4 Leadership Lessons from Captain AmericaLeadership / August 20, 2018
For more than 60 years, Captain America was one of Marvel Comics’ flagship characters, representing truth, strength, liberty, and justice.
Captain America, aka Steve Rogers, was a squirt from Brooklyn who just wanted to lend a hand against the Nazis. He never intended on being the best, just aimed at being able to do his part.
He had the guts and the passion to do what other big and strong guys did not, and so was chosen to be the test subject to become the first super soldier. The only thing experiment did was to make his exterior match his interior.
Captain America is a hero and not merely heroic. Even after gaining super strength, super speed, and super immunity he stuck to his values. He empowered his team in times of difficulties, miscommunications and looked forward to making an impact.
Among The Avengers, he’s the one who goes around with the police and helps get people to safety. While Iron Man, Thor, and the Hulk break, smash and blow stuff up, Cap’s the one on the ground making sure there are no casualties. It’s the thankless role, but he does it and that’s why he’s the leader.
Now, why does he do and feel these things? Is it because he’s from an older, simpler time?
Steve believes in what’s right and will fight to the death to make his dream a reality. He believes in life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for every person throughout the world (unless you’re a Hydra or a Super Villain, then he has a few things to say to you).
Yes, he’s a superhero but it’s his human qualities that make him great.
Here are 4 leadership lessons we can learn from Captain America.
1. STEVE HAS STRONG VALUES, WHICH HE’LL DEFEND NO MATTER WHAT
One of the best things about Steve Rogers is his moral code. He has integrity and strong convictions, and he doesn’t compromise them.
Having integrity sounds like a boring personality trait for a movie character, but it’s exactly what draws other characters to him and inspires them to follow his lead. He never made excuses or complained when he was weak, and he always stood up because of his moral beliefs, and those beliefs kept him going.
He had the guts and courage to stand amidst the odds and decide what’s best for his team. His convictions about freedom and justice help guide his decision-making and provide direction for his leadership.
How you can be like Steve:
Having integrity as a leader builds trust between you and your team. Interact and communicate honestly with your team members, even in difficult situations. If you have a vision for your team or organization, share it with them and make sure that your words and actions are in line with your vision.
2. HE EMPOWERS THROUGH ACTIONS, NOT JUST THROUGH WORDS
Leaders are often accused of talking but not doing. But the best way to empower your team is for you to do what you’re asking them to do.
That’s not to say that Cap never used a good rousing speech to fire up the team. You can use words to empower, but follow it up with action to show that you mean it.
Steve saw potential in Black Widow from the day he met her. Even though she came to the U.S. as a Russian spy, she deflected to team up with Hawkeye. Cap saw the greatness inside of her and supported her when she applied to join the Avengers, where she became a critical team member and they have been thick as thieves ever since.
How you can be like Steve:
Walk your talk. If you’re already shared your vision and goals with your team, then lead by example and act in ways that push you towards that vision.
The best leaders lead from the front and what they do empowers their team. If you show your passion for a project, that energy will transfer itself to your teammates. Get to know them.
Learn what motivates them, what their strengths are, and what makes them happy at work. The key is to grow with them, every step of the way.
3. HE BELIEVES IN TAKING RESPONSIBILITY AND HIS ABILITY TO MAKE CHANGE.
Regardless of how Cap may feel about political issues, he makes it clear that he does not, and will not, serve the demands of the government. Rather he’s interested in serving the people and the nation’s dream.
He has is own principles of justice, ideals, and morals from which his beliefs are unshakable. He will not compromise anything he believes in.
He enforces this time and again he’s not interested in signing over their ability to help people according to the needs of the society. He will stand up to anything and everything for the sake of protecting people.
Steve fights for what he believes is right and wants to help the world find peace. This makes Steve a hero through decades of change and turmoil. He can’t and won’t be bought, and he most certainly won’t be bullied by anyone or pushed around, especially for false gains.
Cap will always fight for the little guy because he was the little guy, and he understands what it’s like to feel helpless.
How you can be like Steve
Don’t be a leader who shifts the blame or avoids responsibility. If you’ve made a decision and it turned out to be a wrong one, acknowledge your mistake and learn from it. Use your experience and best judgment to make difficult decisions.
Your team will look to you for guidance and direction when things are tough so don’t shy away from taking responsibility. Believe in your ability to make this world a better place. Be a world citizen.
4. HE MAKES TOUGH CALLS WHEN IT’S REQUIRED OF HIM
One of the most difficult things a leader has to do is make tough decisions. Cap doesn’t shy away from that. He takes responsibility for a number of difficult decisions in the different movies.
Like when he tells Black Widow to close the portal at the end of The Avengers. You can see the regret and sadness about losing a teammate when making that decision, but he has weighed the situation and decided to do what was right in a tough situation.
He focuses on the good part and knows there’s nothing they can’t achieve if they work together as a team.
He makes his team feel positive and guides them to find a solution even in the darkest of time. He focuses on the fact that uncertainties will stay but there dream is bigger than these uncertainties.
How you can be like Steve
The most important lesson to all leaders that losing a tool or resource in your team doesn’t necessarily mean game over. It is important to never bank your strategy on a single skill/tool/person and learn to be adaptable when anticipating the unknown. Captain America believes in people and his ability, even when it looks like there is no hope.
Heroism and being a superhero is so much more than simply throwing punches, taking out the bad guys, and then having victory celebrations.
Being a hero means having empathy and kindness. And so does being a leader.
The real secret to Captain America’s success as a leader is that he is himself.
Take away the shield, take away the uniform, take away his title and at his core, he’s still the same scrawny Steven G. Rogers from Brooklyn. As already said, the experiment merely amplified what was already inside of him.
Hence, be as real, as authentic as you are. Don’t let your title of ‘leader’ change you, but let it magnify your strengths.
If you liked this you may also like “How to be a Harry Potter in a world of muggles”.
Studying bachelor’s in biotechnology, Aayushi is a really passionate person, who loves to read and travel. She believes people, places, and stories have the power to change anyone and help them understand the purpose of life.