Leadership Lessons from Marvel’s Agents of Shield

Posted by Paradigm Learning on March 12, 2015

Leadership: the act of leading a group of people, or an organization. You can develop the most skilled leaders in the world, but if they can’t take action to become an effective, resilient, and trusted leader, they won’t make it in this man-eating business world.

Let’s relate it back to a popular TV program, Marvel’s Agents of Shield. Shield’s Director, Agent Coulson recently had his leadership tested—did he prove to be an effective, resilient, and trusted leader? Let’s see…

1. Leaders need to be effective

In last week’s episode, the entire team is reeling from the loss of Agent Triplett, including Coulson. Near the beginning of the episode, the team dissolves into a shouting match—some defending Coulson, other’s criticizing him—that ends with Coulson shouting “Enough!” This is an example of what not to aspire to as a leader. Leaders in business must keep their cool in grief-filled situations, and they must manage their teams better. Otherwise, they are not leading effectively.

2. Leaders need to be resilient

Coulson actually shows a great amount of resilience when it comes to the losses Shield has overcome—Agent Triplett’s death is a huge hit to the team, but Coulson shows that his first duty is to keep the team on track.

A leader’s resilience to unforeseen circumstances gives employees a reason to follow. Yes, Coulson could have managed the shouting match better, but in the end Coulson’s strength is his ability to keep the mission in sight. Leaders in the business world may lose a great employee, but if they cannot keep a project in scope because of that loss, their employees’ perception of them could be as a weak leader and one who cannot manage a team or a project.

3. Leaders need to be trusted

Coulson’s go to phrase for leading is “It’s classified.” In the world of secret agents, this might be acceptable, but in the world of business, leaders need to be honest with their employees, otherwise their employees will not be honest with them.

In this week’s episode, the conspiracy between Bobbi Morse and Mac went deeper. Viewers can only wonder why they want ex-Director Fury’s box. Obviously, though, Bobbi and Mac don’t trust Coulson.

It is always the leader’s responsibility to give the perception that they can be trusted—employees will not follow if they don’t know where they’re going.

Remember, effective leadership starts with the right mindset, and with this mindset comes several accountabilities. One accountability all great leaders need is to take action to become an effective, resilient, and trusted leader. We can see Agent 

Topics: Leadership Development