Denzel Washington returns as Robert McCall in the Equalizer 2. Robert serves as an avenging angel. He goes after those who prey on the weak and the powerless.
When one of his close friends is murdered, he sets out on a mission. He will find the people responsible for Susan Plummer’s (Melissa Leo) death and avenge her.
The Equalizer 2 isn’t for the faint of heart. There’s a lot of profanity. Even more blood and death. Yet there are many leadership lessons in the Equalizer 2.
Let’s check out those leadership lessons in the latest edition of Reel Leadership.
Caution: The Equalizer 2 spoilers below
Quotes And Leadership Lessons From The Equalizer 2
1. Great leaders confront wrongs:
Robert McCall was a man on a mission. He sought out the aggressors of wrongs. When he found someone doing wrong, he would exact vengeance upon them.
From the man who kidnapped his daughter to the businessmen who raped a young lady, Robert didn’t mess around. He would confront them. He would challenge what they had done. And then he would right the wrong in his own way.
Great leaders know they can’t sit on the sidelines while bad things are going down. They know they have to stand up against evil and wrongdoing.
When you see something wrong, do you let it be? Or do you confront it? Be willing to stand against what’s wrong. Be someone who’s willing to bring good into the world.
2. Robert McCall:
Today, you get to choose.
There was a man who had kidnapped his own daughter. He’d taken her away from her mother and took a train to Turkey. Robert tracked the man down and joined him on the train.
Robert then confronted the man. He told the man there were two types of pain. Today, he would get to choose what kind of pain he received.
When confronting the kidnapper and spousal abuser, Robert could have meted out his own justice. In a sense, he still did. Yet he gave the man a choice. He let the man decide what pain he would receive.
Every day, you have choices you can make. You can make a choice to bring joy and happiness to those around you. You can choose to bring pain and misery to the same people. The choice is yours.
What are you going to choose today?
3. Leaders wear many hats:
Robert wore a lot of hats in The Equalizer 2. He dressed as a Muslim man on a pilgrimage to Turkey. He was a Lyft driver. And he was someone who helped young men in his community.
His role wasn’t static. He moved and shifted his roles throughout the movie.
Your role as a leader is much like Robert’s. You’re not in a single position. You’re constantly shifting and changing what you’re doing.
Be willing to shift as you lead. Go where you’re needed and do what you need to do.
4. Sam Rubinstein:
Every day, I know less…
Sam Rubinstein (Orson Bean) was a Holocaust survivor. He was separated from his sister during this time and was on a search for his sister, Magda (Gloria Papert). He was also a friend of Robert’s.
In one of their conversations, Sam confessed he knew less every day. As he aged, he began to forget more and more of his history.
The sad reality of life is that we are all like Sam. While we may gain knowledge, we also lose knowledge.
You’re growing and dying at the same time. You have to be ready to accept the fact you don’t know as much as you think you do.
5. You can turn around:
After picking up a Lyft passenger, the passenger begins to recite the serenity prayer. He’s praying and telling himself he doesn’t need a drink. He can say no.
Then he asks Robert to turn around. To bring him back.
You may be on a dark path. You may be struggling and thinking there’s no way out. You’d be wrong. You can turn around.
You don’t have to keep going down the path you’re going. There’s a choice you can make. You can choose to continue or you can turn around. Choose the right path.
6. Susan Plummer:
It’s great that you’re helping all these people but it’s not going to fill the void in your heart.
Susan was a long-time friend of Robert’s. They’d worked together and she’d been there when he lost his wife.
She knew Robert was missing something in his life. He was unwilling to face the death of his wife and did all these “good” deeds to fill a void in his heart.
You may be trying to do good deeds because there’s something missing in your heart. If you’re missing something in your heart, may I suggest you look to Jesus?
He’s the perfect shape to fill the void and is always there for you. He won’t leave you or forsake you. He is there for you.
7. You have to do the grunt work:
A bunch of thugs vandalized the building Robert lived in. They destroyed the garden and spraypainted the brick walls.
Robert knew the building maintenance team wouldn’t fix it. Other residents wouldn’t fix it. So he began scrubbing away the graffiti.
The role of a leader isn’t to sit in the corner office and bark orders. You will have to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty. You will have to clean up messes and do things others are unwilling to do.
Be prepared to work hard. Be prepared to do things you don’t want to do. And be ready to be a leader.
8. Robert McCall:
It takes talent to make money. It takes brains to keep money.
Miles Whittaker (Ashton Sanders) was a neighbor of Robert’s. Miles had dreams of drawing and painting yet he was slowly but surely moving towards a life of crime. Robert saw this and confronted the young man.
He challenged Miles to become a better version of himself. When Miles told Robert his dreams, Robert encouraged him. He also told Miles that earning money was easy, keeping money was the difficult part.
You may be talented. You may have the skill to earn lots of money. But do you have the knowledge and wisdom to keep the money you earn?
Be careful in how you spend your money. The more you spend, the more you have to earn. It’s a vicious cycle and one high earners fall into.
9. Brian Plummer:
I don’t know what to do now…
Brian Plummer (Bill Pullman) was Susan’s husband. After Susan’s death, Brian became lost. He didn’t know what to do.
The Agency Susan worked for said they were looking into her death and working with Interpol. The police said robberies happen in the hotels in Brussels.
With these words, Brian didn’t know what else could be done. And he wasn’t afraid to admit it.
Leadership brings you to places where you don’t know what to do next. You may have thought you had it all figured out only to have the rug pulled out from underneath you.
Don’t be afraid to admit you don’t know what to do next. Share your concerns with friends. Let them know your struggles. Bring in your pain partners.
They’ll help lead you through these murky times.
10. Visualize what you want:
There was a special talent Robert had. He could almost see the future and past events. He was able to visualize what had come before and what was coming.
He was attacked on the train to Turkey. He could visualize the attackers’ moves. When he visited the home of Mr. Calbert (Antoine de Lartigue) and Jana Calbert (Abigail Marlowe), he was able to visualize what happened to the pair.
Are you able to visualize the future you want for yourself and your team? If you can’t, begin working on your visualization skills.
Write down your thoughts about your future. What do you want it to look like? Do you want a family with 3 kids? Do you want to travel? Or do you want to own your own company?
Visualization will help you get the clarity and answers you need for your life.
11. Robert McCall:
You got a choice. You got talent… Use it while you’re alive.
Robert wanted to see Miles succeed in life. Yet Miles was wasting his life by hanging out with gang members.
There was a choice Miles had to make. To use his talents or to become another statistic. The choice was his.
There’s an old saying…
“Cemeteries are full of unfulfilled dreams… countless echoes of ‘could have’ and ‘should have’… countless books unwritten… countless songs unsung… I want to live my life in such a way that when my body is laid to rest, it will be a well needed rest from a life well lived, a song well sung, a book well written, opportunities well explored, and a love well expressed.” – Steve Maraboli
Talent… Talent wasted because people were scared to try. They were afraid they would be rejected. Or they felt they weren’t good enough.
Your talent is worthless in the grave. Don’t horde your talent and skills. Use them. Hone them. Let the world have them.
12. Encourage others to better themselves:
Miles wanted to paint Robert’s apartment. He had seen the walls could use a fresh coat of paint. So he made the ask.
Robert countered Miles. He told Miles he would let him paint the room if he did something. Miles had to read the book Between The World And Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates.
Robert knew if Miles bettered himself, Miles wouldn’t continue down the path he was headed. He could be something in life.
Great leaders know there’s more to leadership than being the leader. Leadership is about helping others become the best versions of themselves.
Be a leader who helps his team become better. By doing this, you will have a lasting impact on the world.
13. Remind people of the why:
Robert learned his former friends had been a part of Susan’s murder. They were in some shady business and it changed them.
As Robert unraveled the mystery, he led the men to his former home. There, he posted pictures of Susan. He did this to remind them of the why. He was doing this for Susan.
You have to constantly remind your team of the why. They need to know the reason behind what they’re doing.
By reminding them and making the why clear, they have are able to focus on the important work they’re doing. Helped them understand the why behind your work.
14. Bad leaders will be forgotten:
One of Robert’s old friends, Dave York (Pedro Pascal), was the man who had killed Susan. He and his men followed Robert to his old house and began an attack.
Robert took the men out one by one. Eventually, ending with Dave.
When Robert killed Dave, Dave was tossed off of a tower and onto the rocks along the shore. The waves began to crash over him. They eventually washed him out to see and erased any trace he had been there.
Bad leaders will be forgotten much like any trace of Dave was washed away by the crashing waves. People will slowly forget the leaders who brought pain and struggle.
These leaders will fade into obscurity. Don’t be like these people. Strive to be a leader people want to remember.