Six on-screen leaders that are sure to inspire you

Mar 23, 2022
min read

There’s no shortage of great leadership in this golden age of television. The likes of the noble Ned Stark, the charismatic Captain Kirk, and countless other fictional heroes effortlessly inspire us to be better people in the real world. And in some cases, on-screen characters show us exactly how not to be a good leader (ahem, Michael Scott fans, we’re looking at you).

At Humi, we’re constantly thinking about what constitutes good leadership – even while we binge Netflix shows after business hours. Who marks the top of our list? Read on to find out. 

1. Raymond Holt - Brooklyn Nine-Nine

The leadership of Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s esteemed Captain Raymond Holt is a given: he respects, appreciates, defends, and cares about every individual on his squad. He personalizes his approach to coaching and motivating each member, and most importantly, he’s a team player at heart. Holt is the perfect blend of captaincy and fun, showing us that leadership isn’t about dominance or control; it’s about creating the perfect environment for your team to develop and be happy. 

2. Ted Lasso - Ted Lasso

Great leaders understand that vulnerability doesn’t equate to weakness. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Ted Lasso shows us that being vulnerable can be a display of bravery; his willingness to admit mistakes and be transparent allows him to grow as a leader and build trust amongst his team. Everyone struggles with insecurities and concerns of “Am I good enough?”. It takes a good leader to be willing to show that they don’t have all the answers, but they’re always there to provide guidance and to work with the team to figure it out, together. 

3. Christina Yang - Grey’s Anatomy

If you’re looking for an affectionate, loving on-screen leader to follow, Christina Yang isn’t really your gal. Nonetheless, her defining traits (tenacity, passion, and intelligence, to name a few) make us certain we can’t leave her off our list.

Yang is a great pacesetting leader. She leads by example: her ambition and dedication to her craft drive those around her to work just as hard as she does. Leaders like this are effective in teams that are highly self-motivated and love seeing their efforts thrive; think, a start-up company comprised of bright, excited, high-performing people, eager to share their innovation with the world. Leaders like Yang will always provide you with support and propel you into being the best version of yourself.

4. Mirabel - Encanto

We bet you didn’t see this one coming, but hear us out. Mirabel deserves a spot on this list of leaders. Her story is relatable for many; every member of Mirabel’s family has been given a gift (e.g. super strength), except Mirabel. This leaves her feeling left out and lost, and it’s not uncommon to feel similarly in a workplace. However, Mirabel is able to rise above and discover her true calling: saving Casita, displaying that part of leadership is being able to overcome these internal challenges.

Another reason we put Mirabel on our list is because of a defining quality of hers that we believe all good leaders should exercise: empathy. Although she may not understand how her family members are feeling, Mirabel is always willing to listen. Leaders in the workplace can use empathy to foster effective communication and positive interactions, which leads to a healthy work culture.

5. Minerva McGonagall - Harry Potter

While many will instinctively choose Dumbledore as the most notable leader from the Harry Potter (HP) series, our sights are set on the wise Professor McGonagall. A good leader knows when to provide constructive criticism or positive feedback, and when to defend their team. In the case of McGonagall, she isn’t afraid to be critical of the HP trio, but she also knows when to award their shenanigans with house points. 

Team members should be recognized for tangible results (e.g. sales, leads), but a good leader also recognizes the value in acknowledging unconventional wins, like innovation, problem-solving, critical thinking, and even courage. McGonagall is also protective, even in the face of those superior to her, and for that, we love her. 10 points to McGonagall! 

6. Tony Stark (Ironman) - The Avengers

Tony Stark, aka Ironman, is many things: he’s arrogant, sarcastic, and overly cynical… but also heroic, intelligent, and fiercely loyal to those he loves. And while we do have him here on our list, we also recognize that he may not be everyone’s ideal role model. He’s far from perfect, but he is the most fitting leader for the Avengers team, which says a lot.

Major spoiler alert for those who haven’t watched Endgame: Ironman sacrifices his life to save the world. Now, we don’t expect leaders in the workplace to go as far as this – but through Ironman, we see that great leaders possess the courageous quality necessary to make tough decisions and to know when trade-off is needed. 

And that’s that! Our list of six top-tier leaders from our favourite shows and movies. Of course, this is television, so we don’t expect you to emulate our picks. Rather, use them as inspo in the lifelong journey of becoming the best leader you can be. We’re rooting for you!

Learn more with Humi

Every leader needs the right tools to drive their team to success. If you’re looking to buff your own leadership skills, you’ll need a stellar performance management system to help engage and develop your employees to be their best. Speak with our team today to learn more.

For more insight into great leadership, check out these resources:

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Hey there 👋 my name is Andrea Bartlett.

I’m the Director of HR at Humi, and I’m obsessed with all things people and human resources. Throughout my time working in a range of industries, I’ve learned that one thing is clear: the world of work is changing and HR professionals are leading the charge. 

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