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Leadership Lessons from Ant Man and The Wasp

Please note: this article contains spoilers.

Three years ago, Marvel rolled the dice on a pint-sized superhero heist movie that somehow really worked. Ant Man was full of humor and heart and introduced a lighter side of the MCU while amazing audiences with impressive visual effects. Now, Ant Man is back and he's got a very skilled partner in The Wasp - Hope Van Dyne from the first film; as they delve deeper into the quantum realm to find the original Wasp - Hope's mother Janet.

The synopsis of the film goes: Scott Lang is grappling with the consequences of his choices as both a superhero and a father. Approached by Hope van Dyne and Dr. Hank Pym, Lang must once again don the Ant-Man suit and fight alongside the Wasp. The urgent mission soon leads to secret revelations from the past as the dynamic duo finds itself in an epic battle against a powerful new enemy.

This is one sequel that improves upon the original because of a breezy plot, seamless blend of comedy and action, stunning visual effects, and compelling characters. Where Ant Man was about a father trying to redeem himself in the eye of his beloved daughter, Ant Man and The Wasp deals with the power of love and hope and faith when facts lie. Desmond Tutu is credited with the following highly relevant quote:

Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.

With this thought in mind, allow me to present five leadership lessons gleaned from this entertaining adventure.

  1. Make the most of your situation: The film starts with Scott Lang being on house arrest from his actions during Captain America: Civil War. He goes to great lengths to entertain himself and his daughter during the two year sentence; building an elaborate maze, learning how to play the drums, and starting a business with his associates from the first movie. Leadership Lesson: Leaders often find themselves in less than ideal circumstances and have to make the best of what they've got. Proactive and successful leaders focus on making progress each day and not getting too down on the current situation or overly focused on a future state that has yet to manifest. They make the most of every day.

  2. Trust your hunches: Despite evidence to the contrary, Dr. Hank Pym and Hope believe that Janet is still alive and well in the quantum realm. They extrapolate the fact that Scott was able to return from oblivion in the first film into a workable hypothesis and plan to find their loved one. And their belief and faith is the main driver of the film's story and eventual conclusion. Leadership Lesson: Leaders should use a combination of head, heart, and guts when making decisions. But trusting your gut is a very important ability to develop. Nine times out of ten, if something feels wrong it IS wrong. Strong leaders are able to tune into their instincts in addition to assessing what the available information is telling them. Recent data suggests that the more you pay attention to the outcome of trusting your intuition in combination with facts, the better your future decision-making can become.

  3. Roll with the punches: One of the best comedic elements of the film comes due to a broken regulator in Scott's Ant Man suit that makes him the size of a child in one situation and Giant Man in another. The unpredictability of what his suit will do forces him to take a step back and let Hope's Wasp lead the charge. Leadership Lesson: You may not always be operating at full strength or at your best. That's where the power of team comes in handy. Being able to rely on the capabilities of those around you is crucial to maintaining momentum despite the inevitable obstacles and challenges in your path. Knowing when to take a step back is as important as recognizing when you need to step up.

  4. Broken trust can be repaired: One of the key plot points of the first film was Hope's distrust of Hank because of how he handled Janet's disappearance when she was a child. But by the time we meet them in the second film, their relationship seems to have been fully repaired due to Hank's belief and mission to find Janet. Between films, Scott really disappointed Hope and Hank when he took the Ant Man suit and used it to fight with Captain America's squad during the events of Civil War resulting in his two year house arrest. In Ant Man and The Wasp, his personal house arrest situation also causes him to leave Hank and Hope in a bad place so he can save his own skin. The fact that they need each other and Scott's ultimate act of redemption lead to a repairing of the relationship. Leadership Lesson: One of the hardest facts of leadership is that you will make decisions or take actions that will disappoint, upset, and even break trust with people on your team and within your organization. When this happens, the self-aware leader acknowledges their error(s) and the impact their actions have had on the team and/or organization and then works diligently to re-establish credibility. The fact that you have to work together means you have multiple opportunities to regain trust and it's absolutely crucial that you take the necessary steps to do so. It will not be easy or happen overnight, but if you dedicate yourself to the task it can be done.

  5. Never lose hope: Every character in this film has a hope that they hold onto that drives their actions. Hope and Hank hold out hope that Janet is still alive. Scott hopes that he can get to the end of his house arrest without jeopardizing his freedom. The Ghost hopes that quantum energy can cure her precarious condition. Dr. Bill Foster hopes that Ghost will not let her desperation turn her into a true villain. And the film's true antagonist Sonny Birch hopes he can get his hand on Pym's technology to make a mint on the black market. These hopes are informed by some basis of fact but even more so are powered by each character's belief in a positive outcome for themselves. Leadership Lesson: Understanding what your team's hope for and dream about is as important as understanding tangible goals and objectives. Hope is the feeling of something better ahead that keeps us engaged and moving forward even in the darkest moments. Great leaders understand the power of hope and know how to harness it to keep grinding forward no matter the current circumstances.

Overall, Ant Man and The Wasp was the perfect antidote to the depressing ending of Avengers Infinity War and pushed the narrative forward while providing a much needed palate cleanser between Avengers films. I really enjoyed Ant Man but this sequel is definitely superior to the original! (4.5 out of 5 stars).

What other leadership lessons did you glean from the film? Let us know in the comments below. And please give the article a thumbs up and share with your network if you enjoyed and got anything out of it. please feel free to follow me here on Linked In, keep the conversation going on twitter, and share in my journey on Instagram.

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