9 Leadership Lessons And Quotes From Hercules

A Reel Leadership Article

Every time I hear the name Hercules, I flash back to the Nutty Professor movie where Eddie Murphy’s character chants Hercules! Hercules! Hercules!

But that’s not what this post is about. Nor is it about the Disney Hercules movie from a few years ago.

This isn't Disney's Hercules movie

Instead, these are the leadership lessons from the new live-action Hercules movie with Dwayne Johnson. The one released in July 2014.

Leadership lessons from Hercules

I was really excited to see the new Hercules movie. The premise fascinated me and I love watching Dwayne Johnson act. He’s been fun to watch since his time wrestling as The Rock in the WWF and WWE. He’s also had great roles in the Fast and the Furious movies, the Scorpion King, and many others.

So, I was expecting great things from Hercules. I’m not sure I got that but I was able to take away leadership lessons from Hercules.

Let’s go over the leadership lessons first. Then I’ll give you my thoughts on the movie.

1. Legends often aren’t true: If you know anything of the Hercules legend, you know it’s larger than life. Hercules was the child of the god Zeus and of a human woman. He was a demigod.

Hercules battled mythical creatures and took on more than mere mortals could handle.

The new Hercules movie has a great twist on the Hercules tale. I’m not going to spoil it for you but lets just say it’s not the Hercules you’re used to.

Much like the new Hercules, how often do we get sidetracked and distracted by the exaggerated stories rather than the truth? There’s hints of truth here and there but by and large the truth is covered over.

We fall into this trap as we look at our mentors and heroes and see them as they are now, not as they begun. Don’t get caught up in the hype. Your heroes are people, just like you.

2. Ergenia

Perhaps I can convince you to make our fight yours

Ergenia is the daughter of King Cotys. They had a battle to fight and they needed the help of Hercules. So Ergenia made it her mission to convince Hercules to make their fight his.

In leadership, you’ll be called upon to help convince others to join the fight before you. It might not be their fight at the moment but it will become their fight when you help them to see the looming battle in that light.

3. Your reputation is largely dependent on your comrades: Hercules performed many of his exploits with a loyal band of followers. He also had his nephew who told the stories of battle and adventure to the audiences who would listen. Hercules’ comrades built up his reputation.

The way you treat your team will largely affect the way people view you. Your reputation is dependent on the story your team tells about you. What kind of story are you encouraging them to tell?

4. Hercules

I only wanted to be a husband and a father

In this movie, Hercules’ wife and child were killed. It’s not clear early on who or what killed them but they are definitely gone. Hercules proclaims at one point all he wanted to be was a husband and father. Now, he couldn’t even be that.

You’ll be tempted to be many things as a leader. The one thing you must never forget is that you’re someone’s husband and/or father. Or maybe you’re someone’s wife or mother. These are important roles you must take seriously.

5. You’ve got skills. Use them:A soldier tells Atalanta that women might not be able to fight the coming fight. In response, Atalanta shoots two arrows which hit the helmets of two soldiers.

She knew her skills and she showed them off.

What skills do you have? Are you holding back? Now might be the time to use your skills to lead well.

6. Conversation between Hercules and another man

What are we to do with an army of farmers?

Train them.

As Hercules and his team prepared for the coming battle, he had a rag-tag army of farmers who knew nothing about fighting. They were ill prepared.

Yet Hercules knew ordinary people could be trained to be great warriors. So he began training and forming them into the fighters he knew they could be.

Your team may not be comprised of the best people. Your team may have weaknesses you think can’t be overcome.

Take a leadership lesson from Hercules and begin training your team. With training, you can form a mighty team.

7. Obtain the skills needed for the situation: Ergenia had to learn how to treat the wounds of the people of her town. Most of the healers had been killed in previous battles yet she took it upon herself to learn the skills needed to help others.

Are you lacking skills in a certain area? Are they skills you could learn? Look for areas you can step into and fill a gap. You might be just what is needed.

8. Atalanta

We will fight for you, and we will die for you

This quote reminded me of a leadership lesson from Transformers. The autobots were willing to die for Optimus Prime. In Hercules, his band was willing to die for him.

Leaders need to be able to inspire a sense of loyalty and faith. Have you been able to create this feeling among your team?


9. We have to make right our mistakes: Hercules discovered he was fighting the wrong enemy. He was deceived by the king and formed an army that was able to crush a rebellion.

After discovering this truth, Hercules knew what he had to do. He had to go in and correct his mistake.


When you make a mistake, be willing to man up and accept responsibility. Also be willing to take the steps needed to correct the mistake you’ve made.

And there you have it. The leadership lessons and quotes from Hercules.

Now, onto what I thought about Hercules…

I’m struggling on whether or not to recommend this version of Hercules. The action scenes and storyline were good. Yet the movie lacked character development.

There were no characters I truly cared for. Most of them were pretty bland.

Because of that, this was the most disappointing movie I’ve seen this summer. If there’s nothing else you want to see at the theater, this may be a nice distraction but don’t look for a movie that will leave you feeling connected.

Question: Have you seen the new Hercules movie? If so, what leadership lesson did you take away from the new movie? Share your leadership insights in the comment section below.

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