Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Hancock

A Reel Leadership Article

Hancock is the 2008 broken superhero film starring Will Smith as John Hancock, Charlize Theron as Embrey, and Jason Bateman as Ray Embrey. It’s a fun film and you will take away leadership lessons from Hancock.

What’s Hancock about? Hancock is the story of an ill-behaved superpowered person. He saves people, yeah… however, his exploits leave destruction in his wake.

Will Smith in the 2008 superhero movie Hancock

His behavior makes Hancock the most hated man in Los Angeles, CA. I can’t blame the people. He was a train-wreck.

Until one man came into his life: Ray.

Ray changes Hancock for the better. Not only that, but he also helps us, the viewer, discover leadership lessons through this movie.

Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Hancock

1. Leaders need to be reminded why they’re here:

Hancock opens with a police chase and Hancock passed out on a concrete bench. The chase is terrorizing the city. All Hancock can do is sleep.

Then, a young boy walks up to Hancock. He gently prods him to get up. When Hancock awoke, he was perturbed. He didn’t want to be disturbed.

Hancock asks the young boy “What?!?” The young boy points to a row of TVs and tells the superhero “Bad guys.”

Leaders can become like Hancock. They can become jaded to the world around them. They no longer care what happens.

Or they don’t want to…

Leaders aren’t called to be passive bystanders. They’re called to jump into action when they’re called upon.

Sometimes, we have to be reminded of why we’re here. We have to have that young boy come up and tell us “Go, lead.”

2. Leaders can do more damage than good if they’re not careful:

Hancock was a mess. He was a drunk. He didn’t care about his image. And he didn’t care who he hurt.

As he flew to the scene of the car chase, Hancock flies threw a highway sign. The green highway sign comes crashing down in front and on top of the police cars pursuing the criminals. Massive damage ensued.

Hancock felt he had done good. He stopped the bad guys. He also caused millions of dollars in damage.

Leaders can’t come in like a wrecking ball. They have to be aware of what they’re doing and whether or not they’ll be destructive of what’s already been built.

Pay attention to the way you respond to situations. Do you go hard-charging, not caring about the damage done to the people and things around you? Do you believe results are more important than the damage you cause?

That’s the way Hancock did it. There’s a better way to lead than through destruction. Be careful of the damage you cause. It may be worse than what you stopped or created.

3. Bystander:

This Hancock guy, is surely on some kind of mission and he’s using our city to beat himself up for reasons known only to him…

The police chase ended. Hancock got the bad guys. A wake of destruction was left.

The people of LA noticed. A bystander was quoted as saying:

This Hancock guy, is surely on some kind of mission and he’s using our city to beat himself up for reasons known only to him…

He noticed Hancock had issues. His issues weren’t that he was a jerk. His issues were that he seen himself as needing punishment.

Many bad leaders aren’t bad inherently. Rather, they’re like Hancock.

They have something within telling them to beat themselves up. This manifests in bad behavior, poor choices, and hurting other people.

If you notice yourself going down the same path as Hancock, take a look at what is contributing to it. What internal issues are you needing to face? Deal with them and you will notice improvement.

4. Ray Embrey:

We can save the world… Someone just has to go first.

Ray was a struggling marketer. He wanted to make the world a better place. So… he created a company called Allheart.

Allheart looked to make businesses and organizations more philanthropic. He thought organizations could help save the world.

His idea was to get one organization to go first. Others would follow. He was right… just not the way he thought.

Do you want to make a difference in the world? I believe all leaders want to make a difference in the world. They want to make the world better.

Many leaders struggle with this. They want to build a team and get people excited about it. But they miss one person that could make all the difference.

They miss themselves.

You, the person who wants to make a difference, have to be the first to go. By going first, you show the world you believe a difference can be made.

Be the first.

5. Your dream may not go well:

Ray was struggling to get Allheart off the ground. No one was investing in it. No one was willing to give their products away for free.

I don’t blame those organizations. It can be hard to be charitable. Especially with what Ray was asking.

His struggle isn’t unfamiliar to entrepreneurs and leaders. We all have dreams and desires we want to see come true. Not all of us are successful. Not all of us see instant success.

Do any of us really see instant success? But I digress…

Don’t let a struggle stop you from pursuing what you have a passion for. You have a passion for a reason. Chase it. Fight for it. Bring it to life.

6. Bad leaders don’t want to know what their problem is:

Hancock had a problem. Ray saw it. The citizens of Los Angeles saw it.

Hancock had an image problem.

He also didn’t want to know what his problem was. He flat out told Ray he didn’t want to know.

That’s another problem.

Bad leaders don’t want to know what their problem is. They may know they have a problem but they don’t want to deal with the problem.

On the flip side, great leaders know they have problems. They welcome the input of those around them to enlighten them on their problems.

Be a leader who is willing to hear what their problem is.

7. We need someone to push us:

Hancock had multiple warrants out for his arrest. The destruction he caused caught up to him.

Ray convinced him to go to jail. So, he did.

While in jail, Hancock struggled. He tried to walk out of the jail and then Ray had a brave moment. He stood up to Hancock and called him a coward.

That did it… Hancock realized he was being something less than he could be. He found himself going back to jail.

I love what Ray did. He saw Hancock about to do something stupid. Ray knew what he would mean for Hancock to leave jail. So, Ray pushed Hancock.

He challenged him to live up to his word. This worked.

It also works in our lives. We can’t grow. We can’t mature… if we don’t have people in our lives pushing and challenging us.

You might not want someone to call you a coward. Or to tell you that you’re a bad leader. Yet this is just what many of us need.

We need people who will make us realize the mistakes we’re making.

8. Convict Don (Don Gibb):

Yeah, I realize that breaking necks is easy but uh.. I’m sitting there and I’m staring at myself in the mirror and I thought… This is tough.

The convicts in the jail had a time to get together and share their thoughts. It was a counseling session. It helped them to process what they’ve done and what they’re going through.

One of the convicts, Don, spoke up and shared something he learned. He discovered hurting people was easy. The hard thing was to face yourself.

Leaders, we have to understand this! We have to understand that we have to look ourselves in the mirror and understand who we are. We need to understand why we do what we do.

By discovering this, we can set ourselves free from the tyrannical, damaging effects of constant striving.

9. People care about us:

Hancock had been in jail for two weeks. He didn’t feel like the people of Los Angeles missed him. He was frustrated and wondered why he ever went through with Ray’s crazy idea.

Then it happened… A phone call… From the chief of police.

The police were in a bind. They needed Hancock. They missed Hancock.

Do you ever feel like Hancock did? Do you feel like no one cares about you?

You’d be wrong if you think that. You matter to people. People care about you. They love you.

Never forget this. You are cared for and you are loved. If you go, people will miss you.

10. You can change your ways:

Hancock had been a destructive force. He was hated because of his lack of care and regard for the people around him.

That all changed with Ray. Ray helped Hancock change his approach. By changing his approach, people began to love him.

Hancock stopped the bank robbery. He did it without destroying his surroundings or hurting others.

When he walked out of the bank, he was no longer hated. He was loved. The crowds cheered his name.

Your team may view you as a bad leader. You may be a bad leader. This doesn’t mean you can’t change your ways. You can.

Look for ways to be less destructive. Look for ways to be more caring. And look for ways to build relationships rather than tear them down.

11. Hancock:

You’re going to change the world, Ray.

Hancock did something special for Ray. He put the Allheart logo on the moon. He believed in Ray that much.

I would too if someone changed my life as Ray did for Hancock. You would too.

I believe Hancock’s words to Ray can speak to all of us. I want to say them to you.

You’re going to change the world.

Yes, I believe that for you, you, you, and you. For everyone reading this… I believe you have the opportunity to change the world.

Be the first. Be the one who is willing to do the extraordinary.

You can be a world changer.

If you haven’t watched Hancock yet, you can pick up a copy or stream it on Amazon.

Question: If you’ve watched Hancock, what leadership lessons did you take away from the movie? If you haven’t seen the movie, what Reel Leadership lessons from Hancock that I shared resonated with you? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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