Movies such as 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers Of Benghazi are always hard for me to watch. Not because I ever served in the military. But because I know that these stories are based on real events.
Real events where people rose to the occasion and where other people failed to act. This puts a whole new spin on the movie.
Viewing a movie like this isn’t about having a good time. It’s about learning parts of our history told in a visual form.
With that said, 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers Of Benghazi was an intense viewing. There were tense moments, heartbreaking moments, and moments of joy.
13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers Of Benghazi also showcased many Leadership lessons.
Leadership Lessons And Quotes From 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers Of Benghazi
- Tyrone ‘Rone’ Woods –
You can’t tell the good guys from the bad guys.
As Tyrone welcomes Jack Silva to Lybia, he shares this bit of leadership insight. Sometimes it’s hard to tell the good guys from the bad guys.
We’ve all been there, haven’t we? We think we have a cohesive team only to discover that someone is trying to tear it apart.
The good guys and the bad guys look the same but they’re not.
- Changes come rapidly – In one scene we see a whiteboard with a list of assignments. Tyrone tells those in the room to check the board. And check it frequently.
Things on the board change rapidly. Minutes made the difference in what they were going to be doing in Libya.
Changes happen rapidly in the workplace as well.
You have to make split-second decisions that impact the way your organization will go. Be ready to make the change when needed.
- Tyrone Woods –
We don’t have any support
Every leader wants support. Not every leader gets the support they desire.
When this happens, we’ve got to be able to move forward without the support knowing that we’re doing the right thing.
- Becky Schmidt –
They don’t need a tree house. They need you.
There’s a brief flashback to Jack with his family before he leaves for Benghazi. In it, he is building a tree house for them.
We also see his wife say something most men miss. Children need their father.
Yes, you have duties at work. But you have a great duty at home as well. Don’t neglect it.
- Sometimes you’ve got to break the rules – During an important meetup, a military contractor was told to stay in his vehicle. You can probably guess that this didn’t happen.
He broke the rule. He got out of the vehicle.
Why? Because he saw something suspicious and knew he had to act on it.
Rules are there for a reason. Though sometimes we will have to break the rules.
Don’t be afraid to break or bend the rules when circumstances call for it.
- Amahl –
I hate this part
Amahl had a job as an interpreter. This put him in dicey situations.
He didn’t like it. And he stated it. But he still did his job.
Leadership can be frustrating at times. You may even hate leading.
This doesn’t abdicate you of the responsibility of your position.
- Listen to your gut – Shortly before the Benghazi attack, we see the US ambassador writing in his journal. We also hear him thinking out loud.
He had concerns about being in the area. He felt it was dangerous. He ignored those gut instincts and stayed.
Our gut is an amazing tool that we don’t give enough credence to.
We’re created to react to danger. Whether that’s a thought that we have or a gut feeling, it can pay to listen to what our body is telling us.
- Tyrone Woods –
None of you have to go but we are the only help they have
This line was very powerful.
Tyrone, in his leadership position, didn’t ask anyone to go on the mission to save Ambassador Christopher Stevens and his team. Rather, he presented it in a way that moved people to action.
Are you being forceful in your leadership or are you giving people the choice to follow you?
- Be ready for action – 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers Of Benghazi was full of action. That’s because a lot changed and happened in the 13 hours the movie portrays.
Life moves quickly. We’ve got to be prepared to take action when it’s needed.
- Jack Silva –
You can’t put a price on being able to live with yourself.
Ouch! Do you feel the sting of this line?
There’s many of us who have given up important parts of our lives for a paycheck or fleeting moment of pleasure.
We give up peace of mind. We give up honor. We give up family.
Make a stand today and choose to live a life that makes you proud.
- You may be helpless to do anything – There were moments in 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers Of Benghazi where they couldn’t do anything to help. People died and there was nothing they could do.
These were tough moments.
You will have these moments as well. Minus, most likely, people dying.
You can’t help everyone. You can help someone.
- Doing what is right can be painful – As the team attempts to save the life of Ambassador Stevens, they try to enter a room on fire.
They fell back at first. Then they pushed through the flames to try to clear the room.
Even though they knew they were going to be hurt, they knew they needed to fight through the pain.
Have you ever experienced this in your leadership?
You do the right thing… And then it hurts?
I’m sure you have. Every leader will face the pain of doing the right thing.
- Diplomatic Security Dave Ubben –
Let me do something. Let me help.
Leaders are people who help others. They want to do something that makes the lives of those they’re leading better.
- Amahl –
Everyone is scared
Leaders aren’t fearless. They know that there are scary things in the world.
What they don’t do is let fear hold them back.
- It all comes back to family – 13 Hours was littered with references to the families of the men in the CIA’s Global Response Staff. We saw flashbacks to family’s left behind and pictures of loved ones.
These men gave up family life to help protect the lives of others. Through it all, they never forgot they had family back home.
Family… I can’t state this enough. Family is important.
More important than your career. More important than any title. More important than money or fame.
Question: Have you seen 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers Of Benghazi? If so, what leadership lessons did you take away? If not, what leadership lesson impacted you most from this post? Let’s talk about them in the comment section below.
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