Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Are you having a Britney Spears moment?

Everyone is making a big deal out Britney Spears flop at the MTV awards, but ironically I think Britney has it pretty good compared to the rest of us. I am viewing this from a leadership perspective.. and you may say, has he lost his mind, but stick with me.. it will all make sense in the end. Let's agree that Britney did flop.. She was doing what she is suppose to be good at and well.. had a bad day.. week.. or whatever? There is a great leadership lesson in here, and Britney is blessed to have instant feedback.

What happen to Britney, having a bad day is not uncommon. It happens all the time in our organizations. Our leaders all have bad days.. they might give a poor speech or answer a question in a defensive manner. They might try and do a meeting when they have been sick and really come off as a weak leader. All sorts of things can happen and worst.. sometime is not a bad day.. but rather a habit they have. I once had a boss who was fond of stretching stories about his sporting accomplishments. We all knew they were white lies and the impact on the team was to introduce a sort of "make fun of the boss" culture. He never knew what he was doing.. that the very culture he would whine to me about... he actually created.. which is my point.. At least Britney Spears got the message that she flopped. She can go work off a few pounds or starting shopping at a mature girl store. My boss was out of luck.. I was just an young 18 year old kid and wasn't about to tell my boss.. your a clown.. grow up and quit bragging about how great a sports star you were.

One of the greatest failures of leaders is the art of self-deception. It has a profound impact and can literally cause a leader to crash and burn without them even having a clue to what is happening. One of my favorite examples is when a leader things very highly of him or herself.. EGO is just a wonderful vice. The research indicates that these leaders will actually not be able to see their contributions to failures.. actually be blinded to their own weakness.. We all need a little Britney time to keep us humble and help us get beyond our self deception...


Virginia said...

I agree that we can all use a reality check when it comes to the effectiveness of our leadership style and day-to-day practices. Britney and others who are in the public eye every day have a lot of courage--they get that instant feedback, good or bad, publicly. It can feel pretty threatening to get feedback from both those above and those below us. I think it's worth the anxiety if we do something positive with the feedback!

Mitch Owen said...


Very nice point. I like the way you summed it all up. I think the challenge for most leaders is they do not get that reality check. It takes a very good culture to bring that level of honest out. That's the challenge most leaders face as the become more and more isolated.