4 Leadership Lessons from the Grammy’s

Last night was one of my favorite nights of the year, the Grammy’s. Ever since a kid, I’ve loved music and watching the Grammy’s was a staple every year, regardless of my current fad (whether I was a hip-hop head to college radio indie hipster to Dylan aficionado).

While watching the Grammy’s last night, I was surprised to find a lot of interest moments applicable to government leaders.

1) Mix Genres – The best performance in my book was Kendrick Lamar and Imagine Dragons. A great mix of a critically acclaimed rap superstar with a leading rock band. During the performance, the energy clicked and the songs were amazing. Think about how your agency can mix genres, maybe its blending the best thinking across disciplines (IT, HR, program management, budget, etc), as opposed too sticking to your silos.

2) Keep it Short – Even great performances get old when they last too long. The last performance of the night had an all-star class of rockstars (Nine Inch Nails to Paul McCartney), but honestly, it went on to long. The performance kept on going so long that stars began leaving the building, and the Grammy’s starting rolling the credits. Yes, the die-hard fans will love it when you go long, but for the average person, keep it short. Make sure your government agency is communicating crisply and your internal meetings and speeches are short and to the point.

3) Be Vulnerable – When Jay-Z won a Grammy for Holy Grail, his acceptance kept to point #2 (it was short) and most important, was vulnerable. He referred to his wife Beyonce as his shining light, and told his daughter she had a new gold sippy cup. The humanness of a superstar like Jay-Z was touching. How can you be vulnerable as a leader? As a government agency?

4) Make it About the Work – Some may argue that Daft Punk is a little gimmicky with their robot outfits. I actually love it, as everything is about the music. We don’t focus on the personal lives of the group, how they look, who they are dating, or their acceptance speeches. Instead, they let the music speak for itself. Last night, it spoke clearly as Daft Punk won “album of the year.” In the end, leadership is all about the work your group does. If you lead and empower your team to make it awesome, the accolades follow.

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David B. Grinberg

Great post, Steve!

I particularly like point #2: deflect attention from yourself onto those that matter most. In the case of gov that would be citizens, stakeholders and customers — or even employees. No one needs to stand on a soap box to bask in all the purported glory — whether it be an award-winning entertainment artist, a gov agency or an employee. Be gracious and humble. Don’t do what Jamie Foxx did.