For as long as I can remember I have been a Transformers fan. The epic battle between good and evil, right and wrong, Optimus and Megatron captured my imagination.
Over the years I have watched a lot of Transformers and I think I have learned some valuable leadership skills from doing so. While it sounds a little strange Optimus really was the first leader I studied under. Here are 6 leadership lessons I have learned from Optimus Prime;
1. Surround Yourself With Diverse Advisers- Optimus has many formal and informal advisors. Some were soldiers like Ironhide and Ultra Magnus, some were scientists like Perceptor and Ratchet, and some were human like Spike and Sparkplug. Whenever decisions had to be made Optimus collected the viewpoints of a diverse group of trusted advisors. I know I make better decisions when I check with a number of people who see the issue at hand differently.
2. Lead From The Front Lines- The classic book ‘Generals Die in Bed’ does not apply to Optimus Prime. You will never find him behind a desk barking out orders. Optimus is always out with his troops leading from the front lines with his iconic phrase ‘transform and roll out’. Where are you leading from? Are you out in front leading the charge or simply trying to tell others what to do?
3. Be Humble- Optimus may have risen to the hallowed ranks of ‘Prime’ but he did not start that way. His original name was Orion Pax. Orion has been described as a; librarian, warehouse worker, data clerk, and dock worker. While his previous job has changed the story of a well spoken, humble and wise person rising to power never has. Very few of us are born into leadership. Most of us have somewhat humble beginnings as well. Remembering where you come from will help to keep us grounded no matter how high we rise.
4. Admit Your Mistakes- Optimus is not perfect and has made incorrect decisions. When he realises his error Optimus is quick to admit his mistakes and learn from them. You see this when he decides not to accept help from humans, than he quickly changes his mind. Or his decision to seal away the Dinobots only to reinstate them later. I have made mistakes, and I will make more. The quicker I can admit them the easier it is to move on.
5. Lead Out Of Your Values- Another of Optimus great lines is; ‘freedom is the right of all sentient beings’. Everything he does should be seen through this lense. It is this belief that drew others to him. Why are you leading? What do you believe in? What do you value? If you don’t know why you do what you do others will not follow you.
6. Seek Wisdom- When Optimus became a Prime he was given the Autobot Matrix Of Leadership. This device contains the accumulated wisdom of every previous Autobot leader. I would love to have one of these. But since I never will I read and study. I try to learn as much about leadership from the people who came before me as possible. All leaders should do likewise.
Transformers is a great franchise. One that I am glad has lasted beyond my childhood and is making an appearance in my children’s’ childhoods. I am also grateful that this franchise has become meaningful in my adulthood as well. Good life lessons can be found anywhere if you are willing to look. Even hidden amongst giant transforming robots.