A Leader Lesson From The Movie Black Panther
It’s Hard For A Good Man To Be King: Sticking To Your Values In Times of Turmoil
I recently saw the movie, The Black Panther for the fourth time. It is an awesome. There is action, romance, and sci-fi thrills all wrapped in one. I highly recommend it
- [I know… LOL… You have probably already seen it ].
When I look at it, I view it from a leadership prism. Why? Because that is just what I do. I am here to tell you that there are many lessons to be learned. The next time you see it, look for the leadership lessons to be learned. You will be amazed at what you will find!
There is one line from the Black Panther’s father that I want to focus on today. It just sticks with me and admittedly kinda haunts me a little bit. Father said to son, “You are a good man. It is hard for a good man to be king.”
This line immediately grabbed me! My inner voice said, “Ain’t that the truth.” As a leadership coach, it may not be the wisest thing for me to write, but my 25+ years of experience as a human resources leader and coach points me to this undeniable truth.
This does not mean there are no good leaders. It certainly does not mean that there are no good men and women in leadership. I have personally worked for and coached some really awesome people. Yet, the fact still remains, many well intended leaders fall into the trappings associated with their roles
- money, power, politics, control, recognition, pressure to succeed quickly and pandering followers inside and outside of the workplace lead to some questionable behaviors.
Let me lay out a scenario (for illustrative purposes only). You are a new leader in an organization. You have been brought in to help support the transformation. You come in and take 100 days just to listen and observe. You gather input and ideas that reinforce some and test other assumptions that you had when you walked in the door. You worked with your team to build a new vision, mission, and set of guiding principles that will guide your decisions. You espouse values such as respect, trust, integrity, and people development. It’s really more than words to you. There is even a cautious excitement from the team.
Then it happens
- the inevitable. You begin to make changes. Now the change curve is set in motion. There are questions, resistance, confusion, and even down right sabotage. There are some employees that are genuinely excited and view you as the change they have been waiting for… Many members of the team see you as out of touch, disrespectful of the culture and everything that have built. Other members of the team just know they can’t cut it in the new environment. They have been coasting for years and now you come in with fancy presentations and rhetoric about team work, growth, and accountability.
Some of the power brokers (that were there before you and plan to be there after you), begin to plot against you. I’ve even seen conspiracies and lies pop up about leaders. One of the most ethical leaders I have ever seen was accused of theft and fraud (He was later cleared after an outside audit that he demanded).
You can see that many of the employees in key roles lack the skills required to effectively execute the transformation. But, everyone loves them and they are stewards of office moral and culture. Some of them you really like. While some are actually active players in the rebellion. Oh yeah, some of the mediocre performers are even demanding raises.
As with most transformations, time is of the essence. Your superiors want to see results. You know a true turnaround is 15-18 months away.
Now, you are tired (working 15 hour days); possibly paranoid and not quite sure who to trust. The organization announces budget cuts and layoffs. You could make the budget work without layoffs. But, it sure would be more expeditious to get rid of some of these folks. You say to yourself, “I could really use the budget to accelerate investments in processes and technology and upgrade talent in key places.”
What do you do as a leader? Do you stick to your strategic 18 month roadmap? Do you set stretch goals with your team and put in the time and energy to coach, provide feedback, and develop employees even though they may lack the will to be successful? Do you give everyone every opportunity to be successful?
If your values are respect, trust, integrity, and people development
- What do you do?
What would the Black Panther do?
If you want to learn more about how I support leaders facing this dilemma or are interested in a complimentary power coaching session, please give me a call at 1-866-434-0825 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Marvin Chambers Coaching is a Built to Last Solutions Company