The movie Blank Panther was an absolute masterpiece. A lesson on leadership, a showcase of artistry, culture, and different types of leadership styles – below are four leadership lessons from the movie.
1. Never underestimate the power of constant improvement in leadership.
T-Challa’s little sister, Shuri, had foresight and ingenuity in the redesign of T’Challa’s body suit. In her mind, the old one worked great but “Just because something works, doesn’t mean it can’t be improved”. In leadership, sometimes we get caught in the rhythm of a well-oiled machine without realizing that there may be a way to do things better. Constant improvement does not mean chasing the next best thing. It means doing more of what already works. It means improving each task by just 1% each time and doing fewer things incorrectly. It means focusing on efficiency and excellence while striving to perform at a higher level. As leaders, the quest for constant improvement should always be in the forefront, it is how we stay ahead of curve and guarantee business continuity and growth.
2. “The wise build bridges while the foolish build barriers,”
In life and in business, you will encounter people whose opinions differ, vastly, from your own. You may not understand how they do things and may not agree with their behavior. It is during these times that it may be tempting to build a wall. Instead, consider that it takes as much time to build a bridge as it does to build the wall. Have enough humility to reach out or make the first move, listen to the other person’s perspective, and commit to understanding their viewpoint. See what you can learn from the other person, even if you do not agree.
3. Build your legacy and prepare your team to excel without you.
T’Challa’s father T’Chaka eloquently proclaimed, “A man who has not prepared his children for his death has failed as a father”. One sign of great leadership is indicated, in part; by how your team behaves and performs when you are not there. As leaders it is important for us to ensure that we are mentoring future leaders along the way along with helping them develop the right skills to handle things, seamlessly, without us. Teaching our team skills, such as, decision making, strategy, how to provide excellent customer support, what to measure, and the behaviors required to grow revenue are critical in preparing the next generation of leaders for success.
4. “You’re going to struggle so surround yourself with people you trust”, T’Chaka.
Most people think of trust as reliability, strength, and ability. They must be earned through a person’s action and intent. Surround yourself with people who demonstrate strength in character, who take criticism well, and are not afraid of making tough decisions. Is the person you are considering as your right hand credible – are they consistent and reliable? Do they have a good track record? Do they do what they say they will do? Do they have integrity, sincerity, and are they be honest? The ability to share credit, give straight answers, and embrace the opportunity to learn or teach are some of the fundamentals of trust. Surround yourself with people who exert influence and have the courage to stand up for what they believe in. People who get the job done and make sure that they become experts in their areas of responsibility. These people are your tribe.