Quotes And Leadership Lessons From The Marksman

A Reel Leadership Article

One of my favorite actors returned to the big screen this past Friday. Liam Neeson takes on the role of Jim. Jim is a down-on-his-luck rancher that happens to be in the wrong place at the right time.

Jim’s ranch is right on the border of Mexico. Illegal aliens are constantly crossing the border, walking through his land.

Liam Neeson in The Marksman

Jim happens to be there as Rosa (Teresa Ruiz) and her son Miguel (Jacob Perez) are fleeing Mexico and the Cartel. He stops them, calls in the border patrol, and then tries to save them as the Cartel pursues them. A shootout ensues and Rosa is shot.

As Rosa dies, she asks Jim to take Miguel to her family in Chicago, Il. He is hesitant to do this and turns the boy over to the authorities. Once he realizes the Cartel isn’t stopping, he helps break Miguel out and begins their journey to Chicago.

The story is engrossing. I was glued to my seat. It was that good.

More than being good, The Marksman has plenty of Reel Leadership lessons you can take away from the movie. Buckle in; you’re about to enter the Reel Leadership zone.

Quotes And Leadership Lessons From The Marksman

1. Be confident:

Young Miguel drops off a love letter and gift to a young girl he is interested in. The girl’s brother approaches Miguel.

Miguel is told that the girl doesn’t even know who he is. Miguel wasn’t deterred. He told the girl’s brother, “She will.”

Oh, what it would be like to have the confidence of Miguel. He wasn’t offended or put out by not being known by the girl. Instead, he steeled himself to make sure he was known.

That confidence is something we need as leaders. We need to know that we can be known. That we are better than we think we are.

Be confident. It will help you lead better.

2. Your actions will impact others:

Carlos (Alfredo Quiroz) was Miguel’s uncle. He also had gotten involved with the Cartel.

We discover Carlos had crossed the Cartel. He had stolen money from this band of criminals.

They knew it. He knew it. His family didn’t…

The Cartel killed Carlos. Then they came after Rosa and Miguel.

Carlos’ actions impacted his family. Yours will too.

The decisions you make as a leader will either positively or negatively affect your family. You have to make the right choices.

3. Drunkenness will not help you lead better:

Jim had a bit of a drinking problem. He had gone to the bar to drink away his sorrows. He got plastered and needed help getting home.

His step-daughter, Sarah (Katheryn Winnick), picked him up from the bar. She drove him home. She helped him get into bed.

You may think that the beer you’re going to drink with the potential client or your new hire will make you a better leader. Maybe you think it will make you more relatable or it will calm your nerves.

While there’s nothing wrong with drinking an alcoholic beverage here or there, there is a problem with drunkenness. Drunkenness will never lead to anything good.

Watch yourself if you’re going to drink. You will have to know your limits and control yourself… Or you may end up like Jim, needing help to get home.

4. Claiming to be a leader doesn’t make you a leader:

Jim stepped between the Cartel and Rosa and Miguel. The Cartel leader searching for the family was a man named Mauricio (Juan Pablo Raba).

Mauricio was a ruthless man. He would cut down anyone in his way.

When Mauricio encountered Jim, he discovered Jim was a former United States Marine. A soldier…

Mauricio tried to reason with him. He told Jim they were both soldiers. Jim responded that Mauricio was no soldier.

This scene can teach us a valuable lesson. There will be people who claim to be leaders, who claim to be making a difference… These people can lie.

You have to examine the results of a person to see if they really are a leader. A leader will:

  • Make a positive difference in an organization
  • Positively influence someone
  • Do the right thing when it was hard
  • Put others first
  • And more

Be skeptical of those who claim to be leaders. Seek out what they’ve done and make sure they are who they say they are.

5. Trust is important in leadership:

Miguel pretended to be unable to speak English. He looked at Jim dumbstruck.

Jim thought Miguel hadn’t learned English. Jim was wrong.

Miguel knew how to speak English. He didn’t trust Jim enough to open up.

When we earn trust from our team, the lines of communication begin to open up. You’re able to talk to your team and they’re able to respond truthfully.

Great leaders work toward a trusting relationship. There’s mutual respect and the leader and team understand one another.

Work toward building trust.

6. Great leaders make mistakes:

Jim had taken Miguel to a bar. Miguel asked if he could use the restroom. Jim told him okay and Miguel went to the bathroom.

When Miguel returned, Jim was gone. Miguel began to freak out. He then discovered Jim passed out in the pickup truck.

Jim made a mistake in leaving Miguel without letting him know where he was going.

We’ve all made mistakes as a leader. Many of the mistakes we make revolve around a lack of communication, much like Jim did in The Marksman.

You’re going to make mistakes. You’re going to upset your team.

What you cannot do is give up.

You have to move forward and find a way to make things right.

7. Correct problems in a timely manner:

The Cartel had shot Jim’s truck. One of the bullets struck the radiator. Radiator fluid began to leak from the radiator.

Jim drove to Otto’s Auto Repair and talked with Otto (Roger Jerome). Otto told Jim he could patch the radiator, but it would need to be replaced at some point.

Jim was okay with the patch at this point. He needed to get moving again.

This came to bite Jim in the butt later in the movie. After driving across the country and outrunning the Cartel, the radiator blew.

We can be tempted to put patches on our problems instead of fixing them. We know the patch is only temporary, but we need to get the ball rolling again.

A week, two months, even a year down the road, the patch gives out and the problem rears its head. Except the problem is even worse than before.

Make sure you’re actually correcting problems instead of just a quick patch.

8. Jim:

I made a choice and I gotta live with it.

Jim and Miguel ran into a crooked cop, Conley. Conley was going to turn them over to the Cartel. Before he did that, he took Jim’s guns.

Jim and Miguel escaped. However, they lost their guns.

Jim went to a gun shop and tried to purchase new guns from the gun store owner (Charles David Richards). The gun store owner was hesitant to sell him the guns but finally relented.

Jim told the gun store owner he was in a tight spot. He had made a choice to do something. He had to live with the choice.

We have to live with the choices we make. The choices may not bring us where we desire, but we have to live with the consequences.

Be a leader who stands by their decision.

9. Your team has faith in you:

Miguel wanted a proper funeral for his mother. Jim helped give him the closure he needed by getting Rosa a funeral.

Jim and Miguel passed a church. There was a minister (Tommy Lafitte) outside. Jim asked the minister to perform the ceremony.

The minister did. He also told Jim that Rosa must have had a lot of faith in Jim to trust him with Miguel.

You may not realize this, but your team does have faith in you, at least at the beginning. They know you’re a leader and someone to be respected. Thus, trust is given.

We have to make sure we don’t destroy the faith our team has in us. Keep leading well.

10. Money isn’t the important thing:

Miguel learned that Rosa had given Jim the bag of Cartel money. This upset Miguel. He began to believe Jim was only helping him for the money.

Jim knew this wasn’t the case. He handed the money to Miguel. Miguel didn’t want the money. It was Cartel money.

What did the duo decide to do? They had a fire burning bright. They began to throw the money into the fire. It was no longer important to either of them.

We all think money is important. It is, to an extent. Then money becomes nothing important.

Make sure you’re not chasing after the dollar bills. They will only fulfill you for so long. There are more important things than money.

11. Great leaders protect their team:

Jim and Miguel got into a shootout with the Cartel in a barn. It was finally down to Jim and Miguel and Mauricio.

Jim was able to take down Mauricio. It was now time to finish it.

Jim told Miguel to walk away. He didn’t want Miguel to see what was going to happen next.

The plan had been to kill Mauricio. Instead, Jim gave Mauricio a choice. Jim dropped his gun in front of Mauricio and left.

What are you doing to protect your team from the ugly side of leadership? What are you doing to ensure their mental health, physical health, and spiritual health?

As a leader, we have a responsibility to help our team be the best they can. If we’re not protecting them from things they shouldn’t be involved in, we’re not doing our job.

Do your best to protect your team.

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