Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Paddington 2

A Reel Leadership Article

Paddington Bear (Ben Wishaw) once again makes an appearance on the big screen. After settling into the community, Paddington is a beloved member of the community who makes the lives of those around him better… Until one night when a thief breaks into Mr. Gruber’s (Jim Broadbent) antique shop to steal a very special pop-up book.

Learn leadership lessons from Paddington 2

Paddington witnessed the thief breaking into the antique shop and began pursuing the culprit. Only to be accused of the theft himself.

This is when Paddington 2 really picks up steam. And the leadership lessons from Paddington 2 begin.

Caution: Paddington 2 spoilers below.

Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Paddington 2

1. Great leaders spring into action:

As Paddington 2 begins, we see a bear couple enjoying their time together on a bridge. The female bear, Lucy (Imelda Staunton), notices something wrong in the raging river below. There is a branch with a young bear cub struggling on it. Worse, the branch and cub are heading towards a waterfall.

She shouts to Pastuzo (Michael Gambon) to lower her down to the water. She took quick action to save the cub.

Great leaders don’t wait around for someone else to do something. They see an issue and they spring into action.

Sometimes they’ll call for others to help like Lucy asked Pastuzo for help. Other times they will have to spring into action by their lonesome.

Be ready to take action when you are needed.

2. Aunt Lucy:

I have a feeling if we look after this cub, he will go far.

Lucy and Pastuzo decided to raise the cub as their own after the daring rescue. The pair saw something special in young Paddington.

They knew if they cared for and looked after him, he would go far in life. And he did.

Great leaders are able to see the potential in others. They look at them and see what they can become. Not what they are.

Look for people you can pour into. Find potential servant leaders and guide them. The world will be better for it.

3. Great leaders know people in their community and beyond:

When Paddington 2 switches to the life Paddington is living in London, you get a glimpse into his life. As he exits the front door of the Browns, he greets everyone he meets.

He knew the members of his community. From the man who always forgot his keys in the house to the woman riding a bike who needed a bite to eat. Paddington made sure to know those in his community.

Do you know the people in your community? Can you name off the hopes and aspirations of 5 of your team members? Do you think this needs to change?

Take time today to get to know the people in your community. Find out what makes them tick, what their dreams and desires are, and how you can better serve them.

You’ll become a better leader by knowing your people.

4. Find a hobby:

Mr. and Mrs. Brown had two children, Jonathan Brown (Samuel Joslin) and Judy Brown (Madeleine Harris). The two of them took up hobbies. Both of which served them well later in the movie.

Jonathan discovered a love for steam engines. He built model engines in his bedroom in his spare time.

Judy found a printing press. She began printing a local newspaper.

Each of the Brown kids found a passion they were excited about and made them into hobbies.

As a leader, you need to find a hobby. Leadership isn’t about leading 24/7. You have to have a way to unwind.

For me, my hobbies include collecting comic book art, comic books, watching movies, listening to music, and walking with my wife/running with my Vizsla. Your hobbies will probably be different but you have to have something to do to relax.

Go find a hobby.

5. Paddington Bear:

Aunt Lucy did so much for me as a cub. This could be my way to pay her back.

Lucy was Paddington’s adopted aunt. She was the bear who rescued him from the raging river and raised him to be the polite, kind bear he became. Her birthday was also fast approaching and he wanted to find the perfect gift for her.

While in Mr. Gruber’s antique store, Paddington found a gorgeous pop-up book. It was very expensive but Paddington wanted to get this for his aunt.

It wasn’t a selfish desire to get Aunt Lucy a gift. No, Paddington wanted to get Aunt Lucy a gift because of all she had done for him.

When you take care of people as a leader, you will reap the benefits later in life. Those future leaders will remember who you are.

You’ll get rewarded by seeing them succeed and go places you couldn’t go. You’ll see them lift up other potential leaders. Heck, you might even be recognized by the leaders you helped raise up.

Know your hard work won’t go unnoticed.

6. When you try to cover up your mistakes, they will be found out:

Paddington wanted the pop-up book so much that he went to work. One of the first places he found employment was at the local barbershop. He was to sweep the floors.

This was fine until Judge Gerald Biggleswade (Tom Conti) came in demanding a haircut right away. The problem was, Paddington was the only one in the shop.

He decided he would try to give the judge a trim. The trim went horribly wrong and Paddington shaved a stripe right down the middle of the judge’s head.

When he noticed the judge wasn’t aware of his mistake, Paddington took marmalade jelly, slathered the orange goo on the judge’s head, and began placing the shaved hair back into place.


As you can imagine, the judge discovered Paddington’s mistake and attempt to deceive him. The judge was furious (and led to harsh consequences later in Paddington 2).

When you make a mistake, don’t try to cover it up. Do what a great leader would do. Accept that you did something wrong and begin to correct the issue. Don’t hide the mistake.

7. Paddington Bear/Aunt Lucy:

If we are kind and polite, the world will be right.

Aunt Lucy used to say this to Paddington. And Aunt Lucy’s quote rings true.

When you’re kind to other people, the world becomes a better place. You brighten someone’s day. They, in turn, are kinder to the next person they run into. So on and so forth.

Be kind to others. It’s the only way to make the world right.

8. People tire of those who grandstand:

Phoenix Buchanan (Hugh Grant) is a masterful actor. He is able to transform his appearance so people are unable to recognize him. This is how he gets away with stealing the pop-up book. No one recognized the man Paddington described and since Paddington was at the scene of the crime, he is charged with the crime.

This leads to a courtroom trial where Phoenix takes the stand. He begins grandstanding and you can see the looks on the courtroom attendees faces change. They have a disdain for this man and his grandstanding. They tire of hearing about his great works.

Don’t be a leader who grandstands. People don’t need to hear about the great deeds you’ve done. They’d rather work alongside you as you and they accomplish new things together.

Be a leader who brings people along on the journey rather than excluding them.

9. People will wrongly judge you:

At the end of the trial, Judge Biggleswade delivers a guilty verdict. Paddington was convicted of a crime he didn’t commit.

There will be people who judge you without cause. They will deliver a guilty verdict even though you are innocent.

Know you won’t always be seen in a good light by others. Lead well anyways.

10. Stay positive:

Paddington could have turned sour. He could have become bitter because of the guilty ruling.

However, Paddington chose to stay positive. He wrote letters to his Aunt Lucy mentioning how he was staying in a period piece place and the security was grand. He found a positive for all the negative.

Don’t let negative situations get you down. Find the positive side of things and focus on those.

11. People fear they will be forgotten:

The greatest fear of Paddington upon entering the prison was that the Browns would forget him. They would visit and then slowly stop… Or so he feared.

I believe this is a great fear of leaders as well. This is why leaders try to build kingdoms around themselves rather than inviting others into the story.

Stop fearing you will be forgotten. The truth is, you will be forgotten at some point in time.

Instead of fearing you will be forgotten, strive to do work that will carry on for generations. While you may be forgotten, your work will not.

12. Paddington Bear/Aunt Lucy:

If you look for the good in people, you will find it.

Another truism from Aunt Lucy that Paddington kept in mind was to look for the good in people. Paddington did this in the prison and discovered some amazing friends.

It’s easy to look for the bad in people. They’re making mistakes and causing problems. However, you can make a difference in the world by looking for the good in people.

By looking for the good in people, you begin to draw out the good. They see someone noticing positive actions instead of the negative actions everyone always notices.

Be a seeker of the good.

13. Some people aren’t ready to hear criticism:

The prison had a cook. The cook was Knuckles McGinty (Brendan Gleeson).

Knuckles was a hardened criminal all of the other prisoners were afraid of. Paddington, being new, didn’t know this and approached him with critiques of the prison food.

Oh boy, Knuckles didn’t like Paddington’s criticism. He picked up the poor bear and threatened his life.

Knuckles wasn’t ready to receive criticism. He wasn’t at a point in his life where someone bringing up an issue didn’t infuriate him (though Paddington eventually won him over).

Know that when you critique someone’s actions, you may not get a positive response. There’s a good chance they’re not ready to hear the hard words that need to be spoken.

This doesn’t mean you don’t have a responsibility to speak these words. You do. But you have to be ready for them to reject the words you speak.

14. People will take your words literally:

Once Paddington won Knuckles over, Paddington began to work in the kitchen with Knuckles. Though Knuckles wasn’t happy…

He bossed Paddington around and told Paddington to get the oranges down for the marmalade. When the oranges fell on Paddington, Knuckles told him to move the oranges ones at a time.

What did Paddington do? He began to pick up a single orange and move them to the counter. He took Knuckles literally.

Be careful what you say. People are listening and they’re going to take you literally.

Make sure you’re clearly communicating what needs to be done. Don’t add flair or extra words in.

Be clear!

15. Positive words will change people:

Knuckles told Paddington he wouldn’t be much help with the oranges. He told Paddington to look at his BEEFY arms. They weren’t made for finesse.

Paddington saw something else. He saw GREAT orange squeezers. When he encouraged Knuckles to give it a try, Knuckles discovered his hands and arms were perfect for squeezing oranges.

Learn to speak positive words to those you lead. When you do, you will help them discover things they never saw in themselves.

16. People have more skills than you realize:

Knuckles and Paddington only knew how to make marmalade sandwiches. When the prisoners began to ask for a variety of food, Knuckles became angry and told them no one else knows how to cook.

One by one, prisoners began to stand up. They shared recipes they recalled from childhood. Each prisoner began to pitch in to help bring a new culinary experience to the prison.

You may believe your team members only have the skills you hired them for. If you believe this, you’re missing out.

When you feel you need a new skill on the team, be willing to ask your current team members if they might have the skill set needed for the current project.

You will have people raising their hand and saying “Pick me! I love to do that on the weekends” or “I know how to do this. Let’s get to work.”

Be willing to find the talents of your team.

17. One person (or bear) can make a difference:

Ever since Paddington arrived in the prison, the prison began to change. The prison food improved, prisoners were nicer to one another, guards even began to read bedtime stories to the prisoners!

All of this changed because of Paddington. He brought a new spirit to the prison.

You can be the Paddington in your workplace. You can bring positive energy and change the office.

Be willing to work for positive change. Help people to see the good in one another and change your world!

18. Mary Brown:

It seems so unfair that Paddington is in prison and life goes on.

Mary Brown (Sally Hawkins) had taken Paddington in when he arrived in London. She was a surrogate mother and felt it was unfair life continued forward for her family while Paddington sat behind bars.

It’s a sad thing to think about. The world going on without the ones you love. Yet it happens.

Know people won’t always be in your life, whether the reason is good or bad it is still true. Time won’t wait. It’ll continue on. And so must you.

19. people will disappoint you:

While Paddington was in prison, he made friends. Those friends included Knuckles and several other inmates who later ask him to help in their escape. Paddington relents after he believes the Browns have forgotten him.

After their escape, the inmates head to a plane. There, they plane to flee the country and escape future prosecution.

This wasn’t the plan. They’d originally told Paddington they would help him clear his name.

Their actions disappointed Paddington.

You will have people who let you down. You can’t let them keep you down though.

When someone lets you down, look at the situation. How can you improve it? Work on improving it and keep on trucking.

20. Great leaders have great communities:

When the community where Paddington resides heard he had escaped and was chasing the real criminal, they pitched in to help. The Browns had tried to catch up with Paddington when their car stalled. Mr. Henry Brown (Hugh Bonneville) had flooded their manual transmission car and they couldn’t get it started.

This is when the community came out in force. They saw the struggles Paddington’s family was having and they knew they had to help. They told Mr. Brown what had to be done and then they pushed his car so he could bump start (or clutch start) their vehicle and help Paddington on his quest of redemption.

Build a community like Paddington. When you do, they will have your back. They will support you and help you reach your goals.

Your community is important! Build a great community. Don’t neglect them!

Question: Have you seen Paddington 2 yet? If you have, what leadership lessons from Paddington 2 did you take away? If not, what leadership lesson from Paddington 2 that I shared resonated most with you? Let me know in the comment section below.

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