The much awaited Avengers movies is now finally out and having seen the film I must say it delivers at every level. For those like me who have read the comics and seen some of the animations, it is a dream come true to see your favourite super heroes come to life in a blockbuster movie. Without giving too much information or details about the film, the storyline is about assembling a team of super heroes who are each in their own right leaders. The question is how do you make a group of these diverse super heroes, who are egotistical most of the time, work together to save the planet from foreign invaders? These super heroes are diverse; you have Iron Man (Tony Stark), skilled and impressive with technological advancement; you have Thor which mythology refers to as a god of Thunder and well equipped with a hammer to fight; you have Captain America (Steve Rogers) whose story is that of a legend who has fought in many wars as a super soldier and won; Dr Bruce Banner, both a scientist and the monster crushing beast when he becomes Hulk; and of course you have Hawkeye (Clint Barton) and Black Widow (Natalie Romanova). It was that General Nick Fury, SHEILD’s director, had to assemble these super heroes in a desperate attempt to save planet earth. Did he succeed? Yes he did, but I am not going to give the details of how he did it.
As I watched this film, I began to think about team leadership. For any organisation in this world to succeed leadership is needed. Now there are different types of leadership, but the one I want to draw attention to is team leadership, that is, where you have more than one person leading and working together for effectiveness. So what are the lessons from Avengers for any leadership team?
For any team to function properly and work together there is the need for a common vision that all the members of the team can subscribe or sign up to. This is very important in order for the team to work together. If a member of the team does not buy into the vision the cracks will soon show and will cause problems. The Avengers had to learn this very quickly!
Personal agendas or egos must be submitted at the altar of togetherness in order to achieve the desired goal. The Avengers had to learn this the hard way. Working in a team means the vision or goal of the team becomes much more important than personal goals or vision of an individual.
It is important that every member of the team has something to contribute or else they will not feel a part of the team. Each of the team members also needs to support and look out for other members of the team. It is everyone’s job to look out, encouraged and support each other. This is very crucial if relationships must develop between the team members. The team members also need to praise each other whenever one of them has achieved an important task. This is good for positive feedback and team building. The Avengers clearly supported and encouraged each other at various times in the movie.
A team leader is needed to lead the team and cast vision or direction for the team. While it is true that everyone on the team is a leader and contributes something, there is still the need for someone to be the senior leader or lead person. This does not mean that this person leads all the time or has to do everything, but it means that there is someone who can direct or cast the vision. There will be times when this person has to submit to the authorities of others in order for a task to be completed. This will be happen because the team leader or senior person does not possess all the gifting to carry out a task, therefore they must allow other members of the team who are gifted in that particular area to take the lead as the need arises. To illustrate this Jesus, even though equal with the Father (Philippians 2:5-11), had to submit to the authority of God the Father in order to accomplish our redemption. This is very important for the team members because no one member knows it all or is sufficient. We need each other. The Avengers were individually capable and gifted but with the situation they were facing it was very clear that they needed each other. They also submitted to each other’s leadership although they had a team leader. The Avengers were successful in their mission only because they decided to co-operate and work together, teaching us the value of team leadership and the possibilities when people of diverse giftings come together in unity.