The world seems a little obsessed with superheroes at the moment. Take the incredible success of the film Avengers: Endgame, which was released in April this year. The movie featured everyone’s favourite superheroes – from Iron Man and Thor to Black Widow and Spiderman – working together to overcome the bad guy and save the universe. To put the success of the eagerly awaited film in context, it amassed $853 million at the US box office, making it the second-highest grossing movie in North America.
Why am I talking about movies? Because I believe that leaders can learn a thing or two from the superheroes we all love to watch on the big screen. For me, the true power of leadership isn’t so much about what you’ve done for other people; it’s about what you’ve done with other people.
Which brings me back to Avengers: Endgame. All of the superheroes in this film are strong and powerful in their own right but when they’re working together – with each other – they have the most tangible success. For true leaders, your best superpower is the relationship you have with your team. As a leader, I need to believe in you and you also need to believe in me.
How does one create this level of trust and understanding? It takes time and effort and a daily commitment to the “with” of leadership. For me, the true evidence of a leaders power comes on days when you’re not around. If they’re successfully focussed on the “with”, everything won’t fall apart if you aren’t there to watch over things because you and your team have always been working together.
In line with this, successful leaders can’t be selfish or self-serving. Imagine what might have happened if any of the Avengers characters had tried outshine the others? Or tried to take all the credit for saving the universe? I doubt that would have gone down too well with the rest of the superhero team.
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