Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Those Who Wish Me Dead

A Reel Leadership Article

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Those Who Wish Me Dead is an excellent thriller to watch in the movie theater. The movie is based on the book of the same name by author Michael Koryta.

Starring Angelina Jolie as Hannah, a smoke jumper firefighter suffering from PTSD. She made a judgment call the previous fire season that cost the lives of multiple children. She is on a downward spiral as Those Who Wish Me Dead begins.

Learn leadership lessons from Those Who Wish Me Dead starring Jon Bernthal and Angelina Jolie

The movie is full of thrills. It goes full tilt when Owen (Jake Weber) is tracked and killed by Jack (Adian Gillen) and Patrick (Nicholas Hoult) under the orders of Arthur (Tyler Perry). Before Jack and Patrick can kill Connor (Finn Little), Connor is able to hide with information given to him by his father.

Connor eventually runs into the PTSD suffering Hannah. She decides to help Connor get to safety. However, Jack and Patrick set a fire in the woods. This causes a major issue for Hannah and Connor as they have to turn around.

Thrills ensue. Maybe one of the best movies of the year happens as well. The choice is up to you but I think it was a stand-out film.

More than this happens. If you watch Those Who Wish Me Dead with an eye for leadership, you will find plenty of lessons in Those Who Wish Me Dead.

Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Those Who Wish Me Dead

1. Leadership failures can haunt you:

Those Who Wish Me Dead opens with Hannah dreaming. There’s a fire. There are firefighters. And then there is death.

This appears to be a reoccurring dream for Hannah. It is also something that happened to her.

Hannah was leading a team of smoke jumping firefighters when she made a bad decision. This caused the deaths of multiple people.

This haunted her.

You’ve probably made many bad decisions during your tenure as a leader. People have been hurt. Lives have been changed.

You’re now living with these failures. These failures are haunting you. You don’t know what to do about them.

Every leader makes mistakes. These mistakes and failures can be haunting. Recognize this and learn how to healthily cope with them.

2. Connor:

Has anyone called you obtuse?

Connor was talking to his father, Owen. Connor had received a text calling him obtuse. He didn’t know what this word meant.

What did he do? He asked his father if he ever experienced the word. He was looking for wisdom.

What do you do when you encounter a situation or word you don’t know? I’m going to tell you to be like Connor.

Find someone you trust. Ask them what they would do or if they know what it means.

Your trusted advisors will help you through these challenging situations you’ve never been through.

3. Doing the right thing can be scary:

Owen was a forensic accountant. During his research, he noticed something was off. He did the right thing and reported it. This escalated the situation.

Jack and Patrick were sent to take care of Owen.

This scared Owen. He didn’t want to die. However, he knew he had to do the right thing.

The father-son duo had a conversation it went like this:

Connor: Are you in trouble? What did you do?

Owen: The right thing, you understand me? I did the right thing.

Connor: If you did the right thing, then why are you so scared?

Owen did the right thing… Yet he was scared, terrified even.

Doing the right thing can be scary. It can cause you to lose your authority, your position, maybe even your life.

However, great leaders know they must do the right thing regardless of the consequences. If they do not, they know they’re not living up to their responsibility.

4. Have a contingency plan:

Owen knew he was trouble. He knew there was a good chance he may not make it through the day. He also knew he had to have a contingency plan.

Owen wrote down the secrets he had discovered. He gave them to his son. He prayed Connor wouldn’t have to give the secrets to anyone.

This was Owen’s contingency plan. He knew the truth had to get out one way or another.

As leaders, we need to have contingency plans. The plans likely won’t be life or death but it could be for the organization.

The contingency plan could be a server backup, accounting file backup, or next-in-line leadership plan in case anything happens to you.

Make sure you have plans in place to continue your work if something were to happen to you or your files.

5. Ethan (Jon Bernthal from The Walking Dead):

I’m not sure what I want you to do either.

Ethan was a sheriff. He was talking to a more senior sheriff (Boots Southerland) after a phone call from Owen.

Ethan told the other sheriff what Owen had told him. He didn’t know what to do next. He also didn’t know what he wanted the other sheriff to do.

This scene illustrates how leaders talk things out. There are plenty of times you will not know what to do next. You go to another leader and talk to them.

You’re not looking for them to necessarily do anything. You’re bouncing ideas off of them. You are looking for ideas to come to you.

Use others as sounding boards. Let your words flow and figure out what to do next by talking it out.

6. Bad leaders encourage bad situations:

After Jack and Patrick killed Owen, they discover Connor had escaped. They were told this by Arthur. He was their boss.

Because Arthur told Jack the situation had to be handled, Jack said things were going to get messy. The people in charge would have to have the stomach for what was coming.

Arthur was okay with this. He encouraged Jack to finish the job.

We have to be on the lookout for bad leaders. These leaders are ones who are encouraging team members to do things that go against your organization’s values.

Bad leaders are willing to go to extremes to get results. They’re willing to destroy people in the process.

Run from these leaders. Get them off of your team. Avoid them like the plague.

7. Telling the truth can be hard:

Hannah asked Connor if he was in trouble. He told her yes. Then, Hannah asked the hard question…

“Anyone else they need to look for?” Connor answered it but the answer was hard. He told Hannah “Not anymore.”

The not anymore was because his father had been killed by Jack and Patrick. The truth hurt. It was hard to admit that his father was gone.

Have you experienced the difficulty of telling the truth? Maybe the truth would hurt someone else. Maybe the truth would hurt you.

Telling the truth is the right thing. It is not always the easy thing.

8. Connor:

Are you someone I can trust?

Connor was told by his father to find someone he could trust. He didn’t know Hannah. She was someone new in his life.

He sheepishly asked Hannah if she was someone he could trust. He didn’t know how else to find out.

This is a huge one, guys! People are looking for someone they can trust. The people you lead want someone trustworthy.

Are you that leader? Can you be trusted to have their back? Or are you looking out for only yourself?

People are looking for people they can trust. Be that person.

9. It can be good when your team members don’t listen to you:

Hannah had told Connor to go 100 yards, take a left, lie down in the creek. She did this so he would be safe.

What did Connor do? He ignored her advice. He made her think he listened but he did not.

Instead, he circled around. He wanted to help Hannah.

It was a good thing Connor didn’t listen to the person leading him. When he came around, Patrick was attacking Hannah. He was about to kill her.

This is when Connor made his presence known. His entrance drew Patrick’s attention to him and away from Hannah. This allowed Hannah to take out Patrick.

When you tell your team members to do something and they don’t follow through, don’t get instantly mad. Instead, see how things play out.

Their refusal to listen could help you or your organization.

10. Hannah:

I don’t know. But I promise we’ll figure it out together.

Hannah and Connor make it out of the danger zone alive. Sadly, Ethan (who was Connor’s uncle) did not. However, his pregnant wife, Allison (Medina Senghore), did.

Connor wanted to know what happens next. Not in the “what do I do with the information my dad gave me” way. He wanted to know what happens tomorrow, next week, next month.

Connor had lost his family. He had no left. What was going to happen.

Hannah displayed an excellent leadership trait. She admitted she didn’t know what was going to happen next. However, they would figure it out together.

Leaders help their teams figure out what to do next, together. They don’t leave their teams. They don’t tell them to figure it out together. Great leaders help their teams discover what to do next together.

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