Quotes And Leadership Lessons From The King’s Man

A Reel Leadership Article

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The latest entry in the Kingsman series hit the theaters Christmas weekend. With so many movies released at that time, this was one of those movies that flew under the radar.

Sadly, many people missed a grand entry into the Kingsman lore.

The King’s Man tells the story of Ralph Fiennes as Orlando Oxford and Harris Dickinson as his son, Conrad Oxford.

Ralph Fiennes as Orlando Oxford in The King's Man

Orlando was a man who lived a violent past only to reform for his wife, Emily (Alexandra Maria Lara). Emily dies in an attack but, before she dies, tells Orlando to keep Conrad safe.

The action and adventure in The King’s Man were top-notch. The film drew me into its story and experience. And, it ended on such a poignant note.

Today, we will look at the leadership lessons in The King’s Man.

Quotes And Leadership Lessons From The King’s Man

1. We can’t keep all our promises:

Great leaders are men and women of their word. Orlando wanted to be one.

Tried as he might, he wasn’t able to keep his son safe. Conrad wanted to adventure out into the great big world. He wanted to sign up and go to war.

Conrad was able to sign up. He went to war. He wasn’t safe.

We do our best to keep our promises. They say our word is our bond. That is true.

However, there are times when you will break your promises. You will have to do something you said you never were going to.

Do your best to keep your promises. Know you won’t succeed. But the more promises you keep, the better.

2. Orlando Oxford:

Real power lies in understanding who it is you’re truly fighting and how they can be defeated.

Orlando knew something. Power isn’t your might. Power comes from understanding.

He knew you had to understand the enemy. You had to figure who they were and what they were doing. You then have to take this knowledge a step further.

You have to be able to figure out how to defeat your enemy.

For leaders, the enemy isn’t a person. It isn’t even a competitor. The enemy we face is the day-to-day issues that arise in our organizations.

Figure out what the issues are in your organization. Figure out how to overcome them. In doing so, you will realize the power you have.

3. Orlando Oxford:

You have no idea what men are capable of.

In a back and forth between father and son, Orlando tells his son he has no idea what men are capable of. This is due to Conrad wanting to fight in the military.

Conrad thought it would be fun. He didn’t know the horrors of war. His father did.

I like to think of this quote in terms of our people. Not the bad they can do. But the great work they can do.

We have no idea what our team members are capable of. They have so much more within them. Help them pull out their skills and talents.

4. Character matters:

The enemies that Orlando faced thought the people fighting them were gentlemen. Orlando knew something else.

The forces Orlando led were not gentlemen. They were fighters and people of ill-repute.

Orlando said that was their reputation. Then he went on to say character is what you are.

Who are you? Would you say you have a great reputation but a flawed character?

Our character matters. What we do behind closed doors matters.

Make sure your character is above reproach.

5. Polly (Gemma Arterton):

The more you fear something, the more likely it is to come true.

Polly and Orlando were discussing Conrad’s desire to fight. Orlando saw his protection of Conrad as something he must do.

Polly saw it differently. She saw Orlando as being fearful. She saw it as a weakness.

While I semi-agree with Polly on her point, the best point she made is her quote above.

When we fear things, we have a way of making those things we fear come true.

Be cautious in fearing things. When we fear, we focus. When we focus, we create.

6. Slow wins in the end:

Grigori Rasputin (Rhys Ifans) was one of the bad guys in The King’s Man. Yet, he had wisdom to impart to viewers.

In one scene, Rasputin is given a ring. The ring has a signet of a turtle. Rasputin wanted to exchange the ring until he thought about what the rabbit represents.

Rasputin said: As everybody knows, The tortoise eventually wins the race.

Remember, it’s not the fastest to produce or the quickest turnaround that makes an organization win. An organization wins through slow, steady, consistent work.

Work with your team to make sure they’re steady. Help them to understand the power of consistent work.

7. Orlando Oxford:

I should’ve been given the cross for saving lives, not ending them.

Orlando was a fighter. He then became a pacifist working with the Red Cross.

Through his work with the Red Cross, he understood what courage and honor were. He believed the Victorian Cross shouldn’t be given to those who exterminate their enemies. Instead, the true heroes were the people saving lives.

I like Orlando’s line of thinking. I believe you can apply this idea to leadership.

We shouldn’t reward the most vicious salesmen or the people being destructive to a competitor. The true heroes are the team members who are helping one another. They’re cheering each other on. They’re assisting projects to move forward.

Reward the helpers.

8. What we want isn’t always what we need:

Conrad believed his father was coddling him. He was resentful of Orlando’s desire to keep him protected.

Eventually, Conrad broke free. He enlisted to serve in the military force. He loved it.

Until he realized how wrong he was.

Conrad saved another soldier only to be gunned down by one of their own. The gunman believed Conrad was the enemy.

Only then did Conrad realize he was wrong. He didn’t need to be in the war. He required the safety his father tried to give him.

We have to know what we want, why we want it, and what we’re willing to give up to get it. Sometimes, we think we know. Most of the time, we don’t.

Be careful of pursuing frivolous things. You may get them only to realize you no longer want or need them.

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