Reel Leadership: 24 Leadership Lessons And Quotes From Marvel’s Avengers: Age Of Ultron

A Reel Leadership Article

I enjoyed the first Avengers movie. Seeing Chris Evans as Captain America, Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/Hulk, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton/Hawkeye, Scarlett Johnansson as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow, and Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury was amazing.

I don’t believe it was as great as everyone said it was but it was still enjoyable. Now, Disney and Marvel has released the latest in the Avengers series, Avengers 2: Age of Ultron, and this one blows the first movie out of the water.

leadership lessons and quotes from Marvel's Avengers: Age Of Ultron

For those not in the know, the Avengers is a team of superheroes who band together to combat ominous threats to earth. In their first outing, they faced Loki and his evil hordes. In round two, they face off against an evil robot called Ultron.

This sets us up for plenty of leadership lessons and quotes from the Avengers. Let’s dig in!

1. Steve  Rogers/Captain America:

Language…

Tony Stark/Iron Man dropped a four letter word and we hear Captain America respond with a one-liner of “Language…”

Captain America was old-fashioned and felt dropping curse words was rude and he called Tony on it.

This reminds me of a recent post by Michael Hyatt. He ponders how much business profanity has cost you. And I agree.

Profanity isn’t pretty. It distracts from your core message. And it’s offensive.

Try to keep things clean.

2. When you try to help, your help may not be welcome: While the Avengers are fighting off a threat, they realize the city they’re fighting in is in danger. Tony Stark makes the call and sends in, what he calls, his Iron Legion of robot defenders to protect the citizens.

Their reaction was not what he expected.

The people of the city attacked the robots. They told them to go away. They even damaged some of them.

Have you ever found yourself in a similar situation? Okay, I know you probably have never found yourself in a situation like Tony Stark found himself in here but I’m pretty sure you’ve tried to help someone and found that your help wasn’t wanted.

That’s a fact of life, and leadership.

You’re going to want to help people. They’re not always going to want your help.

3. Bruce Banner/The Incredible Hulk: 

Sometimes exactly what I want to hear is exactly what I don’t want to hear

There are things we know we need to hear but don’t want to hear those words. That’s what Bruce Banner was feeling here.

He knew he needed to hear certain words but they stung and he didn’t want to them to be spoken.

You will hear words that will sting you. They will prick your soul. You won’t want to hear them. But you better listen. Those words are meant for you.

4. Get excited over cool things: After raiding a secret Hydra safe house, Tony Stark explores the building and finds a secret door. He lets out a gasp of excitement and geeks out.

Tony, the man who built Iron man, got excited over a hidden door. He knew life needs joy and happiness and he expressed it in this scene.

How often do we ignore the cool things in life because of the urgency of work or the fast pace of life? More often than we should.

Seek out the cool things in life. When you find one, make it known.

5. Thor:

Victory should be honored with revels

 The Avengers had a small victory in destroying the Hydra safe house they found. They were also able to take away vital intelligence.

Sounds like a reason to celebrate to me. It did to Thor as well.

When you have victories in your organization, don’t hesitate to celebrate a bit. You’ve got to let loose once in awhile.

6. We hide when we know we’re doing wrong: Tony Stark brings in Bruce Banner and asks him to help create artificial intelligence. He also asks Bruce to keep the other members of the Avengers in the dark.

Stark knew what he was doing was dangerous. Stupid even… And that’s why he kept others in the dark.

He hid what was going on because he knew he was wrong.

Take notice of when you’re trying to hide your actions. This is typically a sign that you’re headed in the wrong direction.

7. Tony Stark/Iron Man:

Our job is IF

While this quote is referencing what I said we shouldn’t do in lesson #5, I think the quote is still valuable. Tony Stark saw his job as creating the IFs in life.

As leaders, shouldn’t that be our goal as well? See what IFs you can push for in your organization..

What IF we gain 100 new church members?

What IF we help struggling single mothers like Around Grace’s Table (If you can, go support them, they’re doing great work)?

What IF we helped young men and women gain new skills that will increase their value?

The IFs are what we should be all about.

8. Our story is important: We learn the backstory to Pietro Maximoff/Quicksilver and Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch when Pietro begins to tell their story. He tells of how their parents were killed and a bomb with Stark’s name landed next to them.

Their story drove them to side with Hydra and Ultron. Their story matters.

Your story matters too. Your story has value and power.

Tell it.

9. Ultron:

Down in the real world you have to make ugly choices

Ultron was the bad guy, the villain, the one who wanted to destroy the world. And yet he laid out an amazing leadership quote.

In the decision making process, we forget the world isn’t perfect. There’s consequences to our choices and sometimes those consequences are ugly.

Be prepared to make decisions others will not like.

10. We think we’re stronger than we are: The Scarlet Witch has a sweet superpower. She can manipulate minds and make people see things that are not there.

In one battle, Scarlet Witch goes from Avenger to Avenger and distorts their minds. She makes them see things not as they are but as their fears.

After she touches Thor, he proudly proclaims that he is stronger than her. What he didn’t realize was that even he was affected by her touch.

You’re tough. I’ll give you that. Though sometimes we think we’re stronger than we are.

We have to be careful we don’t fall into the trap of prideful thinking when it comes to strength. Know your limitations.

11. Ultron:

I know you meant well but you didn’t think it through

Tony Stark truly meant well when he began the process of creating Ultron. He thought Ultron could protect the world and the Avengers would no longer be needed.

He was wrong. He was hasty. He didn’t think it through and mass destruction was wrought.

You’ll have many decisions to make in your position as a leader. Sometimes those decisions will have to be made quickly and others will allow you breathing room.

Even in the times when decisions have to be made quickly, think through the choice and see where the actions could lead to. You may avert an unforeseen crisis.

12. Have a backup plan: The Scarlet Witch was able to touch the Hulk and unleash his rage. He goes on a rampage and begins attacking the city they were trying to protect.

Tony Stark knows this is trouble but he had a backup plan… He knew he had to call on Veronica.

Things will go wrong at one point or another in your organization. Be prepared. Think of a contingency plan and have one ready in case you need it.

13. Clint Barton/Hawkeye:

Someone’s going to have to teach those punks manners

Not everyone you meet will be pleasant to deal with. They’ll lack couth or manners.

You might not be able to teach them the proper way to act but you can at least try to guide them in the right direction.

14. Mind games screws with people: Mind games is Scarlet Witch’s specialty. As you have seen or read, she’s able to alter a person’s thinking and drive them mad.

Her powers left those she touched damaged and wounded.

As leaders, we have the ability to play mind games with our team. But we know good leaders don’t do this.

Mind games only hurt those we’re trying to lead.

15. Laura Barton/Hawkeye’s Wife:

You’ve got to make sure this team is really a team and they’ve got your back.

Laura knew a team that wasn’t cohesive was dangerous. They’re a time bomb waiting to explode.

That’s why you have to be cautious as well with teams. You have to get people on the same page and keep them there.

A team that doesn’t want to be together is worth less than no team at all.

16. Answers may not be where you’re at: After Scarlet Witch messed with Thor’s mind, he needed answers. He knew they weren’t in the battle and he had to go somewhere else to get them.

You’ll have questions that need answers. Many times they won’t be where you’re at. You’ll need to go somewhere to find them.

Whether that’s a retreat, to a mentor, or in a book you need to seek out answers.

17. Embrace who you are: Tony’s talking to Bruce after they’ve recovered the body Ultron was trying to build. Tony has another crazy idea to put Jarvis into the body.

Most of the Avengers thinks he’s crazy. And he is.

Tony admits to Bruce that they’re mad scientists. Their line of thinking isn’t always rational but they have to embrace it.

You have unique talents and skills. You may not want to admit to them but you have them. Embrace who you are.

18. Sometimes you have nothing to offer: After the battles, the Avengers feel like they have nothing to offer. They even say as much.

And sometimes you’ll find yourself in that position. You’ve expended a great deal of energy and you’re wasted. You can’t give anymore.

It’s okay to take a breather. Get yourself together so you can get back out there and help others.

19. Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow:

Now, go be a hero

Natasha tells this to Bruce Banner after he’s transformed into the Hulk. She knows he’s a hero so she gives her words of affirmation to him.

When’s the last time you encouraged someone with your words? Your words have power and you should speak positively towards those you’re leading.

You can encourage them to greatness.

20. Teams may fight and disagree: Things got quite ugly in the Avengers team. When Tony wanted to continue working on implanting Jarvis into Ultron’s body, there were disagreements and fights.

The team didn’t agree with what Tony wanted to do. And they had good reason.

Even after the fight, the team was able to come back together and fight as a team.

When you have disagreements in your team (or your marriage), don’t think it’s the end. It’s the nature of relationships.

We’ll disagree but we can move past those disagreements. Great teams know how to stick it through the tough times.

21. Tony Stark/Iron Man:

We can do our best to protect them

Ultron lifted a city off the ground and placed hundreds, maybe thousands, of lives in danger. Tony knew things were dangerous but he knew the Avengers could protect people and that’s what he told the team.

You can protect the team you lead as well.

Take the blame when it’s acceptable. Take pay cuts before you ask your team to do so. Take time off so others can work.

You can do small things to protect others. Do them.

22. Steve Rogers/Captain America:

This is what S.H.I.E.L.D. is supposed to be

The world thought S.H.I.E.L.D. was a shell of it’s former self. And it was but S.H.I.E.L.D. still had a cohesive team.

This is what Steve Rogers saw when he said this line.

Sometimes our organizations change and they’re no longer seen in the same light. This doesn’t mean our organization can’t come back.

You can guide your organization back to it’s greatness. You don’t have to give up.

23. Teamwork saves the day: Ultron was a force to be reckoned with. But like every great villain, the villain will fall. And so he did when the Avengers teamed up and fought back.

They were able to defeat Ultron by combining their strengths and tag-teaming Ultron.

Get your team to work together and they can do amazing things.

24. We have to make difficult choices: By the end of the movie we know Bruce Banner and Natasha Romanoff had a thing for each other. But Bruce Banner had a dangerous temper that could hurt Natasha.

So, he made a difficult choice to leave. He knew it would hurt him and he knew it would hurt her but it had to be done.

Our choices won’t feel good all the time. In fact, they’ll hurt.

But leaders make choices. So make a choice.

Man, those are some leadership lessons, huh? The Avengers: Age Of Ultron delivered with action and story and leadership lessons.

Question: Have you seen Avengers: Age Of Ultron? What leadership lessons did you see in the movie? Please share them in the comment section below.

This post was part of a crossover blog series titled Reel Leadership. I’ve joined forces with superhero bloggers and podcasters to bring you even more leadership lessons from movies this summer. The next installment will be by blogger Paul Sohn and podcaster Jeff Brown.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.