I recently watched the Justice League movie. It was an enjoyable movie but that is not what I want to talk about here (You can read my review here). There was one particular scene that stood out to me as a leader.
The team is about to go into battle for the first time and the Flash makes a confession. He tells the team he doesn’t feel ready because he’s never been in battle. All he has ever done was “push people and run away.” Maybe it would be better for the Flash to sit this one out.
With little time to spare, Batman has the opportunity to speak into this situation. He could have said anything. Being the Batman, you might expect him to threaten the Flash into action. But he doesn’t. Their conversation goes like this:
Batman: “Just save one person.”
Flash: “Just one person?”
Batman: “Just one person.”
Flash: “And then what do I do?”
Batman: “You will know.”
This is brilliant. Batman doesn’t let him off with escaping responsibility. Nor does he force him to accomplish a task that seems insurmountable. Instead Batman tells him to do one thing that is well within his abilities. He doesn’t tell the Flash to take down Steppenwolf or defeat all the parademons. Just rescue one hostage.
In leadership circles, this called going for the low hanging fruit. Some might criticize this as setting low expectations but that misunderstands the principles behind this. Success breeds hope.
In the movie, once the Flash rescued that one hostage, he realized what he had accomplished and understood how his abilities could help him achieve more. Without being instructed, he goes on to rescue the rest of the hostages and to help in other ways in the battle. He becomes a very valuable member of the team.
But it started with rescuing one person.
As leaders, we will encounter people who are not confident or are even afraid. We have a choice as to how we will try and motivate them. Threats or guilt will not work. Give them one achievable goal to accomplish. The eventual results may surprise you.
I have seen this work over and over throughout my ministry. I have helped insecure people achieve something and then watched as they discovered their own abilities and went on to thrive not just as followers but as leaders.
So go and lead like Batman. But leave the cowl at home.