Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Netflix’s Bright

A Reel Leadership Article

In the 2018 Netflix original movie Bright, a human cop is forced to partner with an Orc. The cop is Daryl Ward (Will Smith) and the Orc is Nick Jakoby (Joel Edgerton).

Tension is high between the various races of Orcs, Elves, and Humans. Being paired up with an Orc meant Daryl Ward was in for a world of trouble.

leadership from Netflix's Bright with Will Smith

Bright begins with Daryl being shot during an armed robbery. His partner, Nick, was busy buying a street burrito for Daryl. After a brief hospital stay, Daryl is back in the squad car with Nick riding shotgun.

While the language was very strong (multiple F-Bombs were dropped), the story was intriguing. The buddy cop twist was different. And, of course, there are plenty of leadership lessons in Netflix’s Bright. Let’s take a look at those leadership lessons below.

Caution: Spoilers for Netflix’s Bright below.

Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Netflix’s Bright

1. Broken People (The Band):

We’re broken people now.

As Bright begins, you hear the music from a band called Broken People. The lyrics repeat how we’re broken people. We’re broken people now.

In the world of Bright, you see this play out. Every character in Bright was flawed. Or, you could say, broken.

The same is true for our world. We’re all broken people. Something is wrong with us and we can’t escape this truth.

Embrace the fact you’re broken. Stop hiding from your brokenness. Begin working with and using your brokenness (or weakness).

2. You will have to work with people you dislike:

Daryl Ward had to partner with an Orc. The first such instance in the history of the LAPD.

Because of the tension between the different races, Daryl desperately wanted to get rid of his partner. He wanted to work with someone that was like him. Someone he liked.

You’re going to have people on your team you don’t like. They’re going to disagree with you or challenge your plans. They might even say things you don’t like.

However, you have them on your team and you need to work with them.

I believe having people you don’t like on your team can even be an advantage for you. You will have to stretch and grow as a leader. You will have to find ways to work through your disagreements and feelings.

Be willing to work with people you don’t like. You will learn something.

3. Sophia Ward:

Don’t tell Nick to shut up. He’s a person too.

Daryl tells Nick to shut up after he appears at Daryl’s home. Daryl’s daughter, Sophia Ward (Scarlet Spencer) is front and center to see her father tell his Orc partner to shut up. And she was upset.

Sophia lit into her father. She tells him he shouldn’t treat Nick in a derogatory way. Nick is a person and he deserves respect.

Sure, Nick is different. He’s an Orc. That doesn’t mean Daryl should treat him any differently.

Leadership brings you into contact with a vast array of people. Caucasian, African American, Native American, Indian, Hispanic, Jewish, etc…

Everyone is a person. And everyone deserves respect.

Treat those you lead and interact with as you would have them treat you. Show respect!

4. People will doubt you:

Daryl was shot while Nick was buying a burrito. The person who shot Daryl was an Orc. Nick pursued the Orc assailant but the Orc was able to escape.

This led to the other LAPD officers believing Nick had let the perpetrator of the shooting escape on purpose. They believed he let him go because he was an Orc.

The truth later comes out in Bright. The Orc Nick had chased wasn’t the actual shooter. Nick had chased the wrong person.

You’re going to make choices. Choices people will disagree with and doubt.

Be a strong leader. Stand by your decisions when they make sense. Allow people to doubt but show them why you made your decision and help them understand.

5. Sometimes crazy people speak wise words:

Nick and Daryl were called to the scene of a man swinging a sword. The man was also filthy, covered head to toe in dirt.

After they arrested the man, Serling (Chris Brown), Serling began to speak Orcish. He told the duo they would fulfill an ancient prophesy and Daryl was blessed.

This “crazy” man had wisdom no one would have expected to flow from his lips.

There are people in your life who you will think is crazy. They have no wisdom to share with you. You’d be wrong.

Even crazy people can share wisdom. Be discerning and willing to listen when words of wisdom are spoken.

6. Use the right tools:

Netflix’s Bright tells the story of Humans, Orcs, and Elves. Amongst these races, there are Brights who are able to use magic. Orcs and Elves have a higher likelihood of being a Bright. Humans, the chances are slim to none.

There are also those who wish to resurrect the Dark Lord. An evil power that will reek havoc upon the world.

Two thousand years ago, magic stopped the Dark Lord. Two thousand years later, only magic can stop the Dark Lord again.

They knew the tools they would have to use to stop an evil force from destroying their world. And they knew magic had to be used once more.

Your team members have an idea of the tools they need to complete their work. They will come to you and ask for the right tools.

Being a leader means helping your team get the tools they need to complete their work. Look for ways to help your team get the right tools.

7. Nick Jakoby:

They don’t teach that at the academy.

Nick and Daryl were attacked by a gang. The gang pursued them as they fled in a truck.,

Daryl used the truck to ram into the gang’s vehicle. This caused the vehicle to flip and help them elude the gang.

Flipping a vehicle wasn’t something the police academy taught. It was something Daryl figured out as they were being chased.

You can go to college and seminars and conferences all you want. You’ll even learn a lot from these experiences.

However, you cannot learn everything you need to learn about leadership in the classroom or in educational settings. You will have to learn leadership skills on the fly.

Be willing to learn as you lead.

8. Nick Jakoby:

I’m not a cop after tonight, am I?

A lot happened quickly in Bright. Daryl and Nick were attacked by a gang. Daryl had to take out four rogue police officers. And a lot of other chaos. All of this led Nick to believe he wouldn’t be a cop at the end of the day.

By the end of the movie, we learn Nick’s assumption was wrong. He was able to stay on the LAPD police force.

You’re going to have doubts about whether or not you have what it takes to be a leader. You’re going to make bad decisions and choose the wrong direction to go.

This doesn’t mean you’re not able to lead effectively. Rather, your bad choices show you how to lead better in the future.

Don’t give up because of a bad decision or two. Don’t give up because you don’t feel like you’re educated enough or have the skillset to lead.

Lead anyway. Find ways to grow and develop. Find ways to make up for your inefficiencies. The world needs you to lead.

9. Trust is a two-way street:

Daryl wanted Nick to trust him. Yet Nick had trouble with Nick’s request. Why? Because Daryl didn’t trust Nick.

Trust goes two ways. Between you and those you lead and from those you lead to you. If trust is broken along the way, you have to find a way to repair the broken trust.

10. Doing the right thing will cost you:

The gangsters eventually caught up with Daryl and Nick. When they gangsters captured Daryl and Nick, they began to beat them.

They desired to learn where the wand had been hidden (Daryl and Nick had earlier rescued an Elf by the name of Tikka (Lucy Fry) who had been in possession of the wand). Despite the beatings, Daryl and Nick wouldn’t reveal the location of this precious item. The pair knew the wand could be used as a powerful weapon and they would do anything to protect it from falling into the wrong hands.

You will have the opportunity to speak up against misdeeds and wrongs. You will have to make a choice whether or not to speak the truth.

And while speaking the truth is the right thing to do, speaking the truth can cost you. It can cost you your job, your respect, and your friendships.

Yet speaking the truth is the right thing to do. And doing the right thing will cost you at times.

Do the right thing. Regardless of how much the right thing costs.

11. Nick Jakoby:

I am… A great Orc.

Nick was an Orc. However, he wasn’t a blooded Orc. This meant other Orcs didn’t fully respect him.

Then a group of Orcs told Nick he would make a great Orc. Nick knew the truth. He was already a great Orc. He didn’t need anyone to tell him this.

As you lead, you won’t need to be told you’re a great leader. You either are or you’re not. No amount of affirmation from others will make you a better leader.

Know who you are as a leader. Stand firm in your belief of who you are.

12. You will be amazed at what your team can do:

Tikka battled against an evil Elf, Tien (Veronica Ngo), who was hell-bent on raising the Dark Lord. During their battle, Nick was tossed into a giant pit.

Using the wand, Tikka raised Nick’s body from the pit. She then used the wand to heal Nick.

Daryl watched in amazement as Tikka did her thing. She was amazing and Daryl knew it now.

You will be amazed by the skillset and talents of your team. However, you may not know what they can do until you allow them to shine.

Give your team a chance to use their talents and skills for the organization. Don’t hold them back because their skills may not be in line with their job description.

Help them develop those skills and talents so your organization can benefit from them and you can be amazed.

13. Tikka:

Have faith.

Tikka was injured in her fight with Tien. Her life was slipping away and Daryl had to make a choice.

There was a pool of water where Daryl had first encountered Tikka. This water could revive her. Yet Daryl believed Tikka may die if he put her in the water.

Tikka told Daryl to have faith. Have faith in what she knew and what the water could do.

Do you have faith? Faith in what you can do? Faith in what your team can do?

You need to have faith to lead. You need to believe in your team and who you are as a leader.

Find faith to believe in you and your team. You will need it.

14. You don’t know the full extent of your abilities:

Wands in Bright were only able to be touched by Brights. Daryl was a human and the chance he was a Bright was one in millions.

When he touched the wand, he expected to be obliterated. He wasn’t. He was able to wield the power of the wand.

Daryl turned out to be a Human Bright. Something very uncommon. When he realized he was a Bright, he realized how much power he wielded.

You won’t know how much of a leader you are until you try out leadership. As you take your first steps into leadership, you will see the influence you wield and how you can positively impact the lives of those you lead.

Test your leadership abilities. Find out how far they stretch. Uncover your strengths.

Question: Have you seen Bright? If you have, share a leadership lesson from Netflix’s Bright that you discovered in the movie. If you haven’t seen Bright, share a lesson from Netflix’s Bright that I share that touched you. Let me know the lesson in the comment section below.

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