Leadership Lessons from The Lord of the Rings

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Leaders Venture into the Unknown

“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” Bilbo Baggins

Leaders Step Up

“I will take the Ring,” Frodo said, “though I do not know the way.”

The Burdens of Leadership  

Frodo: “I wish the Ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened.” Gandalf: “So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”

Leaders Undertake Great Challenges

“This is the hour of the Shire-folk, when they arise from their quiet fields to shake the towers and counsels of the Great.”  Elrond

Trust among the Fellowship

“You can trust us to stick to you through thick and thin—to the bitter end. And you can trust us to keep any secret of yours—closer than you keep it yourself. But you cannot trust us to let you face trouble alone, and go off without a word. We are your friends, Frodo.” Merry Brandybuck

Leaders Fight For What’s Right

“That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo… and it’s worth fighting for.” Samwise Gamgee  

Everyone Can Lead

“Even the smallest person can change the course of the future.” Lady Galadriel

Leaders Have Heart

“It is not the strength of the body, but the strength of the spirit.” J. R. R. Tolkien

Leaders Have Courage

I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me. A day may come when the courage of men fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship, but it is not this day…. This day we fight!” Aragorn  

Leaders Do What Must Be Done

Samwise Gamgee to Frodo: “I can’t carry it for you. But I can carry you!”

The Fellowship

Gimli: “Never thought I’d die fighting side by side with an Elf.” Legolas: “What about side by side with a friend?” Gimli: “Aye. I could do that.”

The Fellowship Survives to the End

Frodo: “It’s gone. It’s done.” Samwise Gamgee: “Yes, Mr. Frodo. It’s over now.” Frodo: “I can see the Shire… the Brandywine River… Bag End… Gandalf’s fireworks… the lights in the Party Tree.” Samwise Gamgee: “Rosie Cotton dancing. She had ribbons in her hair. If ever I was married to someone, it would’ve been her. It would’ve been her.” Frodo: “I’m glad to be with you, Samwise Gamgee, here at the end of all things.”

Note: Quotes are taken from Tolkien’s books and the movies directed by Peter Jackson.


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Bob Vanourek and Gregg Vanourek are leadership practitioners, teachers, trainers, and award-winning authors. They are co-authors of Triple Crown Leadership: Building Excellent, Ethical, and Enduring Organizations, a winner of the International Book Awards. Check out their Leadership Derailers Assessment, complete their Personal Values Exercise, or join their community and sign up for their newsletter. If you found value in this, please forward it to a friend. Every little bit helps!

https://triplecrownleadership.com/leadership-lessons-from-the-lord-of-the-rings/Leadership Lessons from The Lord of the Rings