6 Life-Changing Leadership Lessons from Pokemon


Pokémon is a Japanese media franchise created by Satoshi Tajiri in 1995. It is focused on fictional monsters called “Pokémon”, which humans, known as Pokémon Trainers, catch and train to battle each other for sport. The English slogan for the franchise is “Gotta Catch ‘Em All”. Episodes within the franchise are set in the Pokémon universe. 

The franchise began as Pokémon Red and Green (later released outside of Japan as Pokémon Red and Blue), a combination of video games for the primary Game Boy handheld operation that was developed by Game Freak and announced by Nintendo in February 1996. It shortly became a media mix franchise accommodated into different media. Pokémon has since become the highest-grossing media franchise of all time, with $90 billion in total franchise revenue.

I grew up following the exploits of Ash Ketchup and Pikachu, every day at 5 pm after coming back from school. Now, during the lockdown, I rewatched the first 6 seasons and noted these 6 fun leadership lessons I learned from Pokemon.

  1. Being different is not an immoral thing:

    No two Pokemon are identical. Their skills and features are remarkably diverse. While we all have our favorites, it’s not difficult to acknowledge that they’re all rather awesome. Their durability and grace come from their variety. They’re not unusually bothered with trying to fit in – and neither should you be. Don’t regret it if you are different. Don’t judge others if they are different. Recognizing and encompassing differences is a very compelling thing to do.
  2. No one is perfect:

    The best thing about Pokemon is every creature and character has flaws. Ash didn’t win a single Pokemon league for 22 years and still, he didn’t give up and he kept hustling. Ash never blamed his Pokemons for the defeat. A lot of leaders in the millennial era start the blame games as soon as some task goes south, and this derails the confidence of the workforce. Remember, no one is perfect.
  3. Be Patient:

    Ash could have won the Indigo league but Charizard refused to battle in one of the eliminators. Ash kept trying to push Charizard to counter in the battle, but his pokemon just denied all the orders. However, even after losing the battle, Ash held on to his composure and ultimately won Charizard’s trust and they became an indestructible force. This is another critical leadership lesson. We are often compelled to face denials where our hopes are smashed both in the personal life and professional sphere. Sometimes, an investment deal becomes turbulent, and we are left with disappointment. At that moment, do not give up. Look ahead and start working on missing ingredients. 
  4. You have to fail before you win:

    Ash discovers this as he loses many gym leader contests throughout the first Pokemon Anime series. And leadership is no different. Losing is hard. Nobody likes it. But you have to lose so you can learn from your losses, and do better next time.
  5. There is no shortcut to success:

    Here comes the good old Team Rocket. Jessy, James, and Meowth, in every episode possible, tried to use unethical ways to either capture other Pokemon or steal something or the other. What happened next? They always failed. This lesson is for the leaders who want to become a millionaire in a day. Yes, it is achievable. No, it is not possible if you use immoral ways to make money. Lead with honesty, dedication, and genuineness, or else you will find worrying similarities with the Team Rocket. Meowth, that’s right.
  6. Team Work:

    Pokemon all have distinct powers and vulnerabilities, which means it’s necessary to build a reliable team that will help you deal with diverse battle situations. In real life, this translates into surrounding yourself with good colleagues and loved ones that complement you. Choose your team carefully, love them relentlessly, and remember that they don’t all have to be precisely like you.

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