Batman & Linkedin The Greatest Leadership Lesson I Learnt As An 8 Year Old Boy

March 12, 2015 |  by  |  Linkedin Blog

Don’t stick your neck out until you know what’s in-coming

Up until I was 5 years old I grew up in a bombed out dockland slum area about 2 miles across the river from

the city of Liverpool England. Although I only vaguely remember this life, I do remember that areas were defended by young gangs who rallied in the post Hitler blitz areas trying to better their lives.


I was taken out of my comfort zone when we moved to a new rural housing estate outside of the town.

Everything was brand new except for the woods, which provided an adventurous playground for the youngsters. As a small estate our three gangs were closely modelled on the popular TV heroes of the time, which happened to be Robin Hood, Batman and the Lone Ranger.

I remember being the gang leader of the Batman gang and as an eight year old boy I led my troops into the woods to gather intelligence on the Robin Hood gang. The woods were the jewel in the crown of our estate and as the Batman gang leader I needed to sieze control from the Robin Hood gang.

The Robin Hood gang was led by a 15 year old street wise leader who professed to being the best archer outside of Nottingham Forest.

His younger brother was in my gang and I guess in today’s Mafia parlance he would be called a rat. He used to provide us with all the information and inside Intelligence about what his brother and his gang had planned. Maybe the term Rat is a bit harsh as he was only 7 years old.

The Robin Hood gang all carried impressive long bows with quivers of long metal tipped arrows that could pierce car doors. They used to stand at the bottom of the hill in the woods and shoot their arrows into a large oak tree at the top of the hill.

It was no secret that whoever controlled the top of the hill around the oak tree controlled the woods, so my plan was simple in its execution. Utilising stealth entry ‘Batmanery’ tactics we would position ourselves out of sight behind another tree half way down the side of the hill.

I instructed my bat troops to wait until the Robin Hood gang had fired all their arrows into the oak tree, by which time we would storm to the top of the hill and throw deadly missiles down upon the archers until they submitted or ran away.

In the absence of any real Batman grenades, our missiles consisted of spiky conkers, apples and rotten pears which we had spent 2 full weeks scrumping for our armoury.

Everything was going to plan and the Robin Hood gang had no idea we were covertly disguised and ready and waiting for the takeover. The fact that blue and black Batman outfits topped off with pairs of white Y-font underpants didn’t seem as effective as some of the available military camouflage, didn’t matter one little bit.

General George Patton once stated that a good plan violently executed now, is far better than a great plan executed next week.

We were behind enemy lines and actually in their camp, locked and loaded and ready to sieze the initiative.

In military special forces terms we were good to go.

And then for some strange reason the plan went terribly pear shaped and I received my first leadership lesson that truly scarred me for life.

I guess it was the rush of adrenalin and a burning desire to emulate my hero Batman by leading from the front. All I remember, was hearing the first arrow thud into the oak tree and I stuck my neck out from behind the tree to begin my charge.

Unfortunately my opponent wasn’t such an expert bowman and his first arrow hit the oak tree and ricocheted off down the hill in my general direction.

I remember the 3 foot long steel tipped arrow smashing through my front teeth and sticking in the back of my throat. I also remember the sheer force of the arrow knocking me backwards down the hill. Maybe this is an exaggeration, but I also have a vague recollection of thinking this never happened to Batman, before passing out.

I woke up some time later to hear the surgeon telling my devastated mom that I was a lucky boy, as a few centimetres either way and it could have killed me.

And so the smartest leader of us all was the Lone Ranger. He waited patiently as the police, ambulance, parents, doctors, nurses and priests meted out their punishments to the Robin Hood and the Batman Gangs which included being banned from the woods.

Hi Ho Silver! The Lone Ranger just rode on in and seized control of the undefended woods and laid claim to the estates’ prime real estate.

Fast forward to today. I use this example during my business growth and leadership consultancy sessions with business owners who are hell bent on achieving exponential business growth at all costs.

While I am all in favour of a business growth ‘fast track’ methodology, I counsel against business owners sticking their necks out too soon especially in business social media marketing strategies, and certainly not before knowing for certain what the in-coming is likely to be.

This is especially so when providing business growth consultancy utilising Linkedin as a business growth vehicle.

Don’t be fooled or lulled into a false sense of security by the sheer openness of Linkedin and other business and social media platforms. Your competitors are still out there, and they are able to monitor you for business intelligence that you would never give away in any other business environment.

Dr. Mark D. Yates

Dr. Mark D. Yates is a global #1 LinkedIn consultancy business growth specialist, LinkedIn speaker, LinkedIn Sign & LinkedIn training instructor & CEO of Link Business Marketing Ltd. If you need to hire a LinkedIn expert to help you gain profitable business growth, contact him. Tel: UK 0203 390 2013 Email:, connect with him on LinkedIn & Twitter You can view & download his dynamic independent LinkedIn training program at:

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