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Leadership – The Badass Way

Leadership is often associated with the protagonist in any story. These traits are developed by getting inspired by various ‘Heroes’ if I may call them. However, after thinking about this for a long time, something crossed my mind, “Is being a Leader only about being on ‘the good side?’ Is it always inspired by positive stuff? Can only ‘Heroes’ have the spark of leadership within one?”….Maybe not!

So it’s time we re-look at a few badass villains – who though were defeated, did have something that kept them going! Yes, that’s what I want to pick up from them; ‘Being Badass!’ Here’s a list of the villains that I learnt from:


  1. Cruella de Vil – Dalmatians: She was indeed a mean witch and did a lot of bad stuff to the dogs there but on the flip side what I admire about her is her urge, her obsession and the rush she had to be the best one and get the best things in life. Her craving for Dalmatian fur coat, though weird, is interesting. I think this is one quality all leaders must have – the rush and the urge to get the best.







  1. Megamind – Megamind: Apparently an intelligent alien super-villain, Megamind continuously kept being defeated by Metro Man, time and again, but not once did he give up! He comes up with idea after idea and determinant, he fought against Metro Man. Now that isn’t the actual point here. What I picked up from Megamind was actually over a conversation with my mentor about how important it is to have Flair! And hands down, one of the best villains to model for flair has to be Megamind. According to him, what separated a Super Villain from any other lay villain was…..Presentation! Have you developed your own flair? If not, give this a thought!



  1. Mother Gothel – Tangled: An exceptional influencer is what I see in her. How easily she is able to influence her adopted daughter, Rapunzel, just by singing her the song “Mother knows best”. In my opinion, leaders must have this ability to understand and influence peoples’ thoughts and the situations around to get the best possible results.






  1. Maleficent – Maleficent: Even after delivering a curse on Princess Aurora, she herself freed her from the curse, and at the end of the day, someone who Aurora thought was the ‘good guy’ turned out to be the actual ‘bad guy’ (King Stefan). In Leadership, there are always two sides to the coin; there’s always another point-of-view. Your perception of the truth cannot be the absolute. As a Leader, it is important to be aware of both or rather all the possibilities.



  1. Felonius Gru – Despicable Me: Gru, the most loved Villain heads the entire troop of the Minions, to whom, he is God! Everything Gru did, right from adopting the girls, to stealing the moon and even battling out Vector; the Minions were by his side whenever he required so. As Leaders, one thing that stands out is the ability to ask for support whenever necessary. Gru never shied away from doing so and thus was able to gain tremendous support from his Team; and in doing so not only did he achieve a lot, but also had great fun!




  1. Sher Khan – The Jungle Book: Despite being born with a crippled leg, Sher Khan has pride and regards himself as the rightful Lord of the Jungle. In my opinion, this pride and ego is required to a large extent to be successful! He would’ve never got so close to Mowgli if he wasn’t that proud. Having pride is often misunderstood as a negative quality. Pride isn’t negative, misuse of it is. Pride helps a great deal in shaping what you think about yourself.




  1. Hopper – A Bug’s Life: This guy is truly interesting. He plans ahead. He knew very well that the ants would easily out number all grasshoppers in the colony. He had already taken into consideration everything that could possibly go wrong. He planned ahead. This is what I admire about him. A leader must plan ahead. Have various ideas in mind and explore all possibilities. Every one of them might not work but that’s where your flexibility comes into force! Plan ahead but be flexible in the plans!


These were just a few of the defining qualities of these villains that inspire me and the list just goes on to include Scar from the Lion King, Kaa from The Jungle Book and so on!

Leadership is about experimenting and that is best seen in these villains. Yes, those who try to be Badass! Pick on the one quality that they obsess about that makes them who they are. Makes them a leader that has others falling in line. That’s what got them at the top of the pack !


Learn it …the badass way!

Sagar R Gangwani

Ideation Coach

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