3 Leadership Lessons From The Oscars

The glitz and glamour of the 86th Academy Awards in Hollywood has been widely captured in photographs and videos which continue to make waves around the world.

The smiles and speeches are captivating!

What a Night!

Oscars 2014

Lupita Nyong’o, winner of best supporting actress role said in her acceptance speech,

“It doesn’t escape me for one moment that so much joy in my life is due to so much pain in someone else’s,” with reference to Patsey, the character she played in the wrenching 19th Century historical drama, ‘12 Years a Slave’.

In the spirit of Lupita’s sentiments of joy and pain, I took a look at some behind-the-scenes activities and sacrifices for any leadership lessons that we might glean from the awards.

3 Leadership Lessons From The Oscars 


When Lupita auditioned for her role, she was about to graduate from the Yale School of Drama. She told The Huffington Post that her manager received the script for her client, Garret Dillahunt, who plays Armsby in the film, and she thought Lupita would be good for the role of Patsey.

She happened to be at the right place at the right time, which is where it all starts.

Similarly, to take up a leadership position, you need to be in the right place and time that your skills can be applied. But there’s more.


Presence without having what it takes to lead comes to naught if one is unprepared for the role.

Benjamin Disraeli said this:

“The secret of success in life is for a man to be ready for his time when it comes.”

The men and women at the Oscars undoubtedly worked long and hard before the crowning. Equally, it takes investing time and other resources to develop one’s leadership skills so that when the opportunity comes, one is ready to seize it. Don’t wait to develop your leadership skills when you get the opportunity to lead.

As Hall of Fame basketball coach John Wooden said, “When opportunity comes it’s too late to prepare.”


Even though the awards were awarded to individuals, none of the winners can claim to have achieved whatever they did without any external support.

Ekaterina Walter asserted this:

“There is no such thing as a self-made man. We are all made of hundreds of others.”

Think of the family and friends; directors, mentors, and supportive fellow cast members; make-up artists and designers; chauffeurs, and others who supported the men and women on the final roll, to enable them to achieve their wins. Sacrificial and enduring support carried the day.

The same is true of leaders. They are not where they are­­ of their own individual effort. As leadership author, teacher and speaker John Maxwell says, there are no solo leaders – without a lot of people working together, there would be no successful leaders.­­­

Bonus – Exception

As a bonus, I’ll share one exception to the Oscars. The awards are limited in number and hotly contested. The good news for leaders is that each and every leader – whether of self or others – has the opportunity to excel and shine.

All it takes is pursuing one’s life’s purposes with excellence, and touching lives in the best possible manner along the way.

How has your joy as a leader been due to so much pain in others’ lives? How can you position yourself and others on your team to seize opportunities to make a difference? How are you contributing to the making of other leaders?


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Mrs. Joyce Kaduki is a Leadership Coach, Speaker & Trainer
She enjoys working with Individuals & Teams to help them Improve their Results
Email | LinkedIn | Web

Image Sources: heyuguys.co.uk

L2L Contributing Author


  1. Amelya Stevenson on March 4, 2014 at 4:10 pm

    Reblogged this on The Human Balance.

  2. Ivory Dorsey on March 4, 2014 at 4:42 pm

    Joyce Kaduki , Excellent capturing of this historic event Joyce…The three lessons are powerful and sometimes hard to remember when such an opportunity presents itself. Oscar Winner Lupita Nyong is so humble yet powerful; many would have a hard time putting it all into perspective; you did. I have shared it on social media so that other can enjoy the genius of your observations. I am particularly grateful for the video..Once again, thank you for sharing your gift.

  3. Joyce Kaduki on March 5, 2014 at 4:35 am

    Ivory, packed it in to make the lessons memorable. I appreciate your gracious comment, and also thank you for sharing the message with others.

  4. Antonio Simancas on March 5, 2014 at 12:12 pm

    Reblogged this on Network of thought.

  5. Jim Trunick on March 6, 2014 at 3:07 pm

    Joyce good capture, and how would we feel, if Lupita’s speech was bad, like Jaqueline Basset’s golden globe speech. These speeches were equally planned, rehearsed, to maximize their image and brand. Travolta missed that opportunity.

    Joyce, if I may add to Oscar’s leadership Lessons, about recognition.

    Write a speech before-hand and practice. Our leadership value is in many moments, and when we have the chance to prepare – we must! Tom Hanks was asked if he prepared his red carpet comments, about Captain Phillips. He said, well, anytime I think someone is going to put a microphone in front of my face, ask me questions, and have my response seen by millions – well, hell yes, I think about what I might want to say!”

    We don’t mispronounce someone’s name we are giving an award to, anymore than we should accept an award without thinking about what we want the audience to feel about our acceptance. Leto’s acceptance speech, about his mom – will have working for a long time too.

    Tell a story
    Our leadership stories of success and challenge, are everything to the listener. We don’t listen or think, in Font! paint a picture of humility or learning, is more valuable than any manuscript or policy statement.


    Make the award we receive be bigger than us. About the cause, about someone else’s struggle or value. Humility and Humbleness show, and is more attractive, than ….look at me – look at me… or here’s a list of thank-you’s. That’s is an inside joke, as none of the audience knows those names, tunes you out, and minimizes your brand, by us not being part of the recognition, we just bestowed.

    Jim Trunick

    • Ivory Dorsey on March 6, 2014 at 6:29 pm

      I loved the song so much, I have captured the lyrics, Enjoy.
      “Let It Go”

      The snow glows white on the mountain tonight
      Not a footprint to be seen
      A kingdom of isolation,
      And it looks like I’m the Queen.

      The wind is howling like this swirling storm inside
      Couldn’t keep it in, heaven knows I tried

      Don’t let them in, don’t let them see
      Be the good girl you always have to be
      Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know
      Well, now they know

      Let it go, let it go
      Can’t hold it back anymore
      Let it go, let it go
      Turn away and slam the door

      I don’t care
      What they’re going to say
      Let the storm rage on,
      The cold never bothered me anyway

      It’s funny how some distance
      Makes everything seem small
      And the fears that once controlled me
      Can’t get to me at all

      It’s time to see what I can do
      To test the limits and break through
      No right, no wrong, no rules for me
      I’m free

      Let it go, let it go
      I am one with the wind and sky
      Let it go, let it go
      You’ll never see me cry

      Here I stand
      And here I’ll stay
      Let the storm rage on

      My power flurries through the air into the ground
      My soul is spiraling in frozen fractals all around
      And one thought crystallizes like an icy blast
      I’m never going back,
      The past is in the past

      Let it go, let it go
      And I’ll rise like the break of dawn
      Let it go, let it go
      That perfect girl is gone

      Here I stand
      In the light of day
      Let the storm rage on,
      The cold never bothered me anyway


      • Joyce Kaduki on March 7, 2014 at 1:22 am

        Thank you for sharing the lyrics, Ivory!

    • Joyce Kaduki on March 7, 2014 at 1:20 am

      Thank you for adding those great insights about recognition, Jim! As you rightly point out, the speeches were well planned and rehearsed. And the leadership stories? You can’t just wing it when it comes to preparation and effective delivery of the same – especially if you desire to add value to others and not make it about yourself.

  6. ramakrishnan6002 on November 17, 2014 at 6:32 am

    Reblogged this on Gr8fullsoul.