Our local Celebration Cinema theater, Cinema Carousel, had a special screening of the new animated movie Wolfwalkers. Brought to the theater by Fathom Events, Wolfwalkers was a fantastic exploration of a fantasy world. If you’d like to see Wolfwalkers in the graphic novel format, it is available on Amazon.
Directed by Tomm Moore (The Secret Of Kells and Song Of The Sea) and Ross Stewart, Wolfwalkers is the story of young Robyn Goodfellowe (Honor Kneafsey). She is an apprentice hunter to her father, Bill Goodfellowe (Sean Bean). Bill doesn’t want his daughter outside of the city walls because of the wolves and Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell’s (Simon McBurney) orders.
When Robyn disobeys her father, she finds herself trapped in a trap set for a wolf. Hanging upside down, she meets Mebh Óg MacTíre (Eva Whittaker), a wolfwalker. Robyn’s whole life changes after this encounter.
The story of Wolfwalkers is fantastic. More than the story, the visuals are beautiful. They draw the viewer into the movie, bringing it to life. I don’t think I’ve seen a more beautiful animated movie in quite some time.
Aside from that, you know where I’m going. Wolfwalkers is full of leadership lessons. We’re going to explore these leadership lessons in today’s Reel Leadership article.
Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Wolfwalkers
1. People love a behind-the-scenes view:
Wolfwalkers opened with Moore and Stewart sharing a little about the movie. They talk about how excited they were for people to see Wolfwalkers on the big screen, as it was intended. They also were excited to offer a behind-the-scenes view of the making of the movie. This includes scenes of an artist painting watercolor images, voice actors voicing their scenes, and more.
The behind-the-scenes section was cool. It opened the audience’s eyes to what goes into a movie such as Wolfwalkers.
Leaders can give a behind-the-scenes view of leadership too. It’s not limited strictly to movies!
Take your team behind the scenes. Show them how you make decisions, how things are shifted, and why you do what you do.
You will help your team understand your role better. Even better, you may encourage a new generation of leaders by showing them what goes on!
2. Make things right:
A woodsman was attacked by wolves in an early scene of Wolfwalkers. The man was badly hurt. You could see why the townsfolk were scared of the wolves.
Then, something happened.
The wolves retreated. A Wolfwalker appeared and healed the woodsman.
The Wolfwalker made things right. She saw something had gone bad. She made sure things were corrected.
Things will go bad while you lead. Feelings will be hurt. People will be let go. Projects will go down the tubes.
When things go bad, the leader has to look for a way to help make things right. As a leader, you can do this!
You can help heal wounded relationships. You can ease the pain of a layoff. You can revive a failed project!
Make things right as much as you can.
3. There are reasons to be worried:
Robyn and Bill struggled with Robyn’s desire to go hunt wolves with her father. Robyn was insistent that she wasn’t worried about encountering a wolf. Her father, on the other hand, was very worried.
Bill had encountered wolves before. He knew what they could do. He’d seen it firsthand.
Robyn hadn’t seen a wolf. She’d never seen the destruction they could cause. She wasn’t worried because she hadn’t experienced the dangers of a wolf.
Are you a fearless leader? Do you believe there’s nothing in leadership to fear?
You’re a naive leader, then.
There is plenty of things to be worried about in leadership. Leadership isn’t an easy journey. There are leadership traps and trials. There are things in leadership that will draw you away from your family. These things may even make you lose yourself.
Make sure you know the dangers of leading.
If you could just see how good I am…
Bill wouldn’t let Robyn hunt. As stated previously, he knew the dangers of hunting wolves. He didn’t want his daughter put into that kind of danger.
Robyn believed she was good enough to hunt wolves. There would be no danger in doing so.
We can overestimate how good we are. We can look at our accomplishments or the training that we’ve had. We can put more trust in our abilities than we really should.
Don’t overestimate how good you are. You can always be better.
5. We can hurt others while trying to help someone:
Robyn had a pet hawk, Merlyn. Merlyn was loyal to Robyn. He stayed by her side and helped her track her father.
One day, Robyn heard a shepherd calling for help. There were wolves in the area attacking his sheep.
Robyn, emerging from the forest, took aim with her crossbow. She hesitated and was bumped by the startled sheep. Her aim went from the wolf to the air.
The trigger was pulled. The arrow went sailing into the air. Instead of hitting the wolf, the arrow hit Merlyn!
Robyn had injured an unintended target.
We can be like Robyn while leading. We can try to help someone and, in the end, wind up hurting someone else.
We have to be careful when we take action. We have to review the pros and the cons of our actions.
Let’s make sure we’re not unintentionally hurting someone else when we help someone.
6. Your team members may not understand why:
Thankfully, the Wolfwalkers helped heal Merlyn. They were able to heal the wound. Merlyn lived!
Robyn didn’t know how Merlyn had recovered. When Merlyn wouldn’t let Robyn shoot a wolf, she didn’t understand why.
There was a why. The wolfpack had been part of his healing. He knew more than Robyn did.
You will make decisions in your leadership and your team will wonder why you made the choice. They don’t have all the background information you do.
Know you will be misunderstood. People will wonder why you make the decisions you make.
You have more insight into the workings of the business than others do. Your team will not understand you.
7. Communicate properly:
Mebh was a Wolfwalker. She was the one who bit Robyn and turned her into a Wolfwalker.
They quickly became friends.
As they departed, Robyn said she would meet with Mebh the next day. Robyn had planned on bringing bread to Mebh.
Robyn shared this tidbit with Mebh. Then she quickly corrected herself. She changed bread to town tasties.
That’s what Mebh called bread. That’s what Robyn would call bread for Mebh.
Leaders need to learn how to find a common language they can use to communicate with their team. Your team members may not understand leadership jargon. Leadership jargon will often sound like gobbledygook to your team.
Learn the language of your team. Begin using it.
8. Explain the benefits:
As Robyn transitioned into a Wolfwalker, she was freaked out. Thankfully for her, Mebh was there. She was able to help walk Robyn through the benefits of being a Wolfwalker.
Some of the benefits explained to Robyn were:
- 4 feet meant she could run faster
- She could jump high
- See the scent of the things around her
- Feel movement with her paws
There were plenty of benefits to being a Wolfwalker. They only had to be explained to Robyn.
What benefits are you not explaining to your team? Explaining the benefits to your team can help them see the joys of working for your organization.
Help them to see the plus side of working for you. They may include:
- Extra time off for family emergencies
- Flexible working schedule
- High wages
- Great coworkers
- Private working areas
9. Leaders are concerned about others:
Robyn was sent to work in the scullery. There, she accidentally discovered Mebh’s mother was locked in a cage. Mebh’s mother, Moll MacTíre (Maria Doyle Kennedy), began to talk to Robyn.
Moll, while locked up, told Robyn to leave. To flee the area. She knew Mebh and Robyn were not safe.
The kick to this? Moll was okay staying in the cage. She wanted to see her daughter safe.
Can we all agree we need to be more like Moll? We need to look at our team and see what benefits them.
What benefits our team members may not always benefit us. We may have to take the responsibility for a failed project. Or it could be that we recommend a team member for a promotion above our position.
Whatever it is, be concerned for your team members.
10. Fear can cause us to push others away:
Bill struggled with fear. He feared he would lose his daughter. Whether this was through death or some other means, this fear was real to Bill.
It also caused Bill to push Robyn away. He wouldn’t listen to her. He put her in positions she didn’t want to be.
Be careful when fear creeps into your mind. It will affect your ability to lead.
You will see yourself pushing away great team members. You will see yourself making bad decisions.
Learn to control the fear you feel before you push others away.
The pack. I need the pack.
Mebh’s mother escaped from her cage. She fled but was shot by Bill.
The wound was fatal. If it wasn’t healed through the Wolfwalker’s magic, she would pass away.
Mebh began the healing process. She tried and tried as much as she could. She just couldn’t heal the wound.
That’s when she looked up. She saw a cave drawing of a pack of wolves around a healing ceremony. She needed the pack.
And you need your team.
Your team is crucial to your success. They will help you accomplish more than you could ever accomplish on your own.
Build a great team. A team that helps each other and you.
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