Lucky for me, my grandsons just convinced my wife that she would love the Avengers. Suddenly—after all this time—she finally wants in on the Marvel world.
(Why do I ever try to convince her of anything like this? Why don’t I just call my grandsons and sons-in-law in every time?)
Our catch-up movie marathon began last week. And as it did, my leadership-lesson antennae perked up.
A Favorite Teaching Tool
Anyone remember one of my favorite tricks for learning and keeping sharp on your listening for revelation skills?
But if you answered, “I remember, this was fun. Fictional characters, right?” You got it.
Attributes are natural, inherent traits that affect the way we see the world as well as our behavior. But many of the greatest attributes success stories actually come from those who are great at
- Identifying attributes in others
- Communicating with others in light of their unique attributes
- Managing teams with an eye on respecting and balancing attributes
Common point: others.
But how can you get some practice identifying the natural attributes of others—both their strengths and challenge areas? Fictional characters are a great way to hone your skills.
We did this a while back with Star Wars characters, and it’s been a perennially favorite post—not only because it’s fun, but also because it’s useful both for
- Learning about attributes
- Perfecting your skills in listening (and watching) for revelation
So, anyone heard of the Avengers?
To practice this, let’s take a look at the Avengers. (Don’t worry. No Endgame spoilers here.)
To help you make sense of this, I’ve included a download of the 14 core human attributes. You can reference that as you read this post or practice on other characters. So print that out now and enjoy these fun examples.
I like Captain America as an example of a Developer.
Time and again, whether the Avengers are in meetings, battle, or casual gatherings, he recognizes the strengths of others and calls them into action based on their natural abilities.
Higher. Further. Faster.
Carol Danvers has the self-driven determination of a classic Achiever. In fact, one of this character’s defining qualities is her determination to always get back up.
And she doesn’t do it because anyone else tells her to. She does it because of her own internal drive, always raising the bar and pushing her to succeed.
He’s also one of my all-time favorite examples of a Creator. The first time I saw Iron Man and heard Tony Stark explain that “sometimes you have to run before you can walk,” I thought it might be the greatest Creator comment I’d ever heard.
In fact, I used Stark as the example of this attribute in Why Make Eagles Swim? Here’s a quote from that section of the book:
“The comic-book character Iron Man is a classic Creator…His risk tolerance is off the charts, he’s obsessed with the latest technologies and toys, and he responds to new ideas by trying them out instead of analyzing potential outcomes. His spontaneity is so extreme that it’s often a source of comedy, and those around him seem to worry that he doesn’t have a plan.”
Natasha Romanoff, aka Black Widow, is a strong Reconciler—and also a high Relational.
Have you ever noticed that she’s often the one sent to interrogate, round up, or keep an eye on the other Avengers?
Black Widow uses her empathy and intuitive understanding of human characteristics and emotions to connect with and encourage many different types of people. Because of this, she’s close with many of the Avengers, typically maintaining solid relationships throughout the series, while others periodically spar and develop grudges within the team.
Overall, Romanoff serves as a sort-of discreet leader in the group—a force that guides, balances, and reconciles team members’ challenges.
This character is infused with a lot of humor, so Thor is a fun example of a Conceptual.
Throughout his movies, this character is a big-picture thinker. But for our example, let’s look at the entertaining scene in Age of Ultron wherein his teammates try to lift his hammer.
Many get up and try. They break out all sorts of tools and efforts. They spout off specific ideas about how the thing must work:
- It’s physics
- It’s rigged
- The handle’s imprinted
- There’s a security code
But at the end of it all, Thor highlights his Conceptual trait when he describes the large and complex truth as the “simpler” answer:
“It’s a very, very interesting theory. I have a simpler one. [Picks up the hammer.] You’re all not worthy.”
The Hulk’s mild-mannered alter ego, Bruce Banner, is an excellent example of a power-alley Logician.
Examples of this trait appear in almost every scene in which Banner shows up. But this one is great:
In an Age of Ultron scene, as the team is trying to solve the problem of who they see as their threat, Banner works to steer the conversation away from emotion-driven human factors and back to the more logical, scientific factors that he favors and understands so well:
“I don’t think we should be focusing on Loki. That guy’s brain is a bag full of cats. You can smell crazy on him…I think it’s about the mechanics. Iridium. What do they need the iridium for?”
A classic Logician approach.
Now it’s your turn. Which Avenger power-alley attributes stand out to you?
Here’s that list of 14 core attributes for you to reference as you think about this. Print one out for your next movie marathon—and have fun doing it!