Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Transformers: Rise Of The Beasts

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.

And the Transformers movie franchise continues to roll out. This past weekend, Transformers: Rise Of The Beasts debuted in theaters around the world. In this latest Transformers movie, we not only get Autobots, but the Maximals are also introduced to filmgoers.

I remember when Transformers: Beast Wars originally aired on television. I was upset. I didn’t believe they were real Transformers because they weren’t vehicles. They were a cheap knock-off putting Transformers into animals.

Eventually, I came to love the Beast Wars series. The story was well-done, the animation was top-notch, and spawned multiple off-shoots.

In Transformers: Rise Of The Beasts, Earth faces a significant threat. Unicron (Colman Domingo), a planet-sized Transformer, is searching for the Transwarp Key. This device would allow him to warp anywhere in space or time. It’s a powerful device. One that would cause the destruction of the universe.

Thankfully, there are protectors of the Transwarp Key. The Maximal leader Optimus Primal (Ron Perlman) escaped Unicron’s first attack and warped away from the Maximals’ home planet. Along with Optimus Primal, other Maximals escaped too. They include fan-favorites Airazor (Michelle Yeoh), Rhinox (David Sobolov), and Cheetor (Tongayi Chirisa). 

When Elena Wallace (Dominique Fishback) discovers a strange new artifact at the museum she is interning, she begins to examine it. The statue crumbles, and the Transwarp Key is discovered once more. A beacon of light that only Transformers can see bursts forth and signals the location of the key.

Optimus Prime and Optimus Primal face off against a rocky background in Transformers: Rise Of The Beasts

Now, the Maximals and Autobots *Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen), Mirage (Pete Davidson), Bumblebee, Arcee (Liza Koshy), Stratosphere (John DiMaggio), and Wheeljack (Cristo Fernandez)* must get to the key before Unicron and his Terrorcons obtain it.

The question remains (and you already know the answer) does Transformers: Rise Of The Beasts contain any leadership lessons? The answer? Of course. There are lots of leadership lessons in Transformers: Rise Of The Beasts. This Reel Leadership article will examine them and help you lead through the movies.

Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Transformers: Rise Of The Beasts

1. Don’t wait to believe until you see proof:

Transformers: Rise Of The Beasts opens with a narration. There was a legend of a world-devouring planet. The idea seemed far-fetched.

Until the narrator saw Unicron coming for his planet. By that time, it was too late to prepare or do anything to prevent the destruction of his world.

When we hear crazy stories, we wait. We don’t act because the information seems too far out there.

Instead of waiting, we need to research the information we receive. We must dig into it to discover whether it is the truth or another myth.

If it’s true, act. If it’s a myth, dismiss.

2. Apelinq:

It is now your time to lead the Maximals, Optimus Prime.

Apelinq was the leader of the Maximals at the beginning of the movie. He had the Transwarp key and passed the key to Optimus Primal when Unicron attacked.

He tells the other Maximals to use the key to flee their home planet. He would defend the planet while his team escapes. 

While Apelinq passed away, he did something all leaders should do. Apelinq anointed a new leader.

The best leaders know they won’t be around forever. They know that at some point they will leave the organization, be sidelined, or pass away.

Because of this knowledge, they train up new leaders in their steed. When it is time, they pass the leadership baton to the new leader.

This is what Apelinq did. This is what you must do.

3. Noah Diaz (Anthony Ramos)

Are you fighting this alone or together?

Noah (who I had a hard time seeing as anything other than his characters from In The Heights and Hamilton) had a younger brother, Kris Diaz (Dean Scott Vazquez). Kris was battling sickle cell disease. The disease was ravaging his body, causing him extreme pain at times.

Kris was hurting, but he wasn’t letting his brother know. He wanted to be strong and courageous. He didn’t want to let others in on his pain. 

Noah confronted him about this when Kris couldn’t hide the pain any longer. He wanted to know why. They had agreed to share when they were hurting.

They were a team. They didn’t do things alone. Kris had to be reminded of this.

So do leaders.

You’re not fighting things alone. Whether it’s your marriage, church politics, or business decisions. You are not doing this alone.

4. Your past actions impact your future prospects:

Noah needed to help provide for the family. He lived in a single-parent household with his brother Kris and his mother, Breanna Diaz (Luna Lauren Velez). He had a prospective job lined up with a security company.

When he went to the interview, he was told the head of security, Mr. Bishop (Aidan Devine), had canceled the interview. Noah tracked down Mr. Bishop and asked why.

Mr. Bishop had contacted Noah’s former supervisor in the military. His supervisor had said Noah had been unreliable.

This impacted Mr. Bishop’s thinking about Noah. So much so that he decided not to interview him.

People like to think that the past is the past. There’s no reason to look back upon it.

Yet, many people look at your past to determine your future. They will look to see if you’re reliable, honest, or do what you say you will do.

If you fail this sniff test, your future prospects can be limited.

There’s nothing you can do about your past now. There is something you can do about your future. 

Make sure you’re doing what you say you’re going to do. Let your current self align with who you want to be in the future.

5. Don’t be dismissive of those who report to you:

When new pieces were brought into the museum, Elena, the intern, noticed something odd about one of the pieces. She believed it didn’t align with the time period or region the museum had been told.

Elena began to research the markings on the piece. She began to discover her hunch was correct. They were not from the time period or region. 

When she brought this to the attention of her boss, Jillian (Sarah Stiles), Jillian dismissed her findings. She didn’t listen or do any more research. 

We all know what happens next. Elena is right. And her findings bring her on a trip to Peru.

You have people on the ground doing the hard work. They’re looking out for themselves, your organization, and you.

When they bring something to your attention, listen to them. Don’t dismiss them. Hear their concerns, listen to their ideas, and then take action on them.

6. Great leaders don’t blame others:

Optimus Prime had become distrustful of humans. He didn’t want to allow Noah to enter the museum to retrieve the Transwarp Key. He thought the Autobots should do this.

Things went sideways as Noah tried to get the key. He met Elena, and she fought to protect the key. The Terrorcons arrived. Mass chaos ensued. 

And the key was lost to the Terrorcons

Optimus Prime was upset. He lamented that he shouldn’t have trusted a human for this task. 

This was when Noah became incredulous. And rightfully so.

Noah pointed out that Optimus Prime hadn’t given him the whole story. Optimus Prime hadn’t told him other Transformers would be coming for the key. 

The lack of information caused Noah’s failure. More than that, it caused Optimus Prime to place blame where it didn’t belong.

There are two lessons here. First, leaders need to give people more information than they think. Withholding information prevents their people from doing the best job possible. Fill in your team with all the information they need.

The second is that great leaders don’t blame others. They take a look at their actions and see where they failed.

Learn to look at your actions, see the blind spots, and take responsibility instead of blaming others.

7. Use distractions to calm your people:

The Autobots decided they must get the key back from the Scourge (Peter Dinklage) and the other Terrorcons. They couldn’t allow the key to fall into the hands of Unicron.

Optimus Prime calls in a transport Transformer, Stratosphere. Stratosphere is a rickety plane that looks like it could fall apart at any moment. 

The Transformers board the plane along with Elena and Noah. Noah soon discovers Elena has never been on a plane. In fact, she had never left New York before this.

Noah began to converse with Elena. He learned about her history and asked questions. This distracted Elena enough that she could calm down during the flight.

Do you ever notice any of your team members becoming anxious or fidgety? You might wonder what would cause someone to react in this way.

You can do something about it.

Ask them about their situation. Talk them through what they’re going through. Let them know that there is someone there with them.

Your conversation can distract them and teach them what to do next.

8. Beware of those who will infect you with negative thoughts:

Optimus Prime and Scourge began to battle it out in Peru. They were duking it out!

Airazor swoops in and blows up the road, separating the two and allowing Prime to escape. In doing so, Airazor was hit by a projectile from Scourge. 

This wasn’t any old projectile. No, this projectile would infect the Transformer and turn her against her former comrades.

We have to be cautious of what we allow ourselves to be around. I’m not telling you to disassociate from anyone. But to be careful.

How others speak and act can infect you, just as Scourge infected Airazor with his projectile. 

Our minds are precious. Protect them from thoughts that can invade and infect.

9. Great leaders apologize:

Optimus Prime finally began to overcome his distrust of humans. He shared why in his apology to Noah.

Optimus Prime had traveled to Earth for a reason. Once there, he and his team became stranded. This caused Optimus Prime to fight for his own people.

He also saw that Noah had been fighting for his own people. This caused the two to be opposed to one another.

In his apology, Optimus Prime said the pair should be fighting together. This would strengthen their efforts and allow them to defeat the threat in front of them.

To whom do you need to apologize? As leaders, we all make bad calls, treat people poorly, and do the wrong thing. These aren’t intentional, and hopefully they’re not often, but we make mistakes.

Look back on your actions. See where you need to apologize. Then go apologize.

You’ll strengthen your relationships and gain allies.

10. Give people something to look forward to:

The end scene in Transformers: Rise Of The Beast gave the audience something to look forward to. Noah goes in for a job interview and talks with the interviewer.

The person interviewing Noah was Agent Burke (Michael Kelly). 

We don’t discover who he is until Noah turns over the business card Agent Burke gave him. The business card said “GI Joe.”

Holy cow! The Transformers are going to crossover with GI Joe. That’s something to look forward to.

What are you giving your people to look forward to? Does your mission and vision inspire them for an exciting future? Do your actions tell them there’s something better to be had? 

Learn to give your people something to look forward to.

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