Anthony Hopkins stars as Dr. Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs. Hopkins brilliantly plays a serial and cannibalistic psychiatrist, who reads people easily and bends their minds to his advantage.
Here are 8 key leadership lessons learnt from Dr. Hannibal Lecter or Hannibal the Cannibal.
1 Never stop learning!
Obviously we live in an age where knowledge is freely available and google is our BFF. At the same time creativity, out of the box thinking and the ability to connecting the dots get more and more desirable in leadership positions. Learning and studying (also from comprehensive topics) can help you to develop a competitve edge. Or in Picasso’s words
“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.” – Pablo Picasso
2 Internal Locus of Control – don’t become a victim of your circumstances!
We cannot influence the circumstances and our surroundings. Nor, can we change others. The only thing we can change is: ourselves. Get out of the victim mentality and how hard and unfair things are.
Take full responsibility for your own emotions. It’s OK to get angry, sad, impatient etc. – but don’t act out on all your feelings without a filter! Acknowledge them with a quick “I feel you, thanks for showing up, you are not needed right now” and move on!
Emotions are allowed to be in the car – most only in the backseat though, not on the steeringwheel.
And figure out what triggers stress and negative emotions for you. What are the unfulfilled needs beneath? And then find ways to keep the balance.
Take control of your environment! Lecter even manages to do so while being in prison!
3 Patience is key!
Sometimes we need to be patient. Also with your employees and your own abilities as a leader.
Trust and real commitment isn’t built within moments. It takes time. To be rewarded with true commitment and support from your team – have patience.
4 Remain calm under pressure!
“His pulse never got above 85… even when he ate her tongue.” – Silence of the Lambs
We need leaders for the challenging times. We need confident leaders who keep their eye on the course and on the people.
High pressure, fast-paced environment are our daily business. Embrace your inner psychopath and learn how to remain calm under pressure and how to stay focused. Achievement and performance nurishes further achievements – a great confidence booster for yourself and your team!
5 Know the facts, be prepared and self confident!
The best way to gain confidence is preparation. Don’t micro manage but get into the facts. Know, what’s going on in your department. Have a true interest in what’s going on and be prepared. Especially when talking to your employees – as you would with any customer! It’s a great way to show your respect to your employees when knowing the details or maybe remembering how they like their coffee.
It won’t only make you more self-confident but also way more likeable.
6 Dress for Success! Presentation and the whole package matter!
You are the leader. You are the person your employees seek out for guidance and stability. Especially when we face change or uncertainty we need a leader who keeps a cool mind, who is confident and who leads us.
Yes, there should be way more important things than looks and packaging. But welcome to reality: that’s what we see first.
So, don’t dress below your own worth.
7 Give and take!
The workplace is a setting where people get together, sharing same values (ideally) and working on a common goal (ideally).
Being a great leader doesn’t mean to only give and pamper your employees. It does also mean to create a high performing, highly functioning team. You set expectations and expect delivery. That’s the deal. A work hard, play hard culture can help you to celebrate wins with your employees and colleagues and say thank you. It needs to be reasonable. Continuous underperformance from only a few team members isn’t fair for neither yourself nor the other team mates. A functioning company earns money and is profitable – that can be shared for performance.
Great benefits and incentives for great performance.
8 Have a personal brand, be known for something (ideally something ethically)
Dr. Lecter has the nickname “Hannibal the Cannibal, because he eats people”. What do you stand for? What’s your USP, your unique selling point?
You certainly will polarise and not every one will like the real authentic you. But remember: everyone’s darling is no one’s darling. (P.S. this doesn’t have to mean you totally don’t give a f*** on what anyone thinks of you… you can be authentic and yourself in a great version of yourself ;-)). Remember: Dr. Lecter has very high morally standards -yes, they are unquestionably a bit twisted and double standard, nevertheless – he judges behaviour often as rude and doesn’t approve of bad manners.
Thanks for reading!
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