A Reel Leadership Article
The Little Prince is a Netflix original movie based on the novella of the same name. Originally published in 1943 by writer and poet Antoine de Saint-Exupery under the title of Le Petit Prince, it tells the story of a young prince who visits Earth and the man who met him.
Netflix adapted this story into a beautiful, teary-eyed animated feature in 2015. The story of The Little Prince carries over into the movie world beautifully.
Not only is The Little Prince an engaging story. The Little Prince contains a massive amount of Leadership lessons for the viewer.
Quotes And Leadership Lessons From The Little Prince
1. You may be mistaken for something you’re not:
The Aviator (Jeff Bridges) had drawn a snake eating an animal in his youth. People who saw his drawing mistook the drawing for a hat.
The adults in The Aviator’s life mistook his drawings. They saw something that wasn’t there.
Leaders can often be mistaken for something else. People will see your actions or hear your words and twist them into what they want to hear or see.
They’ll make you into a bad leader. Or believe you’re out to get them.
You can’t be guided by people’s opinions. They’re not you. And they don’t know you.
2. Be prepared for the unexpected:
The Little Girl (Mackenzie Foy) and had been prepared by The Mother (Rachel McAdams) to answer THE QUESTION that would be asked by the admissions board to the Werth Acadmie. The mother and daughter prepared to answer one question.
When The Little Girl went before the Werth Acadamie admissions board, The Little Girl wasn’t prepared for what was about to happen. The school entrance question had been changed.
Be prepared for the unexpected – Leadership lessons from The Little Prince
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Still, The Little Girl gave the same answer she’d been prepped for. Though the question had changed.
Her answer kept her from entering the Werth Acadmie. She wasn’t prepared for the unexpected.
While you can’t fully prepare for the unexpected, you can think about what may happen that is out of the ordinary. Think about uncommon situations and how you could deal with them. Look for odd happenings and think about what you would do instead of how things were dealt with.
When you look at things from a different point of view, you can be somewhat prepared for the unexpected.
3. Life plans aren’t meant to be set in stone:
The Mother desired for The Little Girl to get into Werth Acadamie. So much so, The Mother set out a life plan for The Little Girl. EVERYTHING was scheduled. Nothing was left to chance.
But life plans aren’t meant to be set in stone. Life plans are meant to guide you in the general direction you should go. And that’s what happens in The Little Prince.
The Little Girl and The Mother move to a new neighborhood and gain a quirky neighbor (The Aviator) who turns The Little Girl’s life upside down.
Setting life goals are a great way to know the direction you need to go in life. However, you can’t let the goals and plans you set for your life guide your life without flexibility.
If life throws a curveball at you, be willing to flex your plans. You can still move towards your goals without being rigid and unmovable.
4. The Old Man:
I thought you could use a friend.
The Old Man tossed a paper airplane into The Little Girl’s window. What was contained on the paper of the plane was part of The Old Man’s story about The Little Prince (Riley Osborne).
The Old Man told The Little Girl he thought she could use a friend. She looked awfully lonely, after all.
Don’t be a leader who believes they can do leadership without any friends. Leadership isn’t a solo gig. Leaders need friends to surround them.
Even leaders need friends – Leadership lessons from The Little Prince
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Whether those friends are business or personal, it doesn’t matter. You need friends and relationships in your life.
Without friendships, life is lonely and empty. Don’t let your life be empty.
5. Great leaders are willing to apologize:
The Aviator had tried to start his broken down airplane. Things didn’t go smoothly.
The propeller of the airplane detached and went through The Mother’s home. A fence and wall were damaged.
The Old Man felt terrible. He left a note and flower on The Mother’s car to apologize. He wanted her to know he was sorry.
Great leaders are like The Old Man. When they screw up, great leaders apologize. They own up to their mistakes. They’re not ashamed of what has happened.
When you screw up, be willing to apologize. Take the initiative and say you’re sorry.
6. The Aviator:
I don’t know how to draw.
The Little Prince:
That doesn’t matter.
After The Aviator had crashed his plane, The Little Prince came upon him. The Little Prince asked The Aviator to draw him a sheep.
This request to draw was declined by The Aviator. The Aviator told The Little Prince he didn’t know how to draw.
The Aviator’s response had little impact on The Little Prince. Instead of letting The Aviator off the hook, The Little Prince told The Aviator his lack of talents didn’t matter. He could still draw for The Little Prince.
Perfection doesn’t matter. Your willingness does – Leadership lessons from The Little Prince
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The people you’re leading aren’t looking for a perfect leader. They know no one will be perfect. What they’re looking for is someone who is willing to lead and guide them.
You don’t have to know the full plan or how everything will work out. What you need to have is the willingness to take the next step in leading others and yourself.
As you take your steps into the unknown, you’ll begin to see where the next step is. Keep going forward and you will reach the goal.
7. Ask plenty of questions:
Once The Little Girl got enthralled by the story of The Little Prince, she began to ask The Aviator a lot of questions.
How did he survive? How did he get there? Why did he want a sheep drawn?
Question after question, she pressed into the story. She was hungry to learn about The Little Prince.
Are you interested in the story of others? Are you asking questions to get to know them better?
By asking questions, you can get to know your team. You can learn the destination your organization is heading in. You can discover what motivates yourself and others.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions of those you lead and those in leadership positions. Asking questions will clarify the dark areas.
8. Others can see what you can’t:
The Little Girl eventually entered The Old Man’s home. When she did, she saw The Old Man’s home was cluttered. Filled with papers and other items.
These items were a fire hazard. They could burn for a long time or be the source of a fire starting.
The Old Man didn’t see the items in this way. He saw them as a part of his life and where he’s been.
You have blind spots. Be willing to listen to others – Leadership lessons from The Little Prince
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Much like The Old Man, leaders can be blind to the traps they’re falling into. There are leadership dangers they are oblivious to but others can see.
If someone else lights up a blind spot, do your best to not get defensive (it’s hard, God knows I know this). Instead, welcome the feedback. Examine the feedback you receive and see how you can apply it to your life. This will help you to improve your life and leadership.
9. Be prepared:
The Aviator fell. He told The Little Girl the last time he fell he couldn’t get up for 3 days. This is why he kept a baloney sandwich in his pocket.
He wanted to be prepared. He wanted to be able to take care of himself even if he couldn’t do everything.
What would happen if you made a mistake in leadership? Or what if someone called in sick?
Would you be prepared for what would come next? Could you quickly get things done?
Great leaders know they have to be prepared when things go sideways. They have contingency plans in place and are ready to use them.
Have a backup plan ready.
10. You never know where the leadership journey will lead.
You discover The Little Prince had left his tiny planet after falling in love with The Rose (Marion Cotillard). He had taken care of her and guarded her for quite some time.
But the time came where he had to leave. A journey was calling him.
The Little Prince thought he was leaving The Rose forever. She would be gone to him.
Your leadership journey will lead you to unexpected places – Leadership lessons from The Little…
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What The Little Prince didn’t know was where his journey would lead him. He would eventually return to The Rose.
Just like The Little Prince, you don’t know where your leadership journey will lead. You may be led to stay in the same organization for your whole leadership career. Or you may hop from one organization to another. Or you may transition from a leadership position to a non-leadership position.
You never know where you’re headed next. It’s a wild journey. Enjoy the ride though. It’s worth it.
11. You can’t make people admire or respect you:
While on his journey, The Little Prince encountered The Conceited Man (Ricky Gervais). This man would demand the respect of those around him.
The Conceited Man would tell others to clap for him. To tell him how wonderful he was. Or to show him respect.
Some people would bow to the wishes of The Conceited Man. Yet these people never truly admired or respected The Conceited Man. They gave him what he wanted to get him out of their way.
Leaders can’t demand the respect or admiration of those they lead. Great leaders know they have to earn, not demand, admiration, and respect.
Be careful of what you’re demanding from your people.
12. The Little Prince:
What good does it do you to be rich?
The Little Prince stumbled upon another person amongst the stars. This person was The Businessman (Albert Brooks). The Businessman collected stars and wanted to be rich.
The Little Prince asked him a point-blank question: What good does it do you to be rich?
Have you thought about this question? Are you working towards building your wealth or something else?
What good does it do you to be rich? – Leadership lessons from The Little Prince
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Wealth is important. Money does a lot of good things. Still, you can’t let money be your final goal. Money is just a tool.
Stop chasing money. Chase after the important.
13. It’s normal to be scared:
The Little Girl had to climb a tree in The Aviator’s backyard. As she was climbing, she voiced her fear. She was scared and thought she would fall.
The Aviator tried to calm her fears. He told The Little Girl it is normal to be scared. Anything you do for the first time is scary. The more times you do something, the less scary it becomes.
If you’re scared, it’s normal. You’re doing important work and this brings fear along with it.
Don’t give up though. Don’t give into the fear. Instead, keep working at what scares you.
The more you work at something, the better you will get.
14. The Aviator:
I thought I would never find anyone who would want to hear my story.
The Aviator had kept his story about The Little Prince a secret. He had never told another soul about it until The Little Girl.
Fear had gripped his life. He was fearful no one would want to hear his story. However, when he began to tell The Little Girl his story, she was enamored by what he had to share.
People long to hear your story – Leadership lessons from The Little Prince
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Before I began blogging, I was scared no one would want to read what I had to say. Who would want to learn about leadership from a young youth leader?
In my mind, no one would want to hear my story. They wouldn’t want to learn or hear anything from me.
I was wrong. This blog has generated a massive following and opened opportunities for me to share my story and the stories of others.
If you’re scared no one will want to hear your story, you are wrong. There are people out there who are dying to hear your story.
15. The Little Girl:
That’s your version of my life. Not mine.
The Little Girl had to be brave when she told The Mother that the life plan that had been created wasn’t hers. The Little Girl didn’t want the life someone else had planned out for her. She wanted her own life.
There are people out there who will try to mold your leadership into their own image. They want you to lead the way they lead.
If that’s what you want, that’s fine. You can lead like others.
However, I believe the world wants more. The world needs more. The world needs YOUR story and leadership style.
16. The Aviator:
What is most important is invisible.
The Aviator knew something important. What you see on the outside of a person is not the most important part of them. The most important is invisible because the most important is within others.
You can’t see the heart and mind of others. This is what is important.
What is most important is invisible – Leadership lessons from The Little Prince
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Be careful about how you judge or perceive others. You can’t see inside of them.
17. Great leaders take on new challenges:
The Aviator had fallen ill and was taken to the hospital. Because of this, The Little Girl wanted to find The Little Prince.
To do this, The Little Girl had to fly The Aviator’s airplane. She’d never done this before. This didn’t stop her from taking on the new challenge.
She hoped in the plane, turned the key, and began the takeoff process. She successfully flew the plane and landing it.
You can’t be a great leader if you’re not taking on new challenges. New challenges stretch and grow you.
Find ways to challenge yourself. This will make you a better leader.
18. There are people who need you:
What was the reason behind The Little Girl hunting down The Little Prince? The Little Girl knew The Aviator needed The Little Prince. So she went on the journey of finding him.
When she found The Little Prince, she let him know how valuable he was. She knew this was important information for him to know.
People NEED you – Leadership lessons from The Little Prince
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You may think other people don’t need you. You’d be wrong.
There are so many people out there looking for good, honest, hardworking leaders. You can be that leader to others.
19. The Little Prince:
I’m not hopeless. I’m hopeful.
Great leaders can’t be without hope. Leaders are the guiding light for others.
Find hope. Give hope. Be hope.
Question: Have you seen The Little Prince? If you have, did you take away any leadership lessons from The Little Prince? If you haven’t seen the movie, what leadership lessons from The Little Prince that I shared resonated with you? Let me know in the comment section below.
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