Five Leadership Lessons in Creed

Rocky Balboa Back Again and Still Leading

Leadership Lessons in Creed

First let me clear something up for people reading. This is not a post about the band Creed. Sorry to spoil your excitement. It is about the movie that recently came out that essentially is another installment in the Rocky series.

When I first learned about this movie I was extremely excited. I am a huge Rocky fan. In fact, I wrote a post about Rocky Balboa and leadership a while back. All I cared about when I heard Creed was coming out was seeing one of my hero’s back on the big screen. I was just as excited as I was in 2006 when Rocky Balboa was released (I saw that five times in the theater).

I went to see Creed the night before it officially came out and I left extremely impressed. I also am pretty sure I was the first person in Austin, Texas to own it on Blue Ray!

In Creed, not only did I get the dose of Rocky (Sylvester Stallone) that I always need, I also got to see what might be the best movie of 2015/2016 in my opinion. That isn’t just the Rocky fan in me. That has been said by some critics and even my wife!

I am not a movie critic, but I will tell you that the story was great, the acting was even better and the music was just perfect. The boxing scenes were also really well done and it was set in Philadelphia which is always my favorite part.

I highly recommend Creed not just because it is a great movie. Creed also teaches valuable lessons on leadership just as all the Rocky movies did. I once wrote a whole paper in Grad School about how Rocky Balboa is a Servant Leader and I got an A. I share this mostly so you know that I will always figure out a way to get Rocky into something I am doing.

On that note, I couldn’t not write something about Creed that ties into what I am passionate about and what I do for a living.

Here are Five Leadership Lessons in Creed:

  1. Being a parent is the most important leadership role. – Creed is essentially a story about a son who never knew his father trying to live up to his name. Being a parent, a father is perhaps the most important leadership role there is. Adonis Johnson Creed (played by Michael B. Jordan) missed out on learning about how to be a man from his dad. His biggest struggle is trying to grow up on his own without a father as a leader.
  2. Coaches and mentors can change your life. – Adonis seeks out his father’s longtime rival and friend, Rocky Balboa to train him to fight. They build a special bond that becomes one of the most memorable parts of the movie. Because he didn’t know his father, Adonis needed a father figure. He needed someone to guide him not just in the ring, but in his life. Rocky was able to do this for him. As leaders, we must realize that we can accomplish nothing on our own. We need other people. We need the help, guidance and accountability that comes from coaches and mentors.
  3. Leadership, humility and courage go hand-in-hand. – Apollo Creed’s wife Mary Anne meets Adonis in a juvenile correction facility when he is a young boy. She invites him to live with her. She wasn’t his mother. Her late husband had an affair before he died. Even though Adonis was not her son and came out of her husband’s infidelity, she was able to take him in and raise him as her own. What humility and courage that took for her to take Adonis in. Would you be able to do that? She changed his life and his future by answering a call to leadership that she didn’t ask for and that must have really hurt her.
  4. Leaders constantly remind themselves of their dreams and goals. – Adonis had a dream to be a fighter. He gave up a lot in pursuit of that dream. He turned the dream into a goal and took action towards achieving it. He had a clear vision for his future, which is a must for a leader. Without vision, people perish. When the vision is hazy or unclear, people become frustrated. A leader must determine where they want to go, begin to take action and they must be able to communicate where they are going to others. Adonis was able to do this.
  5. You are your biggest obstacle. – Early on in their training Rocky makes Adonis look in a mirror. He tells him that the guy looking back at him is the toughest opponent he will ever face. What a great leadership lesson that is. No matter what goal you set, you will be your biggest obstacle. Fear, worry, doubt, indecision and negative thinking will get in your way. It is your job as a leader to fight through it and to become the best possible version of yourself.

Those are just five of the many leadership lessons from the latest movie in the great Rocky series, Creed. This movie made me laugh, cry and think about my own leadership journey and I think it will do that for you as well.

We are all on a journey in our lives to learn how to lead. We must work to become a better leader every single day. We must realize that we will never fully get it right, but that doesn’t mean we can’t try.

In Creed, Rocky says one thing over and over to Adonis. It really becomes the signature line of the movie much like some of the other great lines from previous Rocky movies. He says, “One step at a time, one punch at a time, one round at a time.”

That line sums up our journey as leaders. We must take it one step at a time. We cannot fast forward or skip a step. When we take a step in the wrong direction we must quickly work to get ourselves back on track.

Most importantly we must continue to take step forward because as Rocky Balboa says, “it ain’t about how hard you hit, it’s about hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.”

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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