Pam and I were planning on seeing the new Tom Cruise movie Mission Impossible: Fallout this past weekend with our Moviepass accounts. However, due to the recent troubles Moviepass has faced, the movie we’d desired to see was blocked out from our account. This meant we had to choose another movie this weekend.
That movie was the DC Comics animated movie Teen Titans Go! To The Movies. Teen Titans Go! To The Movies brings the most recent Teen Titans cartoon to the big screen. This series is not as serious as the previous Teen Titans cartoon or the upcoming R-Rated Teen Titans live-action streaming series on the DC Universe streaming service.
Instead of being serious or dark, Teen Titans Go! plays up the sidekick superheroes as immature, childish, and selfish. This made for a fun time at the theater. Teen Titans Go! To The Movies also provided many leadership lessons. In this week’s Reel Leadership, we’re going to look at the leadership lessons from Teen Titans Go! To The Movies.
Caution: Teen Titans Go! To The Movies spoilers below
Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Teen Titans Go! To The Movies
1. Bad leaders destroy:
Teen Titans Go! To The Movies starts out with Balloon Man (Greg Davies) attacking a city. Balloon Man pops a little boy’s balloon. He crashes through buildings. He causes mayhem.
Destruction is the typical result of a bad leader. Whether intentional or not, bad leaders leave a wake of destruction in their path.
2. Beware of distractions:
One of Balloon Man’s powers was to create balloon animals. He would expel these creations from his body and fling them at the Teen Titans.
Starfire (Hynden Welch) was distracted by the balloon animals. Balloons! She exclaimed and attempted to play with the creations.
Are you easily distracted from your leadership duties? What things take your attention off of the job at hand?
Be keenly aware of what takes your attention. Do your best to stay focused on the task at hand.
3. Don’t take yourself too seriously:
Teen Titans Go! To The Movies wasn’t a serious film. The filmmakers knew this and found multiple ways to poke fun at the heroes and the movie itself.
From appearances by Stan Lee (yes, the man created with building the Marvel Comics universe in a DC Comics movie!) to Balloon Man asking the Teen Titans if they were the Justice League or Guardians Of The Galaxy, nothing was taken seriously in the movie. And that’s okay.
You have to be careful of taking yourself too seriously. You’re not all that and a bag of cookies.
You’re human and failable like everybody else on your team. When you begin to own your humanity, people begin to respect you more.
Listen to me Titans. If you keep playing the fool, only as jokes…
The Teen Titans wanted to be taken seriously. Yet they continued to crack fart jokes and not take their work seriously.
Superman (Nicolas Cage, looks like he finally got to play Superman after all!) gave the Teen Titans a talking to. Even during this talk, the Teen Titans weren’t paying attention and kept goofing off.
However, Superman knew something the Teen Titans kept missing: You can have fun but you have to be serious at times….
I know the previous leadership lesson from Teen Titans Go! To The Movies said to not take yourself too seriously. But you also can’t play the fool. You can’t play around all the time.
You have to know the right times to be serious and the right time to have fun.
5. You may not get what you think you deserve:
At the premiere of the latest Batman movie in the Teen Titans universe, they previewed characters who were getting new movies. Batman’s butler Alfred had a movie trailer. Batman’s Batmobile had one as well. Last, but not least, Batman’s Utility Belt had a movie trailer too!
This didn’t sit well with Robin (Scott Menville). As each new movie was being announced, Robin thought it was going to be him. Time after time, Robin was disappointed. He didn’t get what he thought he deserved.
Do you ever feel discouraged because you’re not moving up the ranks quickly enough? Or maybe you feel like you’ve been passed by unfairly.
I’ve been there with my career and this leadership blog. Sometimes I feel like things aren’t progressing quickly enough or that I’m not getting what I deserve.
What you and I have to remember during these times is that we don’t get what we think we deserve. We don’t get what we deserve.
And we’ve got to be okay with that.
Hahaha… He thought the movie was about him!
The Atom (Patton Oswalt) laughed at Robin because Robin believed the movie trailers were going to be about him. When they weren’t, Robin threw a temper tantrum.
As a leader, you’ve got to realize everything isn’t about you. Leadership is about the organization. Leadership is about the people. And leadership is about getting things done.
You may play an important part but you’re not the bee’s knees. You’re just a part of what’s going on. Don’t make leadership about you.
7. Leaders battle with self-doubt:
Robin fought alongside the other Teen Titans:
Raven (Tara Strong)
Cyborg (Khary Payton)
Beast Boy (Greg Cipes)
He and his teammates weren’t taken seriously. Superheroes like Superman, Aquaman (Eric Bauza), Wonder Woman (Halsey), Batman (Jimmy Kimmel), Flash (Wil Wheaton), and other DC characters constantly talked down to the Teen Titans. Then the villains of Balloon Man and Slade (Will Arnett) and movie producer Jade Wilson (Kristen Bell) talked down to the team as well.
Robin played their quotes over and over again in his head. He lay in his bed and focused on what others had said about him and his team.
This led to a battle with self-doubt. He began to believe he wasn’t good enough.
You may be like Robin. I know I am more than I’d like to admit.
Know other leaders are battling with self-doubt. In fact, everyone does. You can’t avoid it.
What you can do is fight the negative self-talk and defeating mindset. Whenever you begin to feel self-doubt creep in, remind yourself of all the good you’ve accomplished.
8. Find positive, upbeat content to bring up your mood:
While Robin was sulking around Teen Titans headquarters, Cyborg knew he had to try to cheer Robin up. What did he do? He played an upbeat, inspirational song for Robin.
This song perked Robin up. Robin’s mood changed drastically. It encouraged him to the point Robin believed he could get his own movie.
There are plenty of positive, upbeat, inspirational content out there for you to use to boost your mood. Find what works for you.
The inspirational content may be:
Praise and worship songs
Fast-paced video games
Funny YouTube videos
Find what works for you. Then pull out the guns when you need the inspiration to keep you going.
9. Don’t forget your strengths:
Every time the Teen Titans were stopped from gaining access, Raven had to remind the team of her power to open a portal. The portal could give them access to previously restricted areas.
This allowed the Teen Titans to access the Batman movie premiere. It also allowed them to gain access to the movie set.
What strengths are you forgetting you have? Could these strengths help you get to the next level of leadership or finish the mission you’re on?
Look at yourself. Figure out your strengths. Write them down so you can easily refer to them. Then go use them.
10. It’s hard to anticipate the consequences of your actions:
Robin was rejected for a movie. After his rejection, Robin had an idea! He would go back and stop all of the heroes from becoming heroes. This would make him the go-to hero.
Except there was a problem. After stopping Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, the Flash, and other superheroes from becoming super, the world became a dystopian world.
Destruction was all around. Villains like the Joker and Harley Quinn had taken over.
Robin and the other Teen Titans didn’t anticipate the cost or consequence of their actions.
You may not break the world but your consequences still impact others. Your choices may make or break the organization you’re working for.
Do your best to research the possible outcomes of your actions. Then make wise choices.
11. Bad leaders look out for themselves:
Jade Wilson tried to entice Robin to leave the Teen Titans. She eventually did by telling Robin she would do a movie about him… Not the Teen Titans.
Robin chose to leave the Teen Titans to do the movie. Robin was looking out for himself.
Do you remember the book Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek? He shares a great truth about leadership.
Great leadership isn’t about the leader. Great leadership is about looking after the people on your team.
The most effective leaders know they can’t look out for themselves. They have to look out for the team.
Don’t be like Robin. Don’t be out only for your gain. Because, as we learn later in the movie, bad things happen…
12. Be careful what you focus on:
The superheroes in Teen Titans Go! To The Movies quickly begin to focus on making movies. They start to neglect their duties as superheroes.
No longer were their cities protected. Criminals and baddies began to move into the once protected areas.
Leaders can get sidetracked and focused on the wrong things. They think they’re doing good work when in all actuality they’re focused on menial, unnecessary tasks.
Your focus needs to be on the right things. Know what needs to get done and focus on those action items.
You were so desperate to be in a movie, you turned your back on everything that was important to you including your friends.
The villain Slade knew what Robin did wrong. Robin had begun to focus on the wrong thing. He wanted fame and recognition.
To do this, he abandoned everything he cared about. Even his friends!
This weakened Robin’s ability to be effective. He no longer had pain partners to do life with.
Are you so focused on success that you’ve abandoned your friends and families? This won’t lead you to true success.
Be careful you don’t leave the people you care about behind. You need them more than you need fame and fortune.
14. Your weakness may be a hidden strength:
Jade Wilson was actually Slade in disguise. He had used his deceit to trick Robin into opening the vault at Teen Titans headquarters.
After a brief battle, Robin was knocked to the wall. There, restraints went over his arms and held him in place.
One of the things Robin had been teased about was his small hands. They were baby hands, if we want to be honest. Yet his baby hands came in handy.
Robin was able to slip free of the restraints because his hands were so small. What he and others had seen as a weakness became a strength.
My friend David Rendall has a book called Freak Factor. In his book, he talks about the weaknesses we see in ourselves and how we try to overcome our weaknesses.
He asserts those weaknesses may not be weaknesses. They may actually be hidden strengths, like Robin’s baby hands.
Look for ways to reframe your view of the weaknesses in your life. How can they be strengths? You will be surprised when you examine them. They’re more strengths than weaknesses.
15. You’re a leader because of your team:
Robin had turned his back on the Teen Titans, his friends… Towards the end of the movie, Robin realized the mistake he’d made. And he reached out to the rest of the Teen Titans.
He called to apologize. To say he realized his mistake. To tell them they were already heroes because they were a team.
You can’t lead without a team. Make sure you’re not leaving them behind because you think you’re more important than they are.
You can only be a leader when you’re leading someone.
I’m proud to call myself a Teen Titan.
Throughout Teen Titans Go! To The Movies, Robin acted ashamed of the fact he was a Teen Titan. You got the feeling he would have preferred to be on the Justice League or another superhero team.
By the end of Teen Titans Go! To The Movies, Robin realizes his team is just as valuable as the other teams. They were just different.
Your team won’t be like other teams. They’ll be unique. They’ll bring their own talents and skills to the table. And they’ll also bring their own weaknesses.
This is okay. This is what makes your team unique.
Robin realized this. You need to realize it as well.
You don’t need to be like other teams. You don’t need to lead the same as other leaders. What you need to do is lead your team in a way that is unique to you and to them.