Why leaders are like Wolverine – and why not

leaders are like wolverineLeaders are like Wolverine because leaders have sharp edges – they have to because leadership requires cutting through the status quo to make things better.

This slightly tongue in cheak blog was inspired when I was asked by a client what type of executive I was best suited to coaching and I answered, “The ones with sharp edges – like Wolverine”.

Leading like Wolverine

Wolverine is a brooding Marvel Comic anti-hero famous for the sharp blades which shoot from his hands to defend or attack. As an executive coach and leadership consultant, I have worked with many leaders who also have the equivalent of a brooding nature and sharp blades; the wise ones learn to smile and use their blades sparingly and are able to retract them when needed (critical skills for leaders). Sharp blades in business include; a cutting comment or incisive observation but can also be in the form of ferocious feedback.

Wolverine possesses animal-keen senses, which allow him to perceive danger before anyone else. And isn’t that true of a good leader? They are able to ‘smell’ danger or an opportunity whilst everyone else is going about the business of managing the day.

Wolverine has enhanced physical capabilities, and whilst leaders don’t need to possess rippling muscles, the effective ones do project energy (executive presence) and passion which inspires others.

Wolverine possesses a healing factor that allows him to recover from virtually any wound, disease, or toxin at an accelerated rate and, like Wolverine, leaders must be resilient. Leadership is not a popularity contest and no leader is going to get it right all the time, so they must be able to handle negative perceptions and setbacks.

The Wolverine character appears in the X-men and Avenger series, showing that although he is a strong individual, he can also work as part of a team, which is essential for today’s leader.

Not like Wolverine

But leaders are not like Wolverine because Wolverine is a mutant and leaders are human with all the accompanying weaknesses.

Wolverine is prepared to use deadly force rather than diplomacy and so is not a great role model for today’s corporate executive.

So how much like Wolverine are you?

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