5 Leadership Lessons from “It’s a Wonderful Life”

If you’re a student of leadership, you look for clues and leadership lessons everywhere. Here are a few from an unexpected source, the 1946 movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

1. Perseverance

Throughout the film, George Bailey faces numerous challenges and setbacks, but he remains determined and resilient, despite the obstacles. When his father dies unexpectedly, he faces the challenge of taking over the family business. Despite his dreams and ambitions, George decides to put them aside and focus on running the old Building and Loan, which is facing financial difficulties. He perseveres through this challenge, working tirelessly to keep the business afloat and supporting his community.

A leader must have the grit and determination to see things through, even when the going gets tough. By persevering through challenges and setbacks, leaders can inspire and motivate others to do the same and achieve success together.

2. Community and Collaboration

George Bailey is a leader who values his community’s well-being and is willing to work with others to achieve common goals. Throughout the film, he is compassionate and caring and values the welfare of others. He puts the needs of his community ahead of his own, showing the importance of selflessness in achieving common goals. This highlights the power of collaboration and the importance of building solid relationships and connections with others.

As a leader, fostering a sense of community and working with others to achieve shared goals and objectives is essential.

3. Empathy and Compassion

George is compassionate and willing to go out of his way to help those in need. From protecting Mr. Gower from accidentally poisoning someone during his grief and depression to keeping the Baily Business and Loan running to help the people of Bedford Falls afford their own homes. This demonstrates the value of connecting with others and understanding their needs and challenges.

As a leader, it is essential to be able to empathize with others and to show compassion toward those who are facing difficulties or challenges.

4. Integrity and Honesty

George remains honest and ethical, willing to make sacrifices and do what is right, even when difficult or unpopular. When he struggles financially, and Mr. Potter tempts him with a large sum of money in exchange for giving up his family business, he ultimately decides to turn down the offer. This demonstrates his integrity and honesty, as he values his principles over personal gain.

Leaders must maintain a high level of integrity and always act with honesty and integrity, even in challenging situations.

5. Positive Thinking and Optimism

Despite his challenges, George Bailey remains optimistic and inspires others to do the same. When he wavers, his guardian angel, Clarence, shows him what the world would be like if he had never been born, and George soon realizes the positive impact he has had on those around him. This helps him to regain his hope, gratitude, and optimism. This demonstrates the power of positive thinking and the importance of maintaining an optimistic outlook.

As a leader, it is essential to cultivate a positive attitude and to inspire and motivate others to do the same.

How about you? How’s your leadership life? Is it wonderful?

  • Do you have perseverance?
  • Do you understand the power of community and collaboration?
  • Do you express empathy and compassion?
  • Do you maintain your integrity and honesty?
  • Do you possess positive thinking and optimism?

“I know what I’m gonna do tomorrow and the next day and the next year and the year after that. I’m shaking the dust of this crummy little town off my feet, and I’m gonna see the world. Italy, Greece, the Parthenon…the Coliseum. Then I’m coming back here and go to college and see what they know, and then I’m going to build things. I’m gonna build airfields. I’m gonna build skyscrapers a hundred stories high. I’m gonna build bridges a mile long.” — George Bailey

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Boston-bred and California-chilled Leadership Adviser | Writer | Podcast Host who helps busy professionals who want to manage better and lead well.

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Karl Bimshas

Boston-bred and California-chilled Leadership Adviser | Writer | Podcast Host who helps busy professionals who want to manage better and lead well.