When talking about leadership lessons, movies are usually the last place you can think about. However, Lord of the Rings is more than a movie and book series – its lessons have cemented themselves outside of the literary sphere, and even outside pop culture.
One of the characters in the movies, Aragorn, is among the last you can think of when talking about leadership. There are many more spectacular characters in the story, and he simply hangs around dwarves and hobbits for the most part. His life seems mundane, and there are many instances of having opportunities to take shortcuts, but he carries with him tropes of leadership skills that you may or may not have thought of.
The importance of staying focused on your goals
Aragorn happens to be an integral part of the Fellowship of the Ring. This is a team of various characters from different worlds whose mission is to save earth through destroying the great ring of power, a notoriously hard mission to overcome.
He not only has this mission to fulfill, but he is also supposed to safeguard the hobbit Frodo – the character assigned to be the ring bearer – for as long as possible. That involves facing various obstacles, and overcoming all of them, all which he does eventually.
In spite of facing hurdles – goblins, a troll, as well as the Nazgul, he manages to protect Frodo. Later on in the story, circumstances force them to be separated from each other for a long time, but this does not stop him from doing what he is meant to do. He ends up creating a large-scale diversion that assists Frodo to go through Mordor and destroy the ring.
What is most intriguing is that Aragorn never seems to forget what his mission is, and never does he lose focus of what he is supposed to do. He knows that the ring is supposed to be destroyed, and he goes to various lengths to achieve that.
In life, you have a mission to fulfill – whether in your workplace, your personal life or your life goals. In the middle of stressful events or chaotic circumstances, it is easy to feel overwhelmed by everything that is happening, forgetting why you are there in the first place. However, keep in mind that the secret of progress is keeping track of what you are supposed to do, and sticking to it.
Caring about your people
If there is one character trait that sticks out about Aragorn, it is that he never seems to forget his team. Circumstances may have been unfavorable for all of them, and there were many stressful and deadly events and fights they had to face – but he constantly took the time to check on them and care for their wellbeing, similar to Pennsylvania Recovery village check up on their patients.
For instance, when the orcs (a type of goblin creatures) broke up the Fellowship of the Ring, the situation seems hopeless. However, Aragorn never forgot about his team – he led a dwarf, a Gimli, an elf, as well as Legolas, on a hopeless mission – finding and saving Pippin and Merry who had been kidnapped by the orcs. That was the right thing to do, even though it was insignificant to the course of events and the overall mission.
Sometimes as a leader, you will need to make some tough decisions regarding the welfare of the people under you. That is particularly evident when facing a tough economic situation – and doing the right thing involves taking care of the people who sacrificed their time and resources to see your business grow.
Good leaders put aside their ego for the sake of their team
Aragorn is not a powerless leader – he holds his own, since he is a king anyway. Despite his position though, he never asks to get special treatment.
In fact, he gets regular reminders that the most powerful throne on Middle Earth is his for the taking, since he is the rightful heir. However, he chooses not to take it, instead putting himself in harm’s way on a regular basis for the sake of his team – choosing to put their interests and wellbeing above his.
He is less concerned about a royal title, and is instead focused on the main mission – destroying the ring and saving Middle Earth. Ego is a delicate thing, and can be easily bruised because of pride. When you put the interests of your team above yours, you give yourself room to be challenged by them, and they in turn will make you a better leader.
If there is ever the definition of a tough character, Aragorn is among the best answers to that question. He was almost able to defeat an attack from five Nazgul, all single-handed. He manages to kill a captain of the orcs near the end of Fellowship of the Ring. He takes Gimli and Legolas through a tiring and long walk through Rohan, all while chasing orcs that kidnapped Pippin and Merry. He single-handedly faces the King of the Dead as well as thousands of warrior souls. In addition, he manages to lead the armies of Rohan and Gondor through the gates of Mordor when there is no glimpse of survival for any of them.
That toughness has sustained many leaders before. Being one is tough – you will have to make choices that are unpleasant, and you will also have to make decisions that put your career on the line. However, when you look at it critically, these may be the decisions that will help your business to grow in the long-term, so you will have to be pragmatic when making a choice. It is definitely not easy, but again, it is not the end of the world and you need to be strong.
These lessons on leadership are not the easiest to handle, but great leadership is borne out of great discomfort. When you follow these rules, it may not result in you becoming king, but you will have a chance of making your leadership skills grow.