Several of our family members saw the movie Wonder Woman. This is a classic superhero movie with a battle of good versus evil. The movie exhibits the heroic characteristics of that genre, but it also incorporates a meta-narrative of wisdom literature revealing moral principles. The movie opens with Diana (Wonder Woman) as a young child training to be a warrior princess of the Amazons. An American pilot, Steve Trevor, crashes off their island. After being rescued by Diana (now fully grown), he tells her about the war (World War I) taking place. Diana is compelled to leave home and kill Ares, the god of war, who she believes is the cause of the conflict.
Here are a few lessons on effective leadership from Wonder Woman,
Leaders often evince a clear sense of destiny – Young princess Diana looks at a sword and exclaimed, “It is beautiful. Who would wield it?” thinking that she might be that person.
Leaders recognize the need for a mentor – Diana enlists the best mentor she can find, General Antiope, to train her.
Leaders are willing to pay the price in preparation – Her mother, Queen Hippolyta, told General Antiope, “You will train her harder than any Amazon before her, five times harder, ten times harder, until she is better than even you.”
Leaders must always be vigilant – General Antiope in training Diana attacks her and warns her, “Never let your guard down. You expect the battle to be fair. The battle will never be fair!”
Leaders have a strong moral compass – Diana expresses her convictions, “I cannot stand by while innocent lives are lost!”
Leaders have a clear sense of mission – Diana declares, “It is our sacred duty to defend the world and it is what I am going to do.”
Leaders are guided by conviction, not circumstances – Diana’s mother, Queen Hippolyta told her, “If you choose to leave, you may never return.” Diana acknowledged, “How will I be if I stay?”
Leaders set the example and lead from the front – Diana told a group of military officials, “Where I come from generals don’t hide in their offices. They stand beside their soldiers. They die with their soldiers.”
Leaders respect one’s personal dignity – Diana asked, “What is a secretary?” Etta answered, “I go where he tells me to go, I do what he tells me to do.” Diana noted, “Where we come from, that’s called slavery.”
Leaders are not controlled by externals – Diana asks, “What is that?” Trevor responds, “That is a watch.” Diana replies, “What does it do?” Trevor says, “It tells the time. It tells you when to sleep, to eat.” Diana responds, “That tiny thing tells you what to do?” What do you think she would say about cell phones?
Leaders value conviction over pleasing people – Trevor warns Diana about entering into battle, “I can’t let you do this.” To which she replied, “What I do is not up to you.”
Leaders show appreciation to others for life’s blessings – After eating ice cream for the first time, Diana told the vendor, “You should be honored.”
Leaders have a clear sense of their identity – General Ludendorff asks Diana “What are you?” She responds, “I am Diana of Themyscira, daughter of Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons. In the name of all that is good, your wrath upon this world is over.”
Leaders demonstrate compassion toward others – Diana told Trevor, “I will fight, for those who can not fight for themselves.”
Leaders are willing to carry out their mission – Trevor said, “We have a mission! We can’t save everyone in this war! It’s not what we are here to do!” Diana replied, “You’re right. But it’s what I am here to do!”
Leaders recognize mankind’s propensity to go astray, but they also see mankind’s potential for good – Diana told Ares, “They’re everything you say but so much more.”
Leaders are willing to extend grace – Diana exclaimed, “It’s not about what you deserve. It’s what you believe. And I believe in them (people).”
Leaders are called to make difficult decisions – Queen Hippolyta says, “Be careful in the world of men, Diana, they do not deserve you.”
Leaders demonstrate a long-range perspective of hope – Diana concluded, “I used to want to save the world, to end war and bring peace to mankind. But then I glimpsed the darkness that lives within their light. I learned that inside every one of them there will always be both. The choice each must make for themselves – something no hero will ever defeat. And now I know . . . that only love can truly save the world. So now I stay, I fight, and I give – for the world I know can be. This is my mission now, for ever.
If you’re looking for an encouraging and action-packed movie, then you will enjoy Wonder Woman.
Associate Pastor – Discipleship. The Church at LifePark
Professor of Discipleship, Columbia International University
Follow me on twitter: rickhiggins5