Wait… Did you just see that blur go past us? Of course you didn’t; it was the Flash!
The Flash (Ezra Miller) is a speedster in the DC Comics and movie universe. He gained his superhuman speed from an accident at the Central City Police Department as he worked on a case. Lightning struck the chemicals he was sitting in front of and was dowsed in a chemical bath.
In the new Flash movie, the Flash, Barry Allen, still loses his mother, Nora (Maribel Verdú). He also loses his father, Henry Allen (Ron Livingston), when he is wrongly accused of killing Nora.
Everything that happens in the movie is a direct result of the murder of Barry’s mother. Barry decides to travel back in time to change what happened, to save his mother. Barry’s actions change the world he knows and the new worlds of others.
Join us on this Reel Leadership journey as we take a look at the leadership lessons in The Flash. There are plenty and you’ll learn to walk away a better leader after watching this movie!
Quotes And Leadership Lessons From The Flash
1. There are other leaders out there:
The movie opens with Barry Allen tapping his foot while waiting in line at a restaurant. He’s late, he’s waiting for his food, and he’s hangry.
That’s when Alfred Pennyworth (Jeremy Irons) calls. There’s an emergency at Gotham General Hospital. There’s been an attack and robbery.
Barry asks Alfred why the other members of the Justice League haven’t responded. Batman is off chasing Falcone’s kid who robbed the hospital, Superman is doing something, and Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) isn’t available.
This shows us there are other heroes in this universe. Other people are doing the same thing Barry is doing.
What about you? Do you recognize the other leaders in your life? In the world?
There are other people out there doing exactly what you’re doing. They’re building new leaders, taking organizations to new heights, and finding ways to improve.
Acknowledge these people.
You can do this by sharing their books, acknowledging their works, and partnering with them (like Barry and the other heroes did by forming the Justice League). Leadership is not a competition. It is a partnership.
2. Leaders redirect to better solutions:
Batman (Ben Affleck) was pursuing Falcone’s son Al (Luke Brandon Field). The pursuit was headed toward a school bus unloading childing. Falcone was ready to drive over the children.
Batman saw this. He knew he had to redirect Falcone away from the children.
On his BatBike, Batman deployed a spike strip. The strip bounced under the car, rolled out the front, and then deployed the preventative measures. Falcone saw this. He steered the vehicle down another pathway, avoiding the children.
Sometimes, you’ll see your people going down a bad path. Maybe they’re making choices that will lead to struggles in the future. Or perhaps you see them regressing in their leadership progression.
Whatever it is, you have the influence and power to redirect your people. You can encourage them to continue learning and growing when you see them wanting to do something else. You can give them the tools to get back on track.
Watch your people. Help redirect them when needed.
3. Alfred Pennyworth:
Mr. Allen, you’ve made me very proud.
Gotham General was falling apart. Barry zoomed over to the hospital to save people and prevent more damage.
During this, the hospital’s neonatal wing collapsed. Barry saw this and sprung into action.
There was a baby shower (babies literally falling from the sky). He saved all of them, including one of the nurses and a service dog.
Alfred noticed this. He let Barry know that he was proud.
As leaders, we must let our people know we see what they’re doing. More importantly, we must let our people know we’re proud of them.
Take time to say “thank you” or “I’m proud of you.” These words, these actions will let your people know you see them.
Don’t be a leader who withholds his praise. Be a leader who showers praise on their people.
4. Nora Allen:
Not every problem has a solution. Sometimes you have to let go.
Young Barry was doing schoolwork. One of the questions was to list out all of the solutions to get the answer 24.
Barry scoffed at this. He was frustrated. There were billions of possibilities to get to 24. He couldn’t possibly list them all.
His mother, Nora, recognized this. She also saw that not every problem has a solution or can have every solution listed out. She understood you can only do what you can and then you have to let go.
What are you stuck on? What problem keeps reappearing? Is this a problem that doesn’t have a solution?
It might be time to let go.
When you let go of problems, you realize they weren’t your problems to solve. They’re just there.
Allow problems that don’t have a solution or don’t require a solution to linger. They’ll be there when you get back to them… or answering them won’t result in anything positive.
5. Our tragedies define us:
Barry and Bruce have a conversation about going back in time to change the things that have happened to us. Barry wanted to save his mother. Bruce probably wanted to as well. He lost his parents to a mugging in an alley and grew up an orphan.
Bruce wasn’t willing to go back. He saw how his tragedy defined his life. While he didn’t want Barry to allow his personal tragedy to define his life, he understood Barry’s tragedy did anyway.
We see this throughout the movie.
Barry travels back in time. He saves his parents. He never has to grow up and remains immature.
Our tragedies define us. We understand life differently when we get through our painful struggles.
Don’t avoid tragedies or struggles. They are what shapes you.
6. Learn when to shut up:
Barry travels back in time. After saving his parents, he meets his young, 18-year-old self.
Young Barry is annoying.
He runs his mouth constantly. He cracks jokes. He won’t shut up.
Ugh, talk about annoying.
This makes Barry realize something. He needs to learn when to shut up. This is what people meant when they talked to him about running his mouth.
Do you run your mouth? Do you crack jokes at inappropriate times?
Then it’s time to learn when to shut up.
Read the room. Listen to the words coming out of your mouth.
You will realize that what you’re saying isn’t productive. It’s harmful.
Leaders know when to shut up.
7. Leaders wear different suits:
We get to meet a new (old) Batman after Barry changes the timeline. The Batman in this timeline is Michael Keaton (yes, from the 1989 Batman movie!).
After being convinced to help the Barrys on their quest to find Superman and defeat General Zod (Michael Shannon), Batman opens up a closet. Inside, there are multiple different Batsuits.
For fans of comics, you know that Batman has different suits. Each one helps Batman fight a type of criminal or perform in a given situation.
Leaders, you will wear different suits.
Sometimes, you will have to wear your analytical leader suit. Other times you will have to wear your take-action suit. Still, there will be times when you have to wear your empathy suit.
Be ready and willing to change your leadership suit (style) to fit the situation you’re facing.
8. Your leadership suit may be borrowed or changed:
When the alternate Barry Allen gained his powers, the original Barry Allen lost his. Barry gets his powers back, eventually.
Barry had let the alternate Barry borrow his Flash ring and suit. When he regained his powers, he needed his suit back.
The alternate Barry knew this.
He looked at Batman’s suits. He found one that was old and unused. This became his suit, with some tweaking.
There are many different styles of leadership. You’ll come across leaders you respect and desire to be like.
You can borrow their styles. You can even tweak their styles to suit yours.
Look at the leaders around you. Take what works for you. Modify it so that you can lead better than before.
9. Barry Allen:
Because you needed help.
Supergirl/Kara (Sasha Calle) had been aggressive when they found her at a Russian military site. She was combative and fled.
She was also not who Barry was looking for. Kara wasn’t Kal-El.
This confused Barry. But, still, he helped save her.
Kara wondered why he helped. Barry had a simple answer – She needed help.
The best leaders help those who need help. They see someone, something that needs help and they help them.
It doesn’t matter if the situation is what they expected. If someone needs help, they help.
10. Be careful not to lose yourself as a leader:
The ending battle didn’t go as expected. Supergirl dies. Batman dies. It’s brutal and discouraging.
Barry understands he can go back in time. So does the alternate Barry. They decide to do this.
Over and over again, they travel back in time. Each time the result is the same: death…
The original Barry sees this. He begins to understand that some things can’t be changed. He stops going back.
Alternate Barry doesn’t want to give up. He continues to go back, again and again and again.
He eventually becomes the Dark Flash.
He’s what causes Barry to be tossed out of the time stream. He’s what causes the collision of multiple earths.
Alternate Barry loses himself and becomes a dark reflection of who he once was.
We understand what we’re fighting for as leaders. We want a better future.
But we don’t understand the toll something like this can take on us.
We get beaten down, angry, bitter, and resentful. Leadership has a heavy toll…
If we let it.
Be careful not to lose yourself as a leader. Have people around you who will keep you in check. Listen to wise counsel. Learn from your mistakes.
Losing yourself as a leader can be more destructive than you imagine.