4 Leadership Lessons from the House of Frank

Probably not the best words to live by but, it definitely makes sense.

Leadership lessons from Frank Underwood

“Power is a lot like real estate. It’s all about location, location, location. The closer you are to the source, the higher your property value.”

— Frank Underwood

Do you binge watch House of Cards like me? The fourth season of House of Cards has passed by so suddenly and now, we all have to play the waiting game to see what notorious President Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) will offer us next season.

Why is this series so addictive? It is because he is ruthless and driven mad by his own ambitions? Is Frank a good person; a good politician? Do you see a version of Frank Underwood inside you? 

Whether you love him or love to hate him, Frank Underwood is an effective leader, a great manipulator, and strategist. He knows what he wants and exactly how to get it.

I do not recommend you embody his persona and hunger for power. Instead, I encourage you to take note of his leadership qualities and replicate them in your own life. In this post, I share four leadership qualities that Frank Underwood displays. 

1: Stop complaining, find solutions

“What is the face of a coward? The back of his head as he runs from the battle.”

Throughout all four seasons and all the conundrums thrown at Underwood, you’ll observe that instead of complaining endlessly, you’ll see his relentless and master strategist side come to life. He would never turn his back at times of difficulties instead, he faces them untamed. 

He sees every setback as an opportunity to set up for a huge comeback. Several instances of Frank Underwood working his way through inevitable obstacles were demonstrated in Season 1, where his fight over his Education Bill against Martin (Marty) Spinella, the head leader of teacher’s union. Also, later in the series where the party’s leadership was unwilling to back him in the Presidential run.

These events show how truly resilient Frank Underwood is and how capable he is in finding better possibilities in each setback.

Image source: The Wrap

2: Be relentless

“I’ve always loathed the necessity of sleep. Like death, it puts even the most powerful men on their backs.”

There is no denying it: Frank Underwood is persistent and he never backs down easily… or even at all. We don’t advise you to skip sleep. Frank sees sleep as a vulnerability, and what does vulnerability imply? Weakness. What does he does instead? He keeps moving; he keeps on moving forward. 

From the early episodes of the series you will see that with all the handful of problems in his way, you won’t see him down on his knees or laying in atrophy. As a leader, he prepares himself for hard working days as well as encourages his team to mirror his relentlessness.

Rather than dodge all the hard circumstances, he welcomes it with a grin on his face and open arms. He’s positive that somehow in some ways, he’ll get around and through it. Dedication, commitment, and persistence are three key combinations that make a great leader.

3: Treat others fairly

“Friends make the worst enemies.”

This you can learn from Underwood in two different instances. First, whenever he pushes his colleagues too far and turns to publicly humiliate them. His hunger for power urges him to step over other people’s lives. No, that isn’t ideal. A great leader respects everyone as how he wants them to respect him.

The other example is how he treats Freddy, the BBQ joint owner. Despite Underwood’s success in life and ranking, he still goes back to the good old joint to churn on some good ribs. He treats Freddy kindly, far more respect than his political colleagues.

The bottom line is, treat everyone with respect and dignity. Without this, no matter how great of a leader you are, you won’t perform outstandingly.

Image source: The Hollywood Reporter

4: Stand your ground

“If you don’t like how the table is set, turn over the table.”

Frank speaks this out time and time again. Admit it or not; let’s face it, some cases you’ll need to say ‘no’ — even when interacting with executive members of your team. If there’s a strong feeling in your gut that needs to be uttered even if it’s turning down a suggestion and speaking your mind, do it.

Courage is what leaders have and is what led them to the top. It’s more than just a strategy, it’s stating your own valuable case.

He maybe a sociopath but at the end of the day, he’s the one sitting on the iron throne. What other leadership characteristics you think Frank Underwood embodies? Leave a comment below and share it with us!

About Chie Suarez

Aside from providing tips and hacks in personal and career development, Chie Suarez is also a resident writer for The Fordham Company — one of Australia’s top celebrity management companies and a major celebrity speakers bureau.

Featured Image source: House of Cards Facebook page


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