What makes the X-Men so unique as a team is actually their human side and probably most of all – hope. Throughout the series, X-Men with Professor X as their team leader manage to survive, even when it seems impossible to do so.
You don’t have to be a team of mutant superheroes in order to function like one. However, this super team, in particular, has a lot to offer and we can all learn from them and their experience, regardless of the fact that it’s nothing more than fiction.
If you’re a fan of movies, I’m sure you have seen them all, but if you put aside all the special effects and incredible and unexpected plots, you’ll be able to see an inspiring story about what good teamwork actually means.
Good Leadership Is a Necessity
A leader is a person who has a strong vision they undisputedly believe in. They are able to overcome their weaknesses in order to create a strong unity with common goals. There’s not a person in the world who fits this description more than Professor Charles Xavier.
The first X-Men movie shows him as a wise leader in whom all put their trust and fate, but later we learn what made him that strong. The irony is that he wouldn’t be what he is if Magneto hadn’t put him in in a wheelchair in “X-Men: The First Class”. Then, he’s confronted with an important decision – he’ll either have his superpowers and leadership skills or he’ll be able to walk, and we’re able to see that internal battle in “X-Men: Days of Future Past”.
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, which I believe happened when young Charles refused his medicine dose from Hank McCoy and got right back in his wheelchair, focusing on his obligations as the head of the school and his team.
We need not mention the effort and time required to create the school and what it stands for – dedicating a lifetime and all his funds to helping people and providing them with the appropriate environment to develop their skills is what a great leader is all about.
Practice Makes Perfect
As far as I’m concerned, Storm is a character that was created as a symbol of unity. Her faith and loyalty were never questioned throughout the whole movie series – she always stood firmly by Professor X’s side and embraced leadership when it fell into her hands (although Cyclops should have done that).
No matter if it’s about children or adults, Storm constantly stresses the fact that practice is crucial for success. All those long hours she spent training the team and talking about how teamwork is the determining factor in any battle most certainly contributed to creating a bright future for mutants.
Professionals aren’t born, they are built – regardless of your area of expertise, talent is irrelevant if you don’t develop it properly.
There’s No Room for Distrust
The most obvious example of personal issues in the X-Men movie series is the rivalry between Cyclops and Wolverine. Although they have managed to complete their missions successfully, their affection towards the same marvelous girl had certainly made it difficult for them to trust each other.
The Xavier’s institution does advocate family values, and it’s just fine to be competitive within healthy borders, but the battlefield is no place for petty quarrels between teammates. The doorstep of your office is where you should leave all your personal issues, and have no worry – they will be right there for you to pick them up on your way home.
Believe in Your Teammates
You must know what the frontline looks like, because I’m sure your office has been stressed out with upcoming deadlines at least a few times by now. The only thing to do there – and the only thing the X-men were left with at the riskiest of times – is to rely on each other and trust that everyone will complete their part of the job.
Be Ready to Help Out
“X-Men: The First Class” is actually a movie that shows how a team should be built. Gathering together a team of young and gifted people who never worked to together and setting a difficult task in front of them is what young Charles did, and although it was fun and games at first, it turned out to be quite a challenge very quickly.
Advocating team spirit and trying to meet all their needs by building an appropriate environment is a recipe for success.
Let Others Build their own Paths
Speaking of appropriate needs – everyone should enjoy freedom to build their own path, because the fact is none of people in your team have the same requirements.
Although it may be difficult to understand, as a leader, you need to know when to let go. Originally, Logan (Wolverine) joined the team because he thought Professor X will be able to help him learn about his past. However, Charles let him go to discover things on his own, because that would make him a better, stronger teammate.
Parting ways because of different points of view is always difficult. When Marie, aka Rogue, decided to “cure herself” because she desperately needed to physically feel love and closeness, it was difficult for others to understand and approve of her choice, but that was entirely her decision to make based on the priorities she listed.
A great leader needs to be able to see the bigger picture – a team shouldn’t be fenced and forced to march together, but it needs to be free to explore and grow in different ways.
Take One for the Team
This team relationship I speak of is a two-way street. When a leader such as Professor X offers all the possible circumstances for optimal development, his teammates should share his vision and demonstrate loyalty. Throughout the series all member of the X-Men learn how to put their needs bellow the needs of the team. I believe the best example of this is the scene in “X-Men: The Last Stand” where Logan is faced with a huge decision – whether or not he’ll submit to Jean’s wishes to end her life and stop a disaster that Phoenix is preparing to create.
He manages to suppress his emotions and do the right thing. I’m sure your leader or teammates will never ask you to end someone’s life (say no if they do), but this is a great example of sacrifice. Taking one for the team is just another way to show your support and strengthen that bond.
Respect what Others Believe In
One friendship, in particular, is quite interestingly presented in the X-Men movie series, and I’m sure you know what I have in mind right now. Charles and Eric, aka Professor X and Magneto, are two of the most different powerful mutants who were brought together by very strange circumstances. Their pasts have absolutely nothing in common – Charles had a happy childhood and inherited a huge wealth, while Eric’s earliest memory is related to a German concentration camp and he grew vengeful.
However, they both believed in a brighter future for all mutants and although they didn’t agree on the right strategy to accomplish this, they had a common goal to fight for. Their paths parted in “X-Men: Days of Future Past” when their means were no longer compatible.
However, their friendship didn’t end there, even though there was continual conflict between them throughout the movies and there’s one strong reason for that – mutual respect. Leaders should learn from this relationship – the fact that you apply one philosophy to your work doesn’t mean it’s the only right one.
Anyhow, building and later nurturing a strong team spirit is the key to success. A strong leader needs to be equipped with an inexhaustible source of will and the ability to motivate and inspire, but he will also need feedback and a spark of inspiration in the darkest of times, as well – a glimpse of future Logan in “The Days of Future Past” gave young Charles the strength to continue to fight for his vision.
Running a mutant school and running an office is pretty much the same, as far as I’m concerned. In the first case, you have a school full of mutants with different powers and different strength levels, and in the second one, you have an office full of talented people with skills that are in different stages of development. There’s another thing in common here – both cases are definitely a challenge.