bats came.

Leaders need to learn when to be quiet and when to be loud. Choosing the appropriate time will help you lead effectively.

Some times you may have to lead loudly are:

  • When people are not listening
  • To regain control of the room (though quietness can work just as effectively here)
  • To drive home a point

Use loudness sparingly and wisely.

6. Find the right mentors:

Lucas had admired the jocks at Hawkins. One of those was Jason Carver (Mason Dye).

Jason was the captain of the basketball team. Everyone looked up to him.

Then, Jason’s girlfriend, Chrissy (Grace Van Dien), was killed by Vecna. Everyone placed the blame on Eddie.

Seeing how evil Jason became, Lucas realized this was not someone he wanted to be like. In fact, Jason may be more unlikeable than Vecna!

When looking for mentors, make sure you are looking for leaders with the right qualities.

You will be tempted to go with the fancy leader. Or someone rich and famous.

WISE ADVICE: Go with the steady leader. Go with someone who has proven themselves.

7. Those who think they’re not leaders are often the best leaders:

Eddie didn’t believe himself to be a hero. He had run multiple times, including when Vecna killed Chrissy.

He believed himself to be a coward.

Yet, in the end, Eddie was a hero.

He allowed Dusty to get out of the Upside Down. Then, he drew the evil bats away from Vecna again.

Finally, Eddie succumbed to the attack of the bats. He died protecting those he loved and cared for.

Just because you don’t believe yourself to be a leader doesn’t mean you’re not. Your actions will tell you the truth.

Make sure your actions align with what a leader would do. If they do, you’re a leader.

8. Vecna:

That is why he sought greatness in you and in me.

Vecna saw Dr. Brenner (Matthew Modine) looking for greatness in others. He had looked for greatness in Henry/Vecna. He looked for greatness in Eleven.

Vecna believed Dr. Brenner was weak because of this.

I think Vecna was wrong.

Great leaders look for greatness in others. They see the potential of what people can become.

Then, they seek to pull the greatness out of the people they lead.

Don’t think yourself weak for seeing and desiring people to be great. By building up people, you are creating the next generation of leaders.

9. Robin:

But is there anything else we can do to help?

Robin and the gang dropped off toys, blankets, and sheets at the Hawkins emergency center. The official report of what happened was that there was an earthquake. The city needed help and that’s what the gang was doing.

Yet, Robin wanted to do more. She asked the lady taking the donations what else could be done to help.

They were put to work helping the survivors of Vecna’s attack.

Great leaders know the work is never done. There is always going to be something else they can help with.

Ask those around you if there is anything else you can do to help. You will get an answer.

10. Dusty:

Mr. Munson, he’s a hero.

Mr. Wayne Munson (Joel Stoffer) is Eddie’s uncle. He posted a missing poster of Eddie that had to be replaced as someone had graffitied it with a pentagram.

Dusty approached Mr. Munson. He let him know that Eddie was with him during the earthquake.

More than that, Dusty told Mr. Munson that Eddie was a hero to a city that hated him.


Leaders lead despite how people feel about them.

You may desire for your team to love you. They may. Then again, they may not.

This doesn’t negate your responsibility to them.

Lead even when people don’t like you.

Enjoyed reading about the leadership lessons from Stranger Things Season 4 Episode 9? Get all the leadership lessons from Stranger Things Season 4 Episode 8 by clicking here.

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