Quotes And Leadership Lessons From The Beekeeper

A Reel Leadership Article

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Pamela and I were invited to a special sneak preview of the upcoming movie The Beekeeper in IMAX format. In The Beekeeper, Jason Statham plays Adam Clay. Clay is a former Beekeeper, a powerful and top-secret organization that takes care of problems no one else can. He comes out of retirement after the only person who ever took care of him, Eloise Parker (Phylicia Rashad), committed suicide after being scammed by phishers.

A bald man with a stubble beard looking to the left. Bees are swarming around him. Yellow background. Scene from The Beekeeper movie.

This sets Clay on a deadly path. He tears through people in his way until he gets to the top of the food chain of the phishing scheme. 

The Beekeeper goes full throttle on the action, just like you’d expect from a Jason Statham movie. You’ll feel the whiplash as cars explode, bodies fall, and Clay seeks to right a wrong that shouldn’t have happened.

Let’s dive into the leadership lessons in The Beekeeper.

Quotes And Leadership Lessons From The Beekeeper

1. Leaders and team members help each other:

Clay had led a difficult life. Then he returned from the Beekeepers. Upon his retirement, he became a literal beekeeper and neighbor of Eloise. 

He was thankful for Eloise. She had cared for him and helped him get back on his feet. He was not the same man because of her.

But then Eloise thanked Clay. She was thankful for Clay because he had helped bring her property back to life from the crabgrass and dirt it had become.

This pair had helped one another. Their relationship wasn’t a one-way street.

This is how your relationship with your team should work. Yes, they’re your employees. They’re helping your organization thrive. But they also deserve your help.

You have to give them the tools and resources they need. You have to give them emotional support. You must be there to pick them back up and have their backs.

Be a leader who reciprocates the help you receive.

2. Don’t let despair take your life:

Eloise had been scammed by an enterprising phishing organization. After receiving a message on her computer that it had been compromised, she called the number on her screen (Never, never do that!). A man answers the phone and leads her to give up confidential information to the organization through keylogging software.

The organization wipes her savings, investments, and charity organization dry. She’s bereft. She’s lost everything.

Later that night, she commits suicide.

This was such a sad scene. It mirrors real life. People become distraught. They see no way forward. They choose to end their life.

I want you to know that despair doesn’t have to claim your life. Even in the darkest of days, there are reasons to continue forward. 

Don’t let despair and bad choices take your life. You can make it.

3. Verona Parker (Emmy Raver-Lampman):

I need to apologize for last night.

Clay had arrived at Eloise’s home not too long after she’d committed suicide. He finds her car in the driveway, the door unlocked, and the smoke alarm blaring. 

He enters the house to find Eloise with a gunshot wound. This is when FBI Agent Verona Parker (Eloise’s daughter) and other agents enter the house. They see Clay standing near the dead body.

Verona accuses Clay of murdering her mother and has him taken into custody.

When Verona discovers she was wrong, she apologizes to Clay.

Leaders don’t get it right 100% of the time. In fact, we can get things twisted and wrong more times than not.

What we need to do is apologize when we’re wrong. Tell the person you wronged that you’re sorry.

It will help heal relationships and build stronger bonds.

4. Clay:

I need to take care of the hive.

Clay and Verona discuss how elderly people are easy targets for phishing scams like this. There’s no one helping them. They’re easy targets and forgotten.

Throughout the movie, Clay uses beekeeping terms to describe actions he will take and events that will happen. After talking with Verona, he tells her he must take care of the hive. Verona thinks he’s talking about his personal beehives. He’s not. He’s talking about Verona and Eloise. He’s going to go take down the villains who hurt Eloise.

Leaders need to take care of their hive. Their hive is the people they lead. The ones who report to them.

Make sure you’re taking care of your people. They’re under your care. They’re your responsibility. If you don’t care for them, no one in your organization will.

5. There is a time to be scared:

Derek Danforth (Josh Hutcherson) is the man behind the phishing call centers. He receives a call from one of his people. Then Clay shows up to dispose of the man. After he ties the man to his truck and lets the truck go into the river, Clay picks up the phone and has a discussion with Derek.

The conversation goes as you’d expect. Not well for the young Derek. Wallace Westwyld (Jeremy Irons), former head of the CIA, had been tasked with keeping tabs on Derek. After hearing Derek’s phone call with Clay, Wallace asks who had called. Derek said the man had mentioned being a beekeeper. 

This set Wallace on edge. He knew who the beekeepers were. It was time to be scared.

Organizations face many challenges. They can be simple or complex. The more complex it is, the more you may have to consider that you must be afraid.

If you’ve experienced fraud within your organization, it may be an appropriate response. If you’ve made some morally corrupt decisions, it could be time to be scared.

Being scared can be an appropriate response to the situations around you or the decisions you’ve made.

6. Some leaders should be removed:

Wallace calls up Director Janet Harward (Minnie Driver). He asks about Clay. She tells Wallace that Clay is a retired Beekeeper. He shouldn’t be in action. There is, in fact, a new Beekeeper in town. That Beekeeper would take Clay out.

Knowing who the new Beekeeper was, Wallace wasn’t thrilled. He knew who she was. And she was a lunatic. He believed she should have been removed from the Beekeepers program already. 

People get put into positions that don’t fit them all the time. It takes courage to remove someone from a position that doesn’t fit them.

If you elevate someone to a leadership position and they don’t fit, don’t be afraid to remove them. 

You can look for alternative positions that would suit them better. Or you could help them find a new position somewhere else.

You don’t have to keep a bad fit in a position.

7. Clay:

Do you know who you’re working for?

Wallace sent in a group of men to take out Clay. They were led by a man named Pettis (Michael Epp). Clay makes easy work of Pettis’ men. 

He then confronts Pettis. He asks Pettis if he knows who he’s working for. Pettis didn’t care. All he cared about was getting paid.


That wasn’t the right answer. 

Clay confronted Pettis because the people he was working for were terrible people. They destroyed lives, stole money, and more. No one should work for someone like that.

Do you know who you’re working for? Are they honest? Do they treat people with respect? Do they do the right thing?

If you can’t answer these questions with positive answers, you need to consider looking elsewhere for employment. It’s not worth it to work for someone who is corrupt.

8. Verona:

I can’t stand by and let it happen.

Agent Matt Wiley (Bobby Naderi) knew why Clay was doing his thing. He was taking out the trash that the FBI couldn’t touch. He was also avenging Verona’s mother.

Verona had morals. She stuck to her guns as she pursued Clay. She understood what Clay was doing and why he was doing it.


Verona had taken an oath to do the right thing. She couldn’t let Clay get away with the killings.

Great leaders see what’s happening. When they see something isn’t right, they can’t let it continue.

Be willing to step in when things aren’t right. Be willing to put an end to whatever it is.

You’re the leader. It’s your responsibility.

9. How you become a leader matters:

Viewers discover that Derek is the son of Jessica Danforth (Jemma Redgrave). More than that, Jessica is the President of the United States of America. 

Jessica didn’t become President because she was the best candidate. She became President because of Derek’s help. His software had helped put her into the White House. 


This upset Jessica when she found out. She thought she had gotten there ethically.

It matters how you become a leader. You can’t lie and cheat your way to the top. You have to work hard, do the right thing, and care for others.

If you don’t, you’ll find yourself in Jessica’s shoes. Her house fell down around her.

10. Leaders tell the truth because it’s the truth:

Derek asked his mom if she would tell the truth so that she could get away. She said no, that is not why she will tell the truth.

Jessica said she will tell the truth because it’s the truth. She wasn’t going to cover things up with lies anymore.

It can be hard to tell the truth. Telling the truth may feel like it will set you back, destroy your authority, or harm you in some other way.

Truth is: It just may. But you can’t let that stop you.

Leaders have to be bastions of truth. They have to be the ones who go and show the way. 

Leaders are truth-tellers.

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