Quotes And Leadership Lessons From The Warriors

A Reel Leadership Article

My latest book, Reel Leadership, is now available on Amazon. If you love movies and leadership, you will love this book.

The Warriors (buy it on Amazon) is a 1979 gang-film period piece. It’s become something of a cult classic over the years.

The fear that the film tries to portray is typical of the time period. You shouldn’t be out after dark, nothing good happens, and the allure of gang life will kill you.

Overall, the film is over the top in its portrayal of life. That’s partially what made it such a fun movie to watch.

There is a bit of violence, a lot of language, and a bit of sexual talk.

On top of this, you’ll discover plenty of leadership lessons in The Warriors. Despite being in gangs, there are things you can take away from this classic film.

 Quotes And Leadership Lessons From The Warriors

1. Great leaders can make miracles happen:

The premise of The Warriors is that multiple gangs were coming together for a peace brokering. This peace meeting was led by Cyrus (Roger Hill).

The gathering started without a hitch. Gangs from around the area gathered. There was peace. No one wasted anyone.

It was a miracle.

When you have the right leader leading the charge, miracles can happen. Leaders can broker peace. People work hard. The organization is thriving.

Work towards making miracles happen. It is possible.

2. Joining forces can get you more:

Individually, the gangs were all fighting for themselves. This was one of the reasons the peace meeting was called.

If everyone was fighting for themselves, they only got little pieces. By joining forces, the gangs could share everything.

Consider the power of joining forces. Whether that’s through a merger, a joint partnership, or some other kind of partnership, joining forces is powerful.

3. It only takes one rogue person to cause an issue:

Cyrus’ plan could have worked. However, a member of the Rogues gang decided to assassinate Cyrus.

This gang member’s actions caused a massive issue. The gang member also framed The Warriors for the murder.

Things can roll along smoothly until you have someone that wants to break the mold or cause issues. Watch out for these people.

When people begin to have agendas that go against what you’re going for, there will be trouble.

4. Have a defined order of leadership:

After Cyrus’ murder, the leader of The Warriors came up missing. Cleon (Dorsey Wright) was nowhere to be found in the ensuing chaos.

Ajax (James Remar) tried to assert dominance over The Warriors. This wasn’t the order of leadership.

Rather, Swan (Michael Beck) should be the next leader.

When people are unclear about the order of leadership, chaos ensues. The person with the most to gain (or lose) will try to claim a leadership position.

Lay out the rules of order. Make sure people know what will happen if you can no longer lead.

5. Send out clear messages:

The Warriors had been accused of murdering Cyrus. They had to pay.

To put out a bounty on the heads of The Warriors, the rival gangs used a radio station D.J. (Lynne Thigpen) to convey the message.

Throughout the night, D.J. would send out messages. The gangs understood what they meant.

Do you send out regular, clear updates to those you’re leading? You need to.

You can communicate these messages through email, regular monthly meetings, or special meetings.

Make sure you’re communicating with your teams.

6. Swan:

When we get there, then we made it.

The Warriors were excited. They’d made it to the train. They thought they were home-free.

This wasn’t the case. The Warriors weren’t home yet. In fact, their night was going to get a lot more interesting.

We are tempted to celebrate our wins early and often. It’s what we’re told to do.

It’s good to celebrate. But we have to celebrate at the right time. Otherwise, we can become complacent and our teams will slip.

7. Watch out for antagonizers:

The Warriors ran into The Orphans after their train was stopped. This rival gang had an antagonizer. Her name was Mercy (Deborah Van Valkenburgh).

She would all the leader of The Orphans a chicken. She made him feel less than.

We have to be careful of the antagonizers on our teams. These are the people who stir up trouble to see something happen.

If you have an antagonizer on your team, get rid of them.

8. There’s a time for defense and a time for offense:

The Furies (a rival gang) pursued the Warriors. They ran and ran and ran.

Running began to wear The Warriors out.

The Warriors became tired of running. They had enough. They knew the time had come to go on the offense. They chose to fight instead of run.

Business requires a lot of finesse. There will be times when you will play defense. You’ll hold the finances close. You won’t make business-altering decisions.

Then, there are times you have to go on the offense. You choose to fight back. Going on the offensive could be investing in new equipment, hiring world-class employees, or something else.

Know when to defend and know when to fight.

9. Swan:

I just hate seeing anything go to waste:

Mercy left The Orphans and hung with The Warriors. As they left one of the trains, Swan saw a corsage dropped by a couple going to a dance.

He picked up the corsage. He presented the corsage to Mercy.

Why? Because he didn’t want something to go to waste.

Too often, we’re willing to let things go to waste. It may be old equipment that could be recycled or sold or it could be an employee that is struggling.

Look for the value of the things in your business. Don’t let things go to waste.

10. Bad leaders don’t have a reason to do the things they do:

We discover why Luther (David Patrick Kelly) killed Cyrus. There was no reason. He killed him just to stir up trouble.

Uh oh. We know that’s never a good reason to do anything.

We have to have a reason behind the things we do. Our reasons need to be to benefit our organization, the people within it, or the customers we serve.

Have a strong reason. Live those out through your leadership.

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