3 Savvy Leadership Tips Courtesy of Jack Sparrow

76801208Sometimes it’s easy to pigeonhole what a good leader should look like. And, it’s very likely that your picture of an ideal leader doesn’t include dreadlocks, ragged clothes, black-lined eyes, and a slightly drunken swagger. However, despite your first impression, there are still a few leadership nuggets to be found in the words of Pirates of the Caribbean IV: On Stranger Tides’ lead character, Captain Jack Sparrow.

“There should be a ‘captain’ in there somewhere.”
While it could be chalked up as one of his many quirks, Jack never fails to remind others of his qualifications. You don’t want to alienate your team or co-workers with arrogance, but you can subtly remind others who’s in charge with your confidence, vision, and passion. Once that leadership and vision is displayed, your employees will know what’s expected and have an example to follow.

“You know that feeling you get when you’re standing in a high place…sudden urge to jump? I don’t have it.”
If there is one thing Jack is good at, it’s improvising and going with his gut. A true leader has the instincts and self-confidence to know when to move forward, no matter the direction of the tides or even against the advice of naysayers. You’re in your current leadership position because of your ability to take calculated risks.

“I thought I should give you warning. We’re taking the ship. It’s nothing personal.”
Although honest pirates might be hard to come by, honest leaders should not be. It’s never easy to deliver bad news, but hearing it upfront and from your own lips will make it easier for your employees to digest and move forward. Also, remind them that decisions are based on what’s best for the company – they’re not personal! And remember, sometimes you have to do what’s best in the long-run, and not what’s necessarily popular right now.

Leadership advice can come from the most un-conventional places at times, including rum-loving pirates. But the underlying principles all remain the same. Your crew will rally behind you and stave off mutiny when they know who their leader is, believe in their leader’s instinct, and trust their leader to communicate.

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5 Responses to 3 Savvy Leadership Tips Courtesy of Jack Sparrow

  1. PaulJenkins33 June 15, 2011 at 3:48 am #

    Gorgeous article. Absolutely love Jackie and Johnny’s portrayal of the legendary “Captain”. Indeed there’s some really nice leadership skills proven by Captain Sparrow but what caught my attention was his way of reminding everybody that HE’s the captain. It was direct, yet friendly and with subtle underlinings, somewhat like saying: “I haven’t reached the rank of Captain by doing nothing. Trust me!”

    And that specific skill seems to be lacking a lot in our current society and it’s leaders. I’ve had tons of bosses who reminded me in a very serious or angry tone that THEY’re the boss. They were arrogant and selfish….and so I quit because of that.

    I’ve read a very interesting book recently on the same subject, called “Are leaders born or made?” written by David Grabovac, and he points out some leadership skills that seem to have been forgotten in today’s leaders.

  2. Kirk Baumann June 15, 2011 at 12:07 pm #


    I love this. As a person who engulfs themselves in articles on leadership (heck, I’ve even been referred to as “captain”), this really takes the cake. Isn’t it great when inspiration comes in the form of pop culture? Makes it easy to relate to, keeps it simple, yet can really leave an imprint.


    Kirk Baumann

    • Refresh Leadership June 15, 2011 at 1:02 pm #


      Thanks, I’m glad you enjoyed it – I know I enjoyed writing it! Gleaning leadership tips from current books and movies is always a great break from the traditional channels. I appreciate you taking the time to comment and read our blog.


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