Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is a visual masterpiece.  Andy Serkis deserves Best Actor Oscar consideration for his physical performance and portrayal of Caesar, the leader of the primates.  In addition to the film’s incredible special effects, the relationally complexity of the characters is as good as I have seen this summer.

Similar to 2011’s Rise of The Planet of the Apes, this movie is full of leadership lessons.  The following are 17 Leadership Quotes And Lessons From Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes.  I would like to thank my good friend Jeff Shortridge for helping contribute to this post.

  1. “Scars Make You Strong” – After being scarred in an attack from a grizzly bear, Caesar taught his son that struggle is necessary for strength.  Scars are also a reminder healing has taken place.
  2. Successful Leaders Have Options – Because there was no alternative power source, the humans were forced to repair a dam located where the apes inhabited.
  3. Choose Your Inner Circle Wisely – Sometimes those closest to us are in our blind spot.  One bad leader on your team can destroy everything you set out to do.  Koba continually undermined Ceasar’s leadership and ultimately attempted a coup.
  4. Make Sure Your Inner Circle Shares Your Vision – More than one vision brings division.
  5. Choose An Inner Circle Who Can Handle Pressure – Malcolm, leader of humans, had an immature leader on his team who panicked when he stumbled on two apes in the woods killing one.  As a result, Malcolm spent extraordinary amounts of time and energy trying to regain trust.
  6. Leaders Must Address Rebellion Immediately – Smart leaders identify bad morale and deal with it before it deals with them.
  7. Trust And Unity Must Be Aggressively Protected – Trust is the foundation of quality relationships.  Likewise, trust takes a lifetime to build but can be lost at a moment in time.
  8. Beware Of Personal Agendas – Koba was looking for an opportunity to forward his own agenda. So much so, his own vision eclipsed his loyalty to Caesar. Caesar mistakingly thought Koba would be loyal because he had brought Koba out of captivity. Be aware – just because you made an investment in someone’s life does not guarantee loyalty.
  9. Leaders Are Limited Because Of A Lack Of Forgiveness – All of the movie’s conflict results from Koba’s lack of forgiveness from his time being experimented on by humans.
  10. Great Leaders Bring People Together – It takes two strong leaders to bring diverse parties/organizations together.  While completely different, Caesar and Malcolm were able to forge a working relationship between the primate and human communities.
  11. “I Chose To Trust Him Because He Is An Ape.  I Think Ape Is Better Than Human.  I See How Much Like We Are.” – Leaders build common ground by focusing on what unites us more than what divides us.
  12. “People Always Seek Strongest Branch” – Your leadership is only as strong as your followers perception of you. Caesar knew during a time of crisis his followers could not see him as weak.
  13. Many People Follow Fear – Fear is a great influencer.  Though unsustainable, you can rally people with the use of fear tactics.  Corrupt people, in particular, will exploit you and your organization’s weaknesses.
  14. Leaders Prioritize Family – Even when Caesar was under great pressure he always took time to care for his wife and son.  In addition, he protected them as they were being escorted into the city into harms way near the film’s conclusion. It was his love for his family which saw him through the most difficult times.
  15. Leaders Must Have The Courage And Conviction To Make Hard And Unpopular Decisions – Sometimes you have to break your own rules to establish order. Caesar’s number one rule was “Ape does not kill Ape”
  16. The Importance Of Loyalty – Loyalty does not make you a leader but disloyalty disqualifies you from leadership.  Those who are truly loyal to you will stand by you even if shunned for doing so.
  17. “Koba Fight For Koba” – Leaders either serve others or serve themselves.

What other leadership lessons did you get from the movie?

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