I remember watching the original Suicide Squad movie at a now-defunct movie theater. The theater was a classic but it didn’t last. The theater was hot, humid, and almost unbearable to be in. That seemed to be the overall opinion most people held for the original Suicide Squad movie.
This new film, The Suicide Squad, seemed to hit on most of the things I really enjoy about movies. I think it helped that James Gunn was directing the movie. The Suicide Squad felt familiar, almost Guardians Of The Galaxy-like. The major difference was the level of violence and gore. The Suicide Squad has a lot of that.
But what is The Suicide Squad? They are a group of the most dangerous supervillains in the world. These guys are the worst of the worst. Yet, many of these villains you have never heard of.
The Suicide Squad consists of Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Robert DuBois/Bloodsport (Idris Elba), Christopher Smith/Peacemaker (John Cena), Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman), Nananue/King Shark (Sylvester Stallone), George “Digger” Harkness/Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), and others…
Reading those names, you probably think to yourself that the only name on that list you recognize is Harley Quinn. Yeah, me too… The Suicide Squad is dangerous but they’re not the most popular DC Comics characters. That’s what makes The Suicide Squad so much fun.
Today, we’re going to dig into the leadership lessons in The Suicide Squad. Get ready, it can get a bit bumpy!
Quotes And Leadership Lessons From The Suicide Squad
1. Unknowns can do great work:
The members of The Suicide Squad were unknown names to most before watching the newest movie in the theater. Names like Captain Boomerang, Bloodsport, Peacemaker, Javelin (Flula Borg), Blackguard (Pete Davidson), Mongal (Mayling Ng), Weasel (Sean Gunn), T.D.K (Nathan Fillon), and the previously mentioned names.
While a large portion of the Suicide Squad perished, they did great work. They were able to save the world from Starro. That’s a win in my book.
You may hesitate to hire a new person for your team. They may lack experience or they may be rough around the edges. You may have never heard their name spoken before.
However, some of the best employees you can hire are people you’ve never heard of before. They can have a strong work ethic, figure things out, and take more calculated risks.
Give the unknowns a shot.
2. See what your team can do:
The Suicide Squad is filled with hilarious moments. One of these was when the team dropped into the water from an Osprey.
Upon exiting the water, team members began to realize Weasel had not resurfaced. They soon discovered Weasel couldn’t swim.
Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) and the rest of the team never checked to see if Weasel could swim. This caused a disaster.
Sometimes we check to see what our team can do because it could mean a better position for the team member. Other times, we need to see what our team can do so we don’t put them or the organization in danger.
Make sure you’re checking to see what your team can do.
I think liberty is your excuse to do whatever you want.
Bloodsport saw through Peacemaker’s facade. Peacemaker claimed he wanted peace and liberty. What Peacemaker really wanted was to do as he pleased.
Throughout the movie, Peacemaker takes things to extremes. He even goes as far as killing Rick Flag to prevent the US government’s involvement in the Starro situation.
We call on our freedoms and rights to do things as a badge of honor. We think that we can do things because we can do them.
I want to challenge leaders with this: Instead of looking at what you can do, look at why you’re doing them. Is it because you want to do them or is it because it is the right thing to do?
4. We don’t always know why:
Javelin died on the beach next to Harley Quinn. With his dying words, Javelin told Harley Quinn to take his javelin.
Harley Quinn didn’t know the why behind it. She wondered about it throughout the movie. In the end, she discovers the reason.
We’ve all been put into situations where we didn’t know the why behind it. We wondered why we struggled with a team member. We wondered why the company was financially insolvent. We wondered lots of things without knowing why.
This is part of leadership. More importantly, this is part of life.
We don’t know why a lot of times. However, over time, we discover why.
5. Relationship changes people:
King Shark tried to eat Ratcatcher 2 (Daniela Melchior) while she slept. Ratcatcher 2 began to talk to King Shark once she escaped.
In her talk with him, Ratcatcher 2 discovered King Shark had no friends. Ratcatcher 2 offered up her friendship to King Shark. King Shark accepted and agreed to not eat any of the Suicide Squad.
Relationship changes people. When people feel loved and cared for, they can change their ways.
Greedy, selfish people can find it within themselves to look out for others. Loners can find a home.
Start building relationships with those you lead. You will create a family in the workplace.
6. When a bad leader leaves, make sure a worse leader doesn’t fill the void:
Mayor General Mateo Suarez (Joaquín Cosio) and Presidente General Silvio Luna (Juan Diego Botto) had overtaken the Corto Maltese government in a hostile takeover. While both were crazy, bad men, Luna held a semblance of order in the country.
Harley Quinn took Luna out. This opened up a void in the leadership of Corto Maltese.
Mateo stepped in to fill the void. Mateo was nutty, crazy, looney… He went on a madman’s crusade.
He filled the void with more violence and insanity than Luna.
Sometimes, we have to remove a bad leader from our organization. When we do, we have to think about the void that might be left.
Do we have someone to quickly replace the bad leader? What is this new leader’s temperament? Is this new leader going to be better than the leader we escorted out of the building?
Make sure there is a solid plan to replace bad leaders or you may end up with a bigger monster.
7. Ratcatcher 2:
As imperfect as my father was, he loved me. I wish I could give you that.
Ratcatcher 2 was created because her father was the original. He was a tragically flawed man who created another villain.
Though he was imperfect, Ratcatcher’s father loved her. She desired to help Bloodsport feel the kind of love she felt.
Leaders will never be perfect. The people who came before you: IMPERFECT. The people who come after you: IMPERFECT.
Just because leaders are imperfect doesn’t mean they are inherently bad or can’t pass on something positive. Look for the upside of the flawed leaders you’ve had in your life. They will have given you something you want to pass on.
8. Missions change:
The mission for the Suicide Squad was to get to Jutenheim and destroy the secret Starro project within the facility. The Suicide Squad called an audible.
After discovering Harley Quinn was alive, they changed their mission from Jutenheim to a rescue mission of Harley Quinn.
We have to decide which mission to pursue. Sometimes we have one mission in front of us. Another mission pops up. Which one gets precedence?
This means we have to look at what is happening. We have to choose where to point our team.
It’s okay to change the mission you’re attempting. You can always go back.
9. Leaders have to be controlled:
Waller wanted to kill the Suicide Squad after they completed their mission. They decided to go against orders when they wanted to take out Starro. Starro was going to ravaged the city. They couldn’t have that.
Waller didn’t agree. She was ready to press the kill buttons for each member. That’s when someone in the control room stepped in. They took a swing at Waller and knocked her out.
This saved the Suicide Squad and they were able to save the city.
Leaders have to be careful not to get too big for their britches. When they do, there has to be a way to control them. A way to reign them back in.
This will, many times, be a lower-seniority team member that speaks up. They will tell the leader they’re being inappropriate and have to find a way to stop the insanity.
10. Know what motivates:
To finish off Starro, Bloodsport had to figure out what motivated his team. He told King Shark that Starro was yummy. Then Polka-Dot Man (David Dastmalchian) was told that Starro was his mom (he had major mommy issues).
These words sent the two off on a dangerous mission to stop Starro. It helped take down the dangerous threat.
Do you know what motivates your team? If not, you need to discover it.
You can help your team become more productive, more successful when you can help guide them through their motivations.
11. Ratcatcher 1 (Taika Waititi):
Rats are the lowest and most despised creatures of all, my love, if they have purpose, so do we all.
Ratcatcher 2 asked her father why he chose rats. Ratcatcher had a profound message for his daughter.
He believed if rats, one of the lowest and despised creatures of all, could have a purpose, we all could.
We all have a purpose. We all have something within us that will benefit the world we live in.
Help cultivate this in the people you lead.
The purpose of people can be hard to see. You, as a leader, can help people discover their purpose. Help pull it out of them.