Leadership 101: Optimus Prime
I recently got to watch the latest installation of the Transformers movies, Transformers: Age of Extinction, & I must say I was glued to my seat for the almost 3 hour long movie. Like any other man who watched/will watch it, I was moved by the main man himself Optimus Prime. His endless manhood was a sight to behold.
As the movie was almost ending, I couldn’t help but draw parallels between Optimus Prime’s excellent (did I say excellent!) leadership skills and an entrepreneur who by default is a leader. Here are 7 things I think Optimus Prime could teach us entrepreneurs:
1) A leader is resourceful
Throughout the Transformers movies, & especially this latest one, we see Optimus Prime time and again coming up with ingenious ideas that save the lives of his team & provide that breakthrough that turns the tide of the battle.
As an entrepreneur your job is to lead your team through different types of situations, to ensure survival and productivity. When challenges surface, it will be your job to come up with work arounds for your team to keep going.
2) A leader knows how to rally the troops
There’s nothing more defining about Optimus Prime than his ability to coax some more effort out of his team when they are at their lowest. As a leader, you’ll always be responsible for reviving and maintaining your team’s enthusiasm & passion during trying times.
Knowing what to say to your team, in the right way & at the right makes all the difference between success or failure. People will always rally around a leader who is able to see the good and positive in them to keep the going when times are hard.
3) A leader is articulate
There’s no move that Optimus Prime makes that doesn’t involve him clearly telling the team what to do, how to do it and when to do it. They always know where they’re coming from and heading to because he makes it clear.
As an entrepreneur it’s your duty to clearly let your team know what the objectives are, where you’re heading & how you intend to get there. People are confident when they follow a leader who clearly communicates the company’s passion, mission and vision to them. It lets them know that they’re in safe hands.
4) A leader knows where to draw the line
In this latest installment, Optimus Prime has a moment where he’s angered by humans and decides to help them one last time and then leave them to their devices. When push comes to shove however, he rescinds his previous decision and digs his heels in to help mankind face its worst attack yet. His reason? Mankind is in trouble and you don’t abandon the defenseless.
A leader knows when to go and when to stop. When to say yes and when to say no. Even when his team sees it different, a leader knows when to work and when to rest. It is the bigger picture that guides the leader in determining how well to drive the business.
5) A leader protects his team
The one thing that Optimus prime is known for is having his followers’ backs. They know beyond the shadow of a doubt that he looks out for them. The same should go for you the entrepreneur.
Your team needs to be 100% sure that you will always look out for their well-being. This leads to high morale and loyalty from your team, which in turn gets the work done. People are always ready to follow a leader who they trust has their welfare at heart, to the ends of the earth.
6) A leader upholds virtue
Optimus Prime always makes our hearts swell when he fights to plant the flag of virtue while in battle. In this latest installment, he’s quoted as saying, “honor, to the end.”
Every leader in business ought to lead the charge in upholding virtue in the work place. It may seem old fashioned to some and impossible to others, but business CAN be done without anyone loosing their humanity.
It is your job as the leader to take charge of this and guide your people in doing business with a soul. When your people are motivated by more than just a paycheck, they pour their souls into their work.
7) A leader sacrifices
Right at the end of this latest installment, Optimus Prime declares that as the holder of the seed, he has a price on his head and as such he’ll always be a danger to humanity. He decides to head out into another galaxy and fight the creators of the autobots (spoiler alert: next movie’s plot).
As a leader, it should be in your DNA to sacrifice your comfort and well-being for the sake of your team and the goal at hand. You will always have to make the hard decisions that no one will ever know about, in order to keep your team intact and operations proceeding at optimum speed. This will always be a thankless but vital part of your job. Never shrink from it and never get tired of it either.
A leader may be defined by many things but ultimately it’s the actions that depict quality of leadership. You’re at the helm of the ship that is your business; be the Optimus Prime and rise to the occasion. Wise, honest, open, courageous leadership is always rewarded by a loyal following.
(ALL copyright to the Transformers brand is held by Hasbro & TakaraTomy)