Effective leadership not only improves team morale but also creates future leaders. Stan Lee is the greatest example of such leadership. In this article at Harvard Business Review, Sydney Finkelstein shares 4 thought-provoking leadership lessons you can learn from Stan Lee, the late Marvel legend.

Stan Lee and Leadership

Under his watch, Lee ensured no artist would stay idle or be penniless. He would deploy projects without keeping publisher Martin Goodman in the loop. Finkelstein worked on Lee for his book Superbosses and he has 4 thought-provoking leadership lessons from Stan Lee:

Keep the Talents Employed Always: As per Lee, if you underutilize talents, they lose the competitive spirit. As part of the leadership community, strive to keep your talents engaged to improve their creativity.

Let Talents Explore: Leadership is supposed to channelize and not obstruct the free flow of talents. Editors replaced certain words in a joke that the artists came up with for one of Marvel’s comic strips. The comic did not fare well because of censorship. Lee remarked, “this type of censorship, to me, is almost indecent.” So, he allowed the creative team under Ken Johnson’s leadership to convert the format of The Incredible Hulk for television. The show was a raving success. Lee then remarked, “It seems to me that if a person is doing something creatively, and he feels that’s the way it ought to be done, you’ve gotta let him do it.”

Acknowledging Talents: He always gave credits to the artists and mentioned about them in his monthly newsletter “The Bullpen Bulletin”. These acknowledgments shaped the career of a lot of artists. If artist Jack Kirby is popular as “King Kirby” or “King of Comics,” Lee is the one behind it. The readers find more engagement when their favorite artists are involved. This also allowed artists to feel appreciated and dedicated to

Bigger Vision: Lee dreamed that a day would come when adults can carry comic strips without feeling shy. He also believed that comic strips must be a part of the college curriculum. For years, comics have pointed out the social, political, economic, and cultural inaccuracies. They have helped provoke and model the thoughts of readers since the beginning. So, leadership should always have a far-sighted vision of achieving something bigger. Only then can you make it possible.

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