There is something to be said for great leadership. This past weekend was the Super Bowl. This is the national event where we mignons are allowed to witness the best of the best in football come together and beat each other up for a silver ball statute, a flashy ring, bragging rights, and an overall financial boost. This is also the same event where the masses can have a 15-minute mini-concert with some of the biggest names in show business. This year we had the opportunity to witness Beyonce Knowles as a halftime act.
You can argue all day about why this was inappropriate. Yes, she is quite provocative for a mixed audience. Yes, her songs are questionable and her lyrics are blatantly for everything related to sex. And, yes, she is known to barely wear any clothes. Apart from all those things, one thing cannot be denied. The woman is an artist and she is at the top of her craft.
Being that she has earned her way to be called one of the greatest performers in history, you have to wonder what sets her apart. As I look at things strictly for pleasure or entertainment, I always try to look at them from a “what lesson can I learn from this” or “how will this help me to be something better”. I didn’t see the halftime show while it was live. As I said, the girl is provocative and I was with my family in a church. It would have been highly inappropriate to see him there.
Instead, I caught the rebroadcast on YouTube. I do my best to study greatness in action and it turns out that Beyonce is one of the people I’ve looked at the closest. In one of her many YouTube videos, she provides an in-depth look at the preparation that takes place for one of her shows. Just the amount of professionalism and dedication that she exudes in the planning stages is enough to get most of us back in bed. Mind you, the actual practice for the show has yet to take place. She is preparing practice for show practice. It’s amazing how much it disarms the whole concept of her shows.
Goal, back to the Super Bowl halftime show. As he suspected, his program was yet another example of leadership in practice. Like I said before, this woman is the best in her field. She is a performer herself, confident in her own abilities to calm and coax an audience into submission. Her dance moves alone can make any teenager stand up. Her lyrics can conceive several babies on the night of her concerts. In fact, her voice isn’t that bad either. So where was the leadership on this?
She cleverly decided to share her stage with two other women who would probably never get the chance again. She decided to allow Kelly and Michelle to perform on stage with her in one of the most hyped arenas in the world. Destiny Child was back. The three ladies were on a stage with the host of backup dancers doing their thing. The move was absolutely brilliant and demonstrative of the highest form of leadership: humility.
Does Beyoncé need help singing? No. Does she need help dancing? No. Need help commanding a crowd? No. Do the other ladies have louder voices than her? No. What does she have to gain by allowing the other ladies to perform with her in “his hers” scenario? Not a thing. But she still she did. If she can’t see the leadership in that, please take a closer look.
I aspire to be that kind of leader. Beyonce’s act showed that she is confident in her abilities in her field and that she is not intimidated by allowing other people to share her attention. She knows that she is the centerpiece and that there is nothing wrong with letting other people taste and feel what she does and how she does it. Kelly and Michelle will most likely never perform in front of a crowd like that again. While both pursued independent careers outside of Destiny’s Child, they never achieved the success the group had as solo artists. This was probably his last chance to perform at this level. Beyonce, on the other hand, may very well be just starting out.
What can you and I learn from this? When we are in leadership positions we have to be secure in our positions as leaders. We have to know that we are trained and equipped to do our job, no matter how talented the next person may be. We have to be sure that we can do the job alone if necessary, but we prefer to lend a hand and give someone else a chance. Leaders must be able to perform under pressure smoothly and take actionable steps, i.e. dance moves, that others can follow or imitate. You have to know how to delegate tasks or letters to support people. We also have to be willing to stand out and put our names on the line regardless of the outcome, good or bad.
Leadership can be tricky and complicated only if we let it. Most of the time, we as leaders know how we should act and what we should do. If you are a leader, it is because you have an innate leadership capacity that others see in you. We can still learn from other leaders. This weekend I want to learn from Beyonce. I encourage you to do the same.