I’m honestly so tired of seeing all the “Keith is a horrible leader. He should never become the black paladin because he’s reckless and he sucks!” on my dash… especially those that use the rescue scene in Season 1 Episode 1 as an example.
Funny enough, if you stop and really really pay attention to this entire scene, you will realize that it actually highlightsa lot of Keith’s traits that would make him a successful leader for Team Voltron (or any team, for that matter):
→ Despite it not being in his initial plan, Keith was able to think, act, and then successfully lead a group of people he didn’t even know in a strategic manner despite the obstacles and limitations that unexpectedly arose.
→ He was able to maintain his cool while in a pinch, even while everybody else was freaking out and screaming at him about everything. As someone who works very closely with the military and leads a team of people in combating casualties when they occur, I can attest that remaining calm in the face of chaos is an invaluable leadership skill. If the leader is calm, the rest of the team will more likely be able to calm down and focus on the task at hand.
→ He was able to direct this panicking group of people to take action in order to execute his plan (such as guiding Hunk to use his weight to help them steer the overloaded hover bike), which from personal experience I can tell you is not easy.
→ He was able to make split-second, confident decisions at just the right time in order to further their escape. I can’t emphasize enough how making solid decisions in a pinch can truly be the difference between success and failure, even between life and death. That being said…
→ He understood that risks were necessary if the team as a whole was to have a chance at success. Sure, people are complaining about how he drove himself and the others off the edge of a cliff, but it was all part of a plan he was able to develop on the fly. If you recall, not a single one of them got hurt.
→ Also tied to the bullet above, Keith was confident in his own skills to know he could execute said plan. He was confident enough to tell the others among their terrified screams to trust him.
In the end, Keith was able to rescue Shiro and lead everyone else to safety with no casualties on their end.
Some examples from later in the series also display other excellent leadership qualities that Keith possesses:
→ He is a team player. He understands that they all need to work together in order to achieve their common goal, and he also understands that personal desires must sometimes be sacrificed in favor of what is right for the greater good.
→ He recognizes others’ efforts and lets them know that they are noticed and appreciated, like when he tells Hunk how invaluable his efforts were during their mission to retrieve scaultrite from the belly of the Weblum.
→ The team’s current leader appears to know him better than anyone else (and definitely knows him better than we know Keith due to the very limited information we have on his past), and strongly believes that Keith is capable of leading the group.
Do none of these things count for anything? Because honestly, Keith sounds like an excellent albeit unwilling leader to me.
P.S. This is not a post claiming that Keith should be the Black Paladin, it is simply a post to prove that all those who say he has zero leadership skills are wrong.
I have seen a lot of black Paladin lance head canons and idea of how it will work, so I thought maybe I’d share my own ideas.
To start of, Shiro is in the Astral plane with Black looking over him, and Shiro isn’t really sure how to get out, and Black won’t tell him how to get out, only that he needs to rest, and he can’t talk with the other Paladins to tell him where he is. But he can see and can hear them through Black.
Shiro sees everyone trying to figure out what happened to him, but after weeks of them fleeing battles with the Galra and trying to find Shiro, they all agree that until they find Shiro, they need to have someone be the black paladin. Keith of course reveals the fact that Shiro wanted him to lead, and approaches Black. Shiro is obviously very supportive of this (cough cough-bias-cough) but Shiro is surprised to see that Black is apprehensive about Keith piloting him. but Black allows it since it is Shiro’s wish for Keith to lead.
So Keith is the black Paladin, and Shiro is very happy to see that Keith is leading the team. Only that, he isn’t leading very well. Many times he runs off on his own in battle and leaves the others with half baked directions and no real orders or a half baked plan that he usually abandons to go off. Shiro sees that more times than not, one of the Paladins is always heavily damaged and spend days in the healing pods. Now Shiro is starting to see that he might have overestimated Keith’s ability to lead, but he still trusts that Keith will get the hang of it.
But as time goes on, Keith still is doing his own thing. That’s when Shiro notices that Lance, who is always questioning Keith’s decisions, has been giving orders whenever Keith runs off , and his plans have some real form of orders, and not just that, but they work with the skills of Pidge and Hunk, even Allura when she joins in the fight. It’s his plans that gets everyone out of a battle in one piece, it’s his plans that even wins some of the battles.
But it’s not until Shiro sees Lance going to the hangars to talk to Blue about how mad he is at Keith, not because of him being the leader, but at how he leads the team. He tells her about all the times Keith has left during battles to ‘follow his instincts’ and leaving the team with no clear idea of what the plan is or what to do. He’s mad that even though it’s clear that Lance has been the reason that they win a battle, he doesn’t get any recognition for his plans, that Allura and the others just assume that Lance knows Keith’s plan when Keith goes AWOL, they assume that it’s Keith plan and not his own. But most of all, Lance talks about his insecurities about his position on the team, and how he misses his home.
Shiro’s starts to understand that he was wrong with Keith leading the team, and because of his favoritism, he didn’t see that there was another option in his team. A better option that everyone has more or less been taking advantage of. Shiro tells the Black Lion that he was wrong, that he shouldn’t lead the team if he didn’t see how Lance was struggling. Black tells Shiro that it’s ok to make mistakes, as long as we make an effort to correct them. Black then asks again, who should lead Voltron while Shiro is stuck there. And Shiro doesn’t even hesitate to say….“Lance should lead.”
At first, Keith is not happy with being kept out of Black. He’s even more furious that Black let Lance in and not him. But he can’t say that he isn’t glad to back with Red. And after awhile, he realizes that Lance is a really good leader. Yes, he doesn’t lead like Shiro does. He leads his own way, helping others see their full potential, putting the other’s strong points to use as well as listening to their ideas and being able to create or change his plans at a moment. Lance is a great leader, because he doesn’t just lead the others he relies on them.
While Lance is in charge, they never lose a battle, and have gained more allies in their fight against Zarkon. One such ally is able to help them get Shiro out of the astral plane, and the first thing he does is give Lance a huge hug and thanked him for leading the team in his absents.
Lance is happy to be back with Blue, but even more so now that Shiro includes him in strategy meetings, relies on him more during diplomatic meetings. But mostly glad that Shiro’s talks with him and Hunk more, getting to know them so that he’ll be able support them better.
So there’s my idea about how black Paladin Lance going down. I hope you guys liked it!
Update: I am actually writing a fic on this on AO3. If you haven’t read it and want to, it’s called ‘rose colored glasses make it hard to see’.