Even if you're not a Marvel movie fan, you should catch the movie Thor: Ragnarok. The movie is not only fun and funny (with a hilarious performance by Chris Hemsworth as Thor), it also has inspiring leadership lessons you can apply to your life and business.
The movie's plot turns on Thor trying to save his homeland Asgard from his sister, Hella, who happens to be the Goddess of Death, and is hell-bent on destroying everyone who stands in her path to conquering Asgard. And you thought working with your family was problematic.
As he tries to save Asgard, problems ensue, but Thor has a surprisingly woke attitude toward the whole experience, philosophizing on how leaders should handle mistakes, problems, and change.
Address your mistakes head-on.
As the film opens up, Thor must fight his way out of the pit where he has been imprisoned by the fire demon Surtur. As Thor makes his stand, facing an army of minions racing towards him, Surtur tells Thor, "You have made a grave mistake."
Instead of denying this, Thor muses, "I make grave mistakes all the time but things seem to work out."
Here we have two important leadership lessons. First, you should always acknowledge mistakes so you can learn from them. Second, making mistakes is important to learning. Thor knows the only way to make things "work out" is by moving forward rather than staying motionless in the midsts of a problem.
So instead of being paralyzed by fear (or an army of minions), be like Thor and don't be afraid to try. It might just turn out better for your business than you thought.
Run toward your problems.
Midway through the film, Thor finds himself imprisoned, yet again. This time it's on the garbage planet Sakaar, where he meets a former Valkyrie (played by Tessa Thompson) who he is trying to persuade to help him escape. The Valkyrie is reluctant, stemming from the fact that Thor's sister, Hella, slaughtered all her Valkyrie friends.
When she refuses to help, Thor declares, "I choose to run toward my problems and not away from them because that's what heroes do."
The important lesson here is not what heroes do, but what leaders should do. When you have problems in your business, you should engage with them, not flee from them. If you ignore your problems, no matter how small, you are stunting your growth. In business, you need to turn your problems into strengths by addressing them head-on. You also might be a hero doing it, but that's not the point here.
Embrace change as a way to grow.
If you've seen any Marvel film, you'll understand that Thor has a troubled relationship with his brother, Loki, who also happens to be the God of Mischief. Basically, Loki is always betraying Thor. That's Loki's thing.
Even though the two brothers are both imprisoned on the same garbage planet, Loki is on the inside circle of power and sees the escape as an opportunity to betray Thor and gain favor. However, Thor knows his brother too well and is ready for the betrayal, quickly turning the tables on Loki.
While looking down at his subdued brother, Thor counsels, "You see, Loki, life is about growth; it's about change, but you seem to just want to stay the same. I guess what I'm trying to say is, you'll always be the God of Mischief but you could be more."
The leadership lesson here: you need to get out of our comfort zone to grow. Otherwise, your business will be predictable and your competition will easily turn the tables on you.
Value people as your best resource.
At the end of the film [spoiler alert], Thor doesn't end up saving his planet Asgard from destruction. Okay, this is not much of a spoiler alert since Ragnarok essentially means the end of the world. Of course, seeing your world destroyed in a fiery conflagration can be hard on you. Thor is understandably attached to his home planet and doesn't want to see it destroyed.
This time it's his father Odin who gives the advice, telling Thor, "Asgard is not a place, it's a people."
The leadership lesson here: your business is not your office space; your business is the people who work in that office space (or remote if that's their thing). So if you protect them, serve them, and treat them well, your business will not only survive a fiery Ragnarok, but it will also thrive.