The Hero Factor Summary

1-Sentence-Summary: The Hero Factor teaches by example that real leadership success focuses on people as much as profits.

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The Hero Factor Summary

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What comes to mind when you think of powerful business executives? If the words dishonesty, scandals, affairs, and abuse of power come to mind, you’re not alone. In this #metoo era it seems that top leadership positions are only filled by those who most of us would think of as rats. It’s not fun knowing that these type of people nearly rule the world with their influence. So what can we do about this problem?

In contrast to the common stereotype of corrupt, power-mongering businessmen that most of us see, heroic leadership teaches that leaders should be honest and caring. In Jeffrey Hayzlett’s The Hero Factor: How Great Leaders Transform Organizations and Create Winning Cultures, we learn just how to annihilate the acceptance of corrupt leaders by becoming great ones ourselves. With these tools, managers and mentors everywhere can help cure the negative associations that people have with all kinds of leaders. 

Hayzlett has a wide range of experience in the business world. He is the Chief Marketing Officer of a Fortune 100 company, television presenter, and contributor to Mashable, Forbes, and Marketing Week. All of this experience is evidence that he knows what he’s talking about when it comes to becoming influential leaders.

Here are 3 of the most significant lessons from this one:

  1. The best leaders focus on profits and people equally. 
  2. We should teach positive leadership habits by word and by example, too. 
  3. Fostering a heroic culture in your workplace is as simple as focusing on relationships over transactions.

Do you want to become a heroic leader? Why don’t we get started and find out how we can!

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Lesson 1: Caring for people and profits equally is the hallmark of heroic leadership.

In business, you have to have profits to survive. Without positive cash flow, you can’t maintain your daily activities, let alone keep any employees. But your people are just as important as a steady stream of incoming cash. The way you take care of your team will make or break your business. So how do you make profits while caring for your employees at the same time?

Make sure that your income streams are solid by following the rules of operational excellence. Set goals to improve revenues over time. Make sure that what you are offering provides value and is superior to your competition. Finally, consistently seek to gather and retain great people on your team.

Caring for the needs of your team members is more about your own openness to collaboration than anything else. Heroic leaders are great listeners who aren’t afraid to admit when they’re wrong. They have the courage and humility to let themselves not be the smartest person in the room. Diversity of perspectives is also a powerful tool that heroic leaders employ to care for their people. 

Think of a boss that you’ve had that was open to your suggestions for their improvement and genuinely listened when you offered them. How did their character make you feel? This is the same power that you can hold for those you lead as well.

Lesson 2: “Do as I say, not as I do” is a poor way to influence positively; instead, set the example for others to follow.

It’s one thing to see a company have a mission statement and values. But the feeling we get when we see people live their values is entirely different. Let’s look at a positive example of this to learn another level of heroic leadership.

In June of 2018, police arrested two African American men in a Philadelphia Starbucks. According to the manager who called the police, the men wouldn’t leave the store. But the men were only waiting for another friend to get there before they bought their food.

While a clear example of racism, these actions by the manager also defied the values of Starbucks, which is to be a place where anyone, customer or not, can congregate together. 

Starbucks put its values over profits by closing 8,000 of its stores one afternoon to provide training about racial bias. Even in the wake of the public failure of one of its managers to live their values, Starbucks decided to make the sacrifice to help their employees better practice what they were preaching.

Example is the best teacher and is one of the most vital components of heroic leadership.

Lesson 3: In your interactions with those you lead, focus on the relationship over the potential benefits it may give you.

If you’ve seen the movie Sully, you know about the events of January 15th, 2009 in New York City. After an engine caught fire, Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger successfully landed in the Hudson River, saving everyone on board. What happened afterward, however, is what can teach us even more about heroic leadership. 

A man named Dave Sanderson was on that plane. After the landing, he had to swim the cold waters of the Hudson and was later treated for hypothermia and stayed in the hospital overnight. The next day Sanderson found himself back in the office to let his coworkers know he was okay.

Surprisingly, when his boss saw Sanderson that day, all he had to say was “Are you going to Michigan next week?” This top-performing employee found other work and still doesn’t think highly of his former workplace.

Contrast his experience with Sanderson’s treatment by US Airways, the operator of the flight that crashed into the Hudson. After the crash, the airline took care of him and the other passengers. They even went so far as to give him a personal assistant to help with any difficulties that Sanderson experienced because of the crash.

The contrast between these two experiences shows the power in caring for people over transactions. Building a relationship with people is always better for your reputation, conscience, and even earnings as well.

The Hero Factor Review

I really enjoyed The Hero Factor! It’s refreshing to see a perspective that promotes kindness in leaders rather than the rudeness, selfishness, and pride that far too many powerful leaders exhibit these days. This book helped me remember some of my favorite leaders and motivates me to try harder to be like them.

Who would I recommend The Hero Factor summary to?

The 45-year-old manager who wants to be more of a mentor to their team, the 28-year-old entrepreneur who is searching for a new way to see success, and anyone wanting to improve their people skills.

Last Updated on September 6, 2022

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Luke Rowley

With over 450 summaries that he contributed to Four Minute Books, first as a part-time writer, then as our full-time Managing Editor until late 2021, Luke is our second-most prolific writer. He's also a professional, licensed engineer, working in the solar industry. Next to his day job, he also runs Goal Engineering, a website dedicated to achieving your goals with a unique, 4-4-4 system. Luke is also a husband, father, 75 Hard finisher, and lover of the outdoors. He lives in Utah with his wife and 3 kids.