Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle

A Reel Leadership Article

My thought going into Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle was “Do we really need another remake of a film?” The 1995 Jumanji starred Robin Williams as Alan Parrish (who gets a nod in the new Jumanji). Williams character was sucked into the world of Jumanji much like the characters in the new movie.

Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle tells the story of four students: Spencer (Alex Wolff), Bethany (Madison Iseman), Fridge (Ser’Darius Blain), and Martha (Morgan Turner) as they follow the same path as Alan Parrish. While in detention, these four characters discover an old video game system with a Jumanji cartridge already inserted into the console.

Leadership lessons from Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle

They turn on the system, choose their avatars, and are suddenly transported into the video game. Welcome to the jungle, gang!

Once inside the world of Jumanji, the students assume the form of their chosen avatars. Spencer becomes Dr. Smolder Bravestone (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson), Fridge becomes Moose Finbar (Kevin Hart), Bethany becomes Professor Shelly Oberon (Jack Black), and Martha becomes Ruby Roundhouse (Karen Gillan).

Tasked to save the world of Jumanji, the players have three lives and they quickly realize the game is for real.

Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle tells a great story. The theater Pam and I were in was filled with laughs and gasps from the other movie attendees. There were also plenty of leadership lessons in Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle.


Caution: Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle spoilers below

Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle

1. Adapt to your audience:

Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle opens with a man walking the beach and discovering the Jumanji board game buried in the beach sand. He uncovers the game and brings it home to his son, Alex (Mason Guccione). Alex isn’t impressed as he’s a metalhead teenager who thinks board games are lame.

Alex places the board game on a shelf and goes to bed. During the night, the sentient Jumanji game transforms itself into a video game cartridge and wakes Alex up from his sleep. He sees the changes and pops the cartridge into his gaming system. When he chooses his character, Alex is transported to the world of Jumanji.

The Jumanji game realized it needed to adapt and transform itself for Alex to be interested in playing it. It did so by changing into something Alex would like to play.

As a leader, you have to adapt and change your message for the audience you’re talking to. This doesn’t mean you change who you are or your core values. Instead, you change HOW you communicate your message.

You might need to use video to get your message across. Maybe you need to change the vocabulary you’re using. Or you might have to dress a little differently so your audience can relate to you.

Be willing to adapt to your audience.

2. Not everything you see is real:

You soon see Bethany lying on her bed with a selfie stick snapping pictures. She’s changing her pose and rearranging the nightstand next to her. Eventually, she snaps the PERFECT picture.

Up on Instagram the picture goes. Along with some hashtags:




Bethany tried to portray her perfectly taken photo as authentic. Instead, the Instagram photo was staged and posed. She wasn’t authentic.

Leaders can fall into this trap as well. You may want people to see you as perfect. As doing the right thing, all the time.

But you and I both know the truth. You’re not perfect. Life and leadership are messy.

Stop trying to hide behind authenticity and social media as real. Be real instead.

3. Teacher:

You’re aware there are other people in the world, right?

During a test, Bethany’s teacher notices Bethany is on the phone. She calls her out on it and Bethany cops an attitude.

The teacher lays down a hard truth: There are other people in the world. They matter too. You’re not the most important person in the world.

As people rise in the ranks of leadership, they can forget what life was like when they didn’t have a position of power. They begin to act in a way where THEY are the most important person in the organization.

Leadership doesn’t work that way. There are other people in the world, in the organization you WORK for.

Be aware of those people. Recognize those people.

4. Principle Bently:

You get one life… You get to decide how you’re going to spend it.

Principle Bently (Marc Evan Jackson) tells his students they have one life. The life they will live, they get to decide how to live it.

You may think your life is out of your control. You have no say in the direction your life will go. You’d be wrong to believe this.

Every decision you make in your life will lead you in a positive direction or a negative direction. Choose the direction you want to go.

5. Choices matter:

When the four students started to play Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle, they had a choice of characters. Their choice of character determined their skill sets, abilities, and weaknesses in the game. Their choices mattered.

Your choices as a leader matter too. Be wise in your decision making.

6. Nigel:

You must use your complimentary skills to return the jewel and lift the curse.

Nigel (Rhys Darby) is an NPC (Non-Playable Character) in Jumanji who guides the main cast throughout their journey. Upon their arrival, Nigel gives this piece of advice.

Each of the characters has a unique set of skills. By using their skills together, they can save the world of Jumanji and return to their home.

Your team members have unique skills. They’re different than yours and from one another. Yet their skills are still important.

Help your team become a cohesive unit and use their skills together.

7. Use your expertise:

Let’s be honest, Spencer was a nerd in the real world. His nerdery served him well in the game world though.

As he began to realize what was happening, he saw what was happening in Jumanji followed the rules of gaming. Complete a mission and you progress to the next level. As you progress, the levels and challenges become more difficult.

He saw this and knew what had to be done. They had to complete each level of Jumanji to escape.

You have a unique set of experiences that have given you expertise. Don’t be scared to use the expertise you’ve gained in life.

8. Know your strengths and weaknesses:

The characters in Jumanji didn’t know their strengths when they arrived in the game world. Only by accident did Spencer’s avatar Dr. Smolder Bravestone discover his by touching his right pectoral muscle. When he did this, a heads-up display showed his strengths and weaknesses.

Jack Black's character Professor Shelly Oberon looks at her strengths and weaknesses

Because the characters were able to discover their strengths and weaknesses, they were able to use them to beat the Jumanji game and release themselves from its hold.

Leaders need to know their strengths and weaknesses like the players in Jumanji. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses will help you avoid leadership pitfalls and allow you to excel in the areas you’re already gifted in.

If you don’t know your strengths and weaknesses, I’d highly recommend you check out the StrengthsFinder 2.0 assessment.

9. Bethany:

I’m just saying, you’re a babe. Own it.

Martha was a cranky teenage girl who pushed others away from her. She did this to protect herself from rejection. However, Bethany saw something more in Martha.

Bethany knew Martha was a babe. She wasn’t ugly and she could land guys if she wanted too.

What it took for Martha to realize she had value was for someone else to notice her value. This may be true for you.

At times, seeing your value yourself can be difficult, if not impossible. You live in your strengths so you don’t always see them yourself.

This is where having someone come alongside you helps. They can give you an objective opinion and help you see yourself as you truly are.

Find someone to give you honest feedback. You might be surprised at discovering what other people see in you.

10. Spencer:

We need each other, whether we like it or not.

Fridge was upset at Spencer and pushed him over the edge of a cliff. This caused Spencer to lose a life. Understandably, Spencer was upset. Yet he still reiterated a truth: The four characters needed one another whether or not they liked it.

You will want to build the best team in the world. Still, there will be times when you or your team members won’t get along.

This is when you’re going to have to follow Spencer’s advice: You need each other. Even if you don’t like it.

11. Spencer:

I don’t want to do this.

One of the challenges the four characters had to face in Jumanji was a Black Mamba snake. They believed they had to stare down the snake and they picked Spencer to open the basket holding the snake.

Of course, Spencer didn’t want to face the snake. Who would? But he opened the basket anyways.

Leadership requires you to do things you don’t want to or like to do. Do those things anyways.

12. We live in other people’s houses:

The four main characters in Jumanji stumble across a new character: Jefferson Seaplane McDonough (Nick Jonas). Jefferson was actually a playable character and, you discover, actually the metalhead Alex who had been pulled into the game 20 years earlier.

Alex had made his home in a hut someone else had built (fun fact: There was a name carved in one of the beams for the hut. That name was Alan Parrish. If you watched the first Jumanji, you would know Alan was the character played by Robin Williams). He didn’t build the hut but he took over the hut when the previous adventurer abandoned it.

Great leaders realize they don’t live in their own house as a leader. The organizations they lead or build are not their own. Instead, they’re only borrowed until it is time for a new leader comes along.

Don’t think you own your leadership. It’s only borrowed.

13. Find a teacher:

The gang had to infiltrate a heavily guarded vehicle depot. There were two male guards standing outside of the facility and the team came up with a brilliant idea. One of the team members would go and flirt with them while the others gained access to the vehicles.

Ruby Roundhouse (Martha’s character) was chosen due to her being attractive and the only female character. However, Martha had never flirted with a boy before and didn’t know what to do. She needed a teacher.

This is where Bethany’s strength came into play. She was a pro at flirting with guys.

Bethany and Martha go into a brief but intensive training session where Bethany teaches Martha everything she can about flirting.

With the newly obtained knowledge, Martha felt confident she could pull off the task.

You will run into situations where you don’t know what to do. This is where you need to bring in a teacher.

Find someone who will mentor you and show you the ropes. Don’t be afraid they’ll think less of you. In fact, people will respect you more because you had the courage and wherewithal to get help.

14. Let your team do their job:

Martha’s attempt at flirting with the guards turned into an awkward, hilarious attempt to be sexy. She failed miserably but still gained the attention of the guards… Until Bethany knocked Fridge knocked over the motorcycles in the storage facility.

The guards turned and looked to see what the commotion was. This is when Martha used Ruby Roundhouse’s skill of dance fighting kicks in. The stereo begins to play and she kicks butt.

During the fight, Spencer looks out the door to see what is going on. He thinks he’ll need to help Martha but soon decides she has everything under control. Spencer didn’t need to step in.

Your first thought as a leader may be to step in and take control of a situation when your team is struggling. Let me caution you against interfering right away, if at all.

Instead of stepping in, let your team deal with the situation. Trust them to do the job you hired them to do. Then, if they’re still struggling, ASK if they need help. Don’t just assume.

15. Be an encourager:

Alex was scared. He’d stopped pursuing the villain in Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle, Van Pelt (Bobby Cannavale), because he was down to one life bar. He was fearful he would die and die a permadeath in the game and in real life.

The team needed Bobby to fly the helicopter they’d found so they could get to the next level in the game. His fear held him back.

Martha knew what needed to be done. She stepped up and encouraged Alex to fly the plane. She told Alex that if she could fight, he could fly.

With her encouragement, Alex hopped in the helicopter and lifted off!

People need to be encouraged. Give positive, affirming words to your team.

Write them hand-written notes (or, better yet, send a hand-written note to their families letting them know how thankful you are for their spouse), have a sit-down chat with them, or send them an email. These encouraging words will energize your team and help them give you their best.

16. Accidents happen and you can recover from them:

While the team was riding in the helicopter, Fridge leaned out to puke. As he was trying to puke, the backpack carrying the jewel they had to place back into the stone jaguar opened up and the jewel fell out. Fridge had made a mistake.

This mistake wasn’t fatal. The team flies back over the area where the stone had dropped and Spencer sacrificed one of Fridge’s lives so they could retrieve the jewel.

While Fridge may have lost a life, the team was able to recover from the accident fairly unscathed.

You won’t have to sacrifice one of your team members due to an accident but you can remember this leadership lesson from Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle… You can recover from mistakes. Don’t think mistakes are fatal or final. You can pick yourself back up and get back in the game.

17. Social media can be a problem:

Bethany had a problem. She was addicted to social media and technology. Throughout the movie, she complained about not having her phone or being unable to post to Instagram.

However, as the movie progressed, Bethany became less air-headed and more intellectual. She gave Alex sage advice that was wise and insightful. Since she was no longer focused on social media, she had to think and formulate thoughts.

Social media does a lot of good. Social media also does a lot of harm.

Be wise to notice if you have a problem with social media. Then take action to correct the problem.

18. Leaders have doubts:

As you near the end of watching Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle, you see Spencer struggling with his belief in himself. He begins to doubt he is brave.

You may find yourself in a situation similar to Spencer’s. You may begin to doubt you are brave or you have what it takes to lead.

I know because I find myself there frequently. I doubt my abilities or my skills.

Don’t feel ashamed because you have doubts about your abilities to lead. Instead, know every leader has these same doubts. Then start leading again.

19. Your weakness can be used to benefit your leadership:

Each character in Jumanji was able to see their strengths and weaknesses earlier in the movie. Ruby Roundhouse saw her weakness of Venom so she tried to avoid snakes like the plague.

She did this until the end of the movie. As she was getting ready to give the jewel to Spencer, she was surrounded by venomous snakes and Van Pelt thought he had them right where he wanted. That’s when Ruby remembered her weakness and let the snakes bite her.

She died… She also respawned (her character reappeared in the game) and was able to pass the jewel to Spencer who placed it into the stone jaguar’s eye socket.

Her weakness allowed her to save the day and help them win the game.

You have weaknesses. Don’t be ashamed of them. Your weakness may actually be a strength in hiding or just what you need to advance your leadership.

Question: Have you seen Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle? If you have, what was your favorite leadership lesson from Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle? If not, what was your favorite leadership lesson from Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle that I shared? Let me know in the comment section below.

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