Recently, I was proud to be able to collaborate with Melonie Boone, Ph.D. on her thought leadership book, HEROic Leadership: The Secret to Developing Stronger High Performing Teams Using Psychological Capital. Melonie holds a doctorate in organizational behavioral psychology and used research from her dissertation as a basis for the thought leadership presented in her book.
I had never heard of HEROic leadership before I met Melonie, but I learned it is an outgrowth of positive psychology. HERO is an acronym that stands for Hope, Efficacy, Resilience and Optimism. These are not qualities that you typically see in a want ad for a manager, but the psychological research within the book clearly showed that such traits are the foundation of good management. The thought leadership piece describes how the HEROic competencies have been measured in psychological research and applied in the business world with proven excellent results.
It was a delight to work with Dr. Boone to create such an insightful thought leadership piece, and as I became more familiar with HERO, I considered how the competencies play out in my marketing realm. I learned how the four main characteristics of the HEROic leader can also make a difference for marketing professionals in the field. And here are my takeaways.
The Hopeful Marketing Leader
The “H” of HERO stands for Hope. In the thought leadership book, Hope is defined by the positive psychologist Christopher Chen as our ability to persevere toward goals and redirect our paths to succeed when necessary. Chen said hopeful people set goals, have the willpower to achieve them, and the “waypower” to navigate a different path if obstacles get in the way.
In the marketing world, I see the hopeful leader as one with a plan and a belief in it. For example, without hope, the entrepreneur would never open a new location. The hopeful marketing consultant will communicate to the client how and why their plan has a high chance of success. Using experience and research, marketing leaders can show how specific marketing tactics, communication channels, and content strategies can help with an important goal, like promoting an idea or launching a brand.
Clients trust their marketing leaders because they sense the hope within them. A marketing leader must believe in a plan to convince clients to approve it. If the hope is not there, the client will feel it. Successful marketing leaders are hopeful ones!
The Efficacious Marketing Leader
The “E” of HERO stands for efficacy in the thought leadership book. Do you know someone who seems to have the golden touch and can do anything? We call these people highly efficacious because they have a high amount of efficacy. They have confidence that they can undertake a task and do it well. This person can figure it out themselves or find the person, tool, or information they need to complete a task efficiently.
Marketing agency people and entrepreneurs typically have high levels of efficacy. They have an established skill set, but clients may call on them to stretch it. Their client may request a fringe service that the agency leader or entrepreneur may choose to deliver by collaborating with others or changing operating procedures. Entrepreneurs and agency leaders find strength in collaboration to gain the efficacy to accomplish their goals.
Finally, efficacious marketing leaders put very little stock in fate. They feel results are in their control if they take the right actions.
The Resilient Marketing Leader
Resilience is our ability to bounce back from adverse situations. It is mentioned as one of the traits in the thought leadership book as a tool to weather negativity and retain the ability to thrive. It’s a gift but can also be developed. And in the world of marketing, it’s a necessity! Why?
Because marketing is a combination of art and science. Even when you find research and statistics to back up your marketing plan, there is still a chance your marketing plan may fail for several reasons. Unexpected economic events, like a pandemic or a war, could foil your plans. You may encounter obstacles in your operation that will slow your progress or affect your outcome. You may miscalculate the behavior of your target audience. Or there is always the chance your audience will act unpredictably for unknown reasons.
What happens next depends on your level of resiliency. As mentioned in the thought leadership of HERO, the resilient marketing leader will know how to recover quickly from failure. They will also be able to help their client recover as much as possible. They can go forward with their lesson learned and become a more competent, successful marketing professional if ever they encounter a similar situation. On the contrary, the marketing professional who is not resilient will find the field a difficult place to thrive.
The Optimistic Marketing Leader
In HEROic Leadership, optimism is described as our plans to succeed now and in the future. Optimistic people are aware of potential failure. They are not deluded or ignorant. However, they simply see the world as inherently positive, so they do not hesitate to make plans and expect them to succeed. Dr. Boone’s thought leadership book cites research proving optimism is good for mental health and that optimistic professionals are more successful.
As I learned about optimism as a HEROic leadership trait, I thought about how marketing professionals are inherently optimistic that their plans will succeed. I also thought about the people I’ve worked with at marketing agencies or teams and found them to be some of the most positive people I know. Perhaps it’s because marketing leaders are confident about their recommendations to clients and certain they will succeed. Or maybe the field of marketing attracts optimistic people? It’s a “chicken and the egg” scenario, but optimism is an excellent trait to have as a marketing leader.
The idea of HEROic Leadership in Dr. Melonie Boone’s thought leadership book can be applied to any industry with leaders. My takeaway from working and moving within the marketing world is that we need HEROic leaders there, as do our clients!
If you haven’t read HEROic Leadership yet, I highly recommend you add it to your Amazon reading list. The thought leadership book also contains assessments so you can discover which HERO traits are your strongest and which you may need to work on. As a leader, you can also assess the amount of HERO in your team and get ideas on how to help your team become more HEROic by developing the HERO competencies.
Meanwhile, if you could use some HEROic marketing efforts or a thought leadership book for your company, contact firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your needs. We will proceed together, HEROically!