Management Tips

{Guest Post} What can the Avengers teach us about leadership?

Today is a banner day for theviewfromhere. We have our very first guest post. We all have one at one point or another. Do you remember your first? Well, anyway, let’s get the show on the road.

Today’s post comes from Erin Palmer. Erin is a writer and editor for Bisk Education at Villanova University. Her writing covers topics such as PMP prep course information which prepares students interested in the field of project management to enter the workforce. Through the University Alliance, Erin writes articles to help students gain a certificate in project management. You can reach Erin via twitter at @Erin_E_Palmer 

What can the Avengers teach us about leadership?

Have you ever wondered what you would do with superpowers? It is fun to imagine what sort of good we could do if we were suddenly bit by a radioactive spider or struck by a science experiment gone awry. However, superheroes aren’t heroes by virtue of their powers alone. It’s how they handle their gifts that make them truly special.

Aside from the good looks and cool powers, the Avengers can depart valuable lessons about leadership. Each character has strengths and weaknesses just like anyone else. They have to make important decisions knowing that the fate of other people rests on their ability to make the right choices. Superheroes might have an edge due to their superpowers, but what makes the Avengers a great example of leadership is actually their human side.

Loyalty

Captain America’s great leadership is not due to his super soldier skills. Though the ability to beat down the bad guys is impressive, his real strength comes from how much he cares about his country. His loyalty drives him to be better and give his all every time. That sort of commitment to the people he fights for inspires others to work harder as well.

Any leader can benefit from loyalty. Being loyal to your team will foster trust. If your team feels like you could turn on them at any minute, they will constantly be on edge. Having a team that knows that you support them will make it easier for them to come together and get the job done. A loyal leader creates a loyal team.

Forward-Thinking

Here’s a fun fact about Iron Man: he doesn’t actually have a superpower. His special abilities come from the powered suit that he created in order to save his own life. He later begins using his suit and other technological creations to stop villains and save innocent people. Though the suit is impressive, it is his brain that really deserves the credit. His true strength lies in his creativity and innovation.

The best leaders are never satisfied with mediocrity. If you only focus on the present, there is a good chance that it will catch up with you eventually. The business world doesn’t stay still for long. Keeping your management style and business decisions stagnant can be detrimental as the industry continues to evolve around you. Keep your eyes on the horizon and encourage your team to do the same.

Anger Management

The image that most often come to mind when you think of The Hulk is probably that of him going green, gaining muscle and ripping through his clothes. Superhuman strength is all well and good, but The Hulk’s powers are more of a burden than a blessing. He regularly loses control of himself and his actions. Though his strength can help do good deeds, it can also lead to total mayhem.

Restraint is a huge part of being a good leader. You don’t have to completely suppress your emotions, but you can’t let them totally take over either. If you go into a screaming rage every time things don’t go your way, your team will lose respect for you. It’s hard to work with someone that would rather scream at you than talk with you. When challenges come up, channel your anger into productivity. Figure out what went wrong and how you can fix it. Ultimately, solving the problem will make you feel better than losing your cool.

Ability to make tough decisions

Thor is most known for being the god of thunder and carrying a gigantic hammer. You might think as a god, he has it the easiest. However, Thor actually has to face the most difficult decisions of all the Avengers. Thor not only has to fight for a planet that is not his own, but he also has to help bring down his own brother. Fighting a super villain is hard enough, but fighting a super villain that you grew up alongside is especially taxing. Thor has to do the right thing even though it is difficult.

Leaders will face all sorts of difficulties. It isn’t always going to be easy to decide the best course of action, but it is a part of the job. Things like knowing when you have to let an employee go can be tough even when you know they are necessary. Leadership is about doing what has to be done, and unfortunately, it might not always please every single person. A leader has to do what’s best for the entire team, even if it is challenging.

Keep egos in check

One of the most noteworthy things about the Avengers is that it isn’t just one superhero; it is a whole team of them. In theory, having a team full of leaders should be wonderful. If one leader is awesome, shouldn’t a group of leaders be all the more awesome? Unfortunately, putting a bunch of superheroes on one team can be complicated. Not only are they battling the super villain, but they are also fighting against one another’s egos.

When leaders work together, it is easy to fall into a too many cooks in the kitchen situation. Check your ego at the door and focus on the most important thing… the work at hand. Having the last word each time doesn’t make you the strongest. Working alongside other leaders can make you better. You’ll get the opportunity to learn new techniques and benefit from bouncing around ideas with people that think differently than yourself. You don’t need a fancy weapon or a spandex ensemble to be an amazing leader. You already have the power to lead your team to success.

Thank you Erin for your thoughts on leadership and management. We wish you the best of luck with the future of your program.

So, folks, how do you feel about keeping those ego’s in check? Is it important to ensure you can work in a collaborative environment? Let us know your thoughts about dealing with those super-hero egos in your life.

 

 

 

 

 

About this Author: Ralph Dopping (199 Posts)

A quirky sense-o-humour coupled with an indelible sense of stylish sarcasm makes it difficult to take the world too seriously doesn't it? My faves: fun, passion and hard work. I work here everyday: www.designdialog.ca


34 comments
KDillabough
KDillabough

When self-importance becomes more important than the task at hand, the person you're interacting with or the journey you're on, then so much of life's richness and opportunity is missed. I call it the spotlight syndrome. When someone desires or demands to be all-that-and-a-bag-of-chips, it usually comes from a place of lack of self-confidence...or B.S. and bravado. In either case, when I encounter a giant-sized ego, I just smile and let the blowhardedness and tomfoolery go on for a bit, then exist stage left.I'm with Mark: servant leadership. Work to serve, not to brag. Great post Erin. Cheers! Kaarina

J.D. Meier
J.D. Meier

Beautiful.

 

I've long been a fan of the Avengers and the Super Friends.

 

Great things happen when you have a coalition of the right people working on the right things to make things happen aligned with a compelling vision.

Late_Bloomers
Late_Bloomers

What a wonderful post, Erin, and congrats, Ralph, on a fine first!

 

I am not too familiar with the Avengers but watched some episodes when my daughter was young. They seem to be like what fairy tales were in older days = metaphors and role models.

 

I love the analogy and I am particularly intrigues with the Hulk and anger management. Like Jack said "Anger can be a very effective tool. If you know how to channel it there is a lot of motivation and energy that comes with it", however, I was brought up to keep my anger checked and I am working hard on it - so watch out!

Vidya Sury
Vidya Sury

Great lessons! I love analogies and lessons from our favorite superheros. I personally loved Superman and Spiderman (the animated version). Oh, wouldn't I love to have some superpowers - I would go around eliminating hunger and poverty. Lofty goals I know - but I am doing my bit as a human, a few people at a time. I would also like to erase hate.

 

Valuable lessons, these, Erin. And I am fully with you on the team work. United we stand! Thanks for a wonderful read.

 

Congratulations, Ralph, on your first guest post. I know the feeling. Mine was a couple of weeks ago by a dear friend. :-)

Mark_Harai
Mark_Harai

Spandex - YIKES!

 

Ego's are a trip, especially those that are out of control. 

 

I've always subscribed to 'servant leadership'. It has always been very effective for me in many different settings in life, and in business this mindset has enabled me to bring leaders/ ego's together to get things done.

 

Cheers to you Ralph!

 

 

 

 

AdrienneSmith
AdrienneSmith

I plead the fifth...  I've never seen the Avengers and in all honesty didn't even know what they are.  The only one I knew from that bunch was The Hulk.  But having seen a few superheros in my time I think I could still relate.  I'm not that old, yet!!!

 

I have to also agree with Hajra because to me, none of us can really go this alone.  We all need to work together and I think the more skills each leader brings to the plate the more information we'll all benefit from that.  Hopefully since they all carry different talents their egos will remain in check.  

 

Great spin on this Erin and I was happy that I stopped by on Ralph's first guest post.  What a cool celebration.

 

You guys enjoy your week.

 

~Adrienne

bdorman264
bdorman264

I would be Superman; flying and X-ray vision, yep, that about covers it.........:).

 

Some leaders, especially with Type A personalities don't do well keeping the ego in check. However, you have to have a certain amount of ego and confidence to be effective though. Finding the right balance and working together is key.

 

Great story to get your point across.

Hajra
Hajra

I loved this! Just as much as I loved Avengers! Maybe even more! :)

 

You picked out the lessons really well. What Avengers really teaches us is that no matter how super you are, unless you have your team by your side, you really can't fight the bad guys! Team work is important and probably one of the most important things we need to understand. 

 

As for ego's; sometimes you need to be like the Iron Man; he is super awesome in the suit; but he is just as successful without it! 

rdopping
rdopping moderator

 Thanks @KDillabough for coming by. I always appreciate your insights. Totally agree on the bag-of-chips. Not something that has any likability to it at all.

 

Erin certainly did a great job and I am so happy she offered her thoughts here. Stay cool and hope to see you soon.

rdopping
rdopping moderator

Thank you  @J.D. Meier for stopping by. Totally on the same page with you, sir. The right people, alignment and purpose and away you go. 

 

Have a great day. Hope to see you again soon.

rdopping
rdopping moderator

Thanks  @Late_Bloomers  for stopping in. As always, love to see you here. Yes, and thanks to Erin for the great piece. She knocked it out of the park for sure.

 

There seems to be a lot about anger management here. I have always seen anger as a loss of control however I am not saying that it is right to overtly control it as anger is an emotion and we are best not to stifle those. I suppose when channeled correctly it certainly can be an effective punctuation to an issue.

 

We will definitely look out!

Erin_E_Palmer
Erin_E_Palmer

 @Vidya Sury Thank you, Vidya! My husband has a life-sized Spiderman statue in our house. I am familiar with the devotion of Spiderman fans!

 

I would love to be able to help people too... and I'd love to fly, but who wouldn't?

rdopping
rdopping moderator

Thanks  @Vidya Sury  for stopping by. Appreciated. I am sure Erin will pop by to comment in good time. Yes, great to have a guest post and i am glad it generated some discourse. That's is such a great thing. Now I just need to live up to Erin's fantastic entry. Up the game and raise the bar. Love that too!

 

Always appreciate your comments and those are lofty goals you have but very, very good ones. I wish you the best in your pursuits and am right there with you in the attitudes you display. Cheers!

rdopping
rdopping moderator

 @Mark_Harai Thanks Mark and thanks for subscribing. I have big shoes to fill. I have heard a little about servant leadership but don't know a ton about it. My sense is that the leadership is in place to ensure the team is successful; without ego and relying on a humble and solution oriented attitude. Close?

 

That is, in a way, the way I approach my leadership role.

rdopping
rdopping moderator

 @AdrienneSmith Yes, she did a great job. Agreed on the team work approach. Personally, that was the hook for me on this piece so I am glad it is finding some like-minded attitudes.

 

Thank so much for stopping by. I am prodding Erin to stop in to leave her own thoughts on the comments too.

Erin_E_Palmer
Erin_E_Palmer

 @bdorman264 What about the ice breath? You'd never burn your tongue on food again!

 

I am one of seven kids, so keeping my ego in check was practically instilled in me at birth. I would agree that the right amount of ego is not a bad thing.

rdopping
rdopping moderator

 @bdorman264 Thanks I finally found the right mix. Not me......;-) 

 

You make a good point but maybe instead of ego you lean a little more toward confidence. You can have a ton of confidence without too much ego. Some ego can be fun for laughs as long as it is not easily bruised. I wonder what @Kaarina Dillabough will say to your "balance" comment. I happen to agree that unity and commonality in your goals certainly helps the team and leadership succeed.

 

Always appreciate your comments, sir.

Erin_E_Palmer
Erin_E_Palmer

 @Hajra I really appreciate your comment, Hajra. Maybe I can team up with Joss Whedon for the sequel!

rdopping
rdopping moderator

 @Hajra  You have to give Erin all the credit for this piece. All her!

 

Personally, I like the Iron Man analogy too. His character, while full of bravado and ego can still see the value of team work "on and off the court" or in and out of the suit. Its was great to get this opportunity with Erin and as I can see there has been great feedback so far.

 

Thanks a bunch for dropping in and sharing your thoughts.

Erin_E_Palmer
Erin_E_Palmer

 @Jill Tooley Thanks, Jill! I totally agree with your Iron Man comments. It is much harder to work towards something. Props to Iron Man!

rdopping
rdopping moderator

 @Mark_Harai Yeah, whoot, whoot for Erin. Great post and we were very glad to have her here.

Erin_E_Palmer
Erin_E_Palmer

 @rdopping Sorry to be late to the party here! Honestly, teamwork is one of the best ways to control egos. Getting past the "one-upper" mentality allows a person to see how much better things can be when we help each other.

Hajra
Hajra

 @rdopping I like the Iron Man analogy too. But my favorite remains Hulk. He really can be super anytime he wants. Thor needs his hammer, Captain America needs his shield, Iron Man "may" run out of power and he needs his suit. Hawkeye needs his bow and arrow. But all the hulk needs is his anger. That's it. And it is something he can tottaly control. And he is the most "destructive"! :)

rdopping
rdopping moderator

 @Erin_E_Palmer It's been a pleasure having you and thank YOU for the great piece. I wish you best of luck and feel free to drop by anytime.

TheJackB
TheJackB

 @rdopping @Hajra  Anger can be a very effective tool. If you know how to channel it there is a lot of motivation and energy that comes with it.

Hajra
Hajra

 @rdopping Yup, there is. Maybe, anger can be so destructive. And you have to control it if you need to get your work done peacefully. :) 

rdopping
rdopping moderator

 @Hajra  Too funny. If we all could control anger in the same way. There's a good lesson in there somewhere too, huh?

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