This past weekend, the last movie in the Maze Runner series released. First, we were given The Maze Runner in 2014. The sequel was The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials in 2015. Last, but not least, we were treated to The Maze Runner: The Death Cure.
The Maze Runner: The Death Cure completes the story of Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) and his friends as they fought their way out of the WCKD maze and destroyed the organization that wiped their memories and killed their friends.
The Maze Runner: The Death Cure reunites Thomas with Newt (Thomas Brodie-Sangster), Minho (Ki Hong Lee), Brenda (Rosa Salazar), Frypan (Dexter Darden), and other friends to take down WCKD once and for all. While there’s plenty of action and tense moments (I know because my wife was fidgeting in her seat!), there were also lots of great leadership lessons in The Maze Runner: The Death Cure.
Let’s dig into those leadership lessons below.
Caution: The Maze Runner: The Death Cure spoilers below
Quotes And Leadership Lessons From The Maze Runner: The Death Cure
1. Delays happen:
The first two The Maze Runner movies were released in rapid succession. The Maze Runner was released in 2014. A year later, The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials was released. Now, three years later, The Maze Runner: The Death Cure saw its release.
What caused the delay between the second and third Maze Runner movies? Star Dylan O’Brien was injured in an on-set car accident on March 17, 2016.
The Maze Runner: The Death Cure was delayed so the star could heal.
As a leader, you want things to happen in the time frame laid out. Delays are a source of frustration and panic. Yet delays happen.
You have to learn to roll with delays. They will come up. When they do, you have the responsibility to decide how to handle the delay.
This is crazy Thomas…
Early in The Maze Runner: The Death Cure, Thomas and a couple of friends are trying to board a train. Vince (Barry Pepper) was driving one of the armored vehicles to help rescue the people on the train.
As they drove closer to the train, Vince voiced his opinion. He believed their plan was crazy. There was a high probability their plan wouldn’t succeed.
Throughout your time as a leader, you will have ideas others won’t agree with. Your ideas will seem crazy to your team and to others.
Be prepared to defend yourself and your vision. Help others realize you have thought through your vision and you believe it can succeed.
When you help people see the vision through your eyes, you help win an ally.
3. Share your vision:
After Thomas and his team hijacked a train car and rescued a large number of immune teenagers, they arrive at a small community where Vince gives a speech. He shares his vision with those gathered at the beach.
He tells them to look at the rusted boat on the water. With repairs, the rusted boat will sail them to safety.
Vince cast a compelling vision with the crowd gathered before him. They began to rally behind his vision and him because of how he inspired them.
Your vision will have a similar effect. If you share your vision properly.
Know what your vision is. Know how your vision will impact others. Then share your vision with passion.
4. Leaders don’t always get what they want:
The train rescue in The Maze Runner: The Death Cure was to rescue Thomas’ friend Minho. When they freed the prisoners from the train, they realized Minho wasn’t in the train car.
Thomas didn’t get what he wanted. He didn’t get what he expected.
There are going to be a lot of things you’ll want as a leader. Know you may not always get what you want. And if you do get what you want, it may not be what you truly wanted.
We started this together. Might as well finish it that way.
Thomas tried to sneak away from the camp of other immunes. He was stopped on his way out by Newt.
Newt was one of the original Gladers in the first movie. He knew they had started the journey together. He figured why not go out together.
Great leaders try to keep their team together through the ups and the downs. As long as your team is cohesive and serving the purpose they were put together for, try to keep the team together.
6. Leaders don’t always have an appealing choice:
Thomas, Newt, and Frypan drove off to find Minho in The Last City. While en route, they come to a tunnel that could be filled with Cranks.
Thomas saw no other option than to drive through the tunnel. Even though this option didn’t appeal to him.
Leaders are tasked with making the hard decision. Especially when those decisions aren’t appealing.
You will have times when none of the choices presented to you will be appealing. Still, you have to choose. This is the lot of a leader.
7. Leaders need help:
The 3 boys chose to drive into the tunnel. When they did, they were swarmed by the Cranks. They couldn’t proceed and they looked like they were doomed.
That’s when Brenda and Jorge (Giancarlo Esposito) showed up to rescue them. These two provided the help Thomas and his friends needed to survive.
Leadership can be lonely when you block yourself off from others. This is even truer when leaders deny the help others offer.
Receiving help isn’t a sign of weakness. Rather, receiving help is a sign of strength. You realize your weakness and you’re being strong and in asking for and accepting help.
Don’t be afraid to say yes to a helping hand.
8. Great leaders are willing to find out as they go:
Thomas wasn’t sure Minho was in the Last City. He only knew he had to go to the Last City to discover if Minho was there.
Thomas had limited information on where Minho was. He had to take action to discover exactly where Minho was being held. He had to be willing to go and find out as he went.
Are you willing to continue forward even when the information isn’t always there? Thomas discovered Minho’s location only after he took action. You’ll only discover things as you move forward into the unknown.
Continue to act even if the path isn’t clear. It’ll open up to you.
9. Make your vision personal:
Teresa (Kaya Scodelario) made a passionate plea to associates in the WCKD headquarters as she searched for a cure to the virus infecting the rest of Earth’s population. She asked them if they had lost anyone to the virus. She helped make her vision for a cure personal.
Great leaders know they have to make their vision personal. They have to show people the vision will help them or their loved ones.
Look for ways to make your vision personal to those you’re telling it to.
Just calm down, alright?
After Thomas, Newt, and the rest of his friends attempted to breach the walls of the Last City, they were kidnapped by an unknown group. This group turned out to be led by Gally (Will Poulter), a former friend who had turned on them.
When Gally’s identity was revealed, Thomas went bonkers. He began to relentlessly beat Gally.
Newt, knowing this wouldn’t further their mission, tried to get Thomas to calm down. He made a plea to him to quit.
Emotions are a powerful thing. Your emotions will override common sense.
Know you will not make the wisest decisions when you’re angry or upset. Try to calm down before making any big decisions.
I said I had a way in. I didn’t say you’d like it.
Gally believed he had a way into the Last City. The method required Thomas… And would use Thomas’ old flame, Teresa who had betrayed them in a previous Maze Runner movie.
Thomas was furious when he discovered the way they would infiltrate the city and WCKD headquarters.
Sometimes the way to accomplishing your goals will require you doing something you don’t like. It’ll make you uncomfortable or have you work with someone you don’t like.
Leadership isn’t for the faint of heart. Leadership requires you to do things you won’t like.
*This doesn’t mean you do something unethical. It means you will have to do things you don’t like. If it requires you to do something unethical, don’t!
12. Doing everything in your power doesn’t guarantee results:
Teresa was hard at work creating a cure for The Flare virus. She gave her all in looking for the cure.
When she believed she had created the cure, she gave a young girl the shot. It appeared to work at first. Then the girl turned. The cure didn’t work. Teresa had failed.
Even after doing everything in her power to create a cure, she wasn’t successful.
Leaders will often give their all, believing doing so will guarantee success. Giving your all doesn’t guarantee success. Giving your all guarantees you know you did all you could.
13. Get rid of your labels:
In The Maze Runner: The Death Cure, people had been tagged with a microchip. This was their label and they could be tracked via drones and electronic methods.
Teresa was captured by Thomas and his friends. They forced her to remove the tags/labels WCKD had given them.
Labels are a horrendous thing for leaders. Labels, especially those given by others, can hold negative meanings and tear you down.
You need to begin to remove the negative labels others (and yourself) have placed on you. Begin to remove them and replace them with positive labels.
I was a stranger once…
Jorge and Brenda were close. They formed almost a father/daughter type of bond. So when Jorge asked Brenda when they began to help strangers, Brenda had to remind Jorge she was once a stranger to him.
Don’t forget you weren’t always a leader. You were once like those you’re leading.
Be sympathetic to them. Show them you remember. Stay humble.
15. Great leaders try:
Thomas wanted to save everyone. He knew he had to try.
Brenda tried to discourage Thomas from trying to save everyone. She told him he couldn’t.
Still, he tried.
I know the great leadership guru Yoda said there is do or do not. There is no try.
While it’s great advice, there are times when you have to try, even if you don’t know if you’ll be successful. Don’t be afraid of trying.
16. There is a time to jump:
Thomas, Newt, and Minho were being pursued by Janson (Aidan Gillen) and WCKD guards. They were trapped inside a WCKD office room and had no avenue of escape.
That’s when Thomas threw a chair at the window and shattered it. This opened up a pathway to a pool outside of the building (and many floors below).
They now had a choice: To jump or not to jump. They chose to jump.
Leadership will present you with opportunities that will scare you. They will push you outside of your comfort zone and make you question whether or not you have what it takes.
These are the times when you have to take a look and choose whether or not to jump.
Yeah… no one is perfect.
Minho had put a spear through Gally’s chest. Gally had no reason to help Minho and the rest of the Gladers. Yet he did.
Gally’s reasoning? No one is perfect.
You’re not perfect. Your team isn’t perfect. You’re going to have to deal with the imperfections.
This doesn’t mean you don’t lead. Or you don’t take on imperfect people. You lead through the imperfections.
18. You are special:
Teresa discovered something amazing about Thomas’ blood. His blood, when made into the Death Cure, didn’t just slow the virus. Thomas’ blood destroyed the virus.
His blood was special. His blood was THE CURE.
Your blood may not hold the cure for cancer or another deadly disease. Still, you are special.
You have something to offer the world no one else does. Offer your gift.
19. Leaders experience loss:
Throughout the Maze Runner movie series, Thomas experienced loss. In The Maze Runner: The Death Cure, Thomas lost two people: Newt and Teresa.
Leadership will see you lose people. You’ll also experience loss in project failures and bad choices.
Don’t give up when you experience loss. Be willing to push forward.
20. Bad leaders care only about themselves:
It is revealed Janson had a reason to look for a cure: He was infected with The Flare Virus. He needed a cure to stay alive.
His concern wasn’t with others. It was with himself. And his leadership reflected this selfish desire.
Be aware of why you’re leading. Ask yourself daily if you’re leading to help others or to help yourself.
21. Use your gift:
Thomas’ blood was a gift to the world. His blood could cure the infected and bring about order.
You have a gift. You are unique. Be willing to use your gift to benefit others.