Leadership lessons from supervillains
What's the matter with you? I think your brain is going soft.” – Vito Corleone
This quote may be one of the most iconic quotes from the film Godfather, but it is also one of the most significant sentiments on leadership featured in the movie as well. The message behind this quote is a simple one: you need to hold people accountable.
No, we are not implying that you have to be rude to your employees to showcase your leadership. However, there is one thing that a notorious Mexican drug baron, a psychopath joker with a sadistic sense of humor, a “He who not must be named” wizard can teach us—Leadership!
Here is a list of the most popular super-villains (and we still love them) and the leadership lessons from them:
Joker from Batman
Either you are entering new fields or expanding your current capabilities, there should always be a drive to make it feel cohesive. Your duty as a leader is to be the linchpin for your employees and to show them how two seemingly different ends of the business can work in harmony.
The Joker perfectly demonstrated this characteristic as he always managed to tie various enterprises together in one diligent branded effort. From simple robbery and pyromania to more complex ventures such as poisoning the population of Gotham with laughing gas from parade balloons, it all ties together neatly with him.
Don Vito Corleone from Godfather
Don Vito Corleone was visited by his godson and snger, Johnny Fontane. He asked for Vito's help to secure a film role that would boost his dwindling career. The head of the film studio had previously refused to give Fontane the part, but Don Corleone stood by his side. His words to Johnny were - "Act like a man. I'll make him an n offer he can't refuse."
Leaders negotiate with confidence. They make their most reliable and best offer in the worst times. They have deep human insight. They already know what rivals are looking for, and hence can put their best foot forward.
Voldemort from Harry Potter
Undoubtedly, he was one of the best wizards. He committed dozens of heinous magical crimes, orchestrated the assassination of major players in the wizard community and invaded and toppled the Ministry of Magic. Voldemort became the de facto president practically overnight.
In Voldemort’s case, his organization lacked employee retention plan. He managed his followers through fear-mongering and intimidation and honestly expected them to want to stay based solely on his intimidation factor. Hence, his organization fell apart once the going got tough. When Voldemort faced off against Harry Potter, his followers fled when the course turned against them.
Leading through fear and cruelty can get fast results, but it kills any chance to build or strengthen relationships with employees.
Darth Vader from Star Wars
"You may dispense with the pleasantries, commander. I am here to put you back on schedule.”
Although usually perceived as the ultimate villain, Darth Vader was stringent and stern but fair. The main virtue he sought in the members of his team was the ability to contribute to the ongoing projects and always to keep a level of high-quality work. Indeed, he did criticize those who were not performing well, but he also praised and rewarded those who excelled. In this sense, Lord Vader had a perfect grasp on team management and continuously keep an eye on and evaluated the performance of those around him, taking the necessary measures to improve teamwork when necessary.
Thanos from Marvel
A scene from the movie shows a very human side of Thanos. The dark lord spoke to Tony Stark and said that he respects him and wishes that Humans would also remember him for the same. It takes a lot of efforts and self-awareness to acknowledge and respect an opponent. Appreciating your people is one skill that every leader should have.