"Managers help people see themselves as they are; Leaders help people to see themselves better than they are."
Jim Rohn






Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.
Peter F. Drucker












Team Leadership - This Is It...

I am always fascinated by examples of teamwork and leadership from which we can all learn. As such, during a (reluctant, at first) viewing of Michael Jackson’s This Is It movie I was rather intrigued by the way he went about working on what was intended to be his last concert tour. His funeral was broadcast live on CNN around the world and despite his eccentricities, there are several observations one can glean from his movie that are helpful practices for anyone who seeks to manage or interact with a team effectively. During the movie I was intrigued to see how involved he was in the areas of the production: Dancers, Musicians and Singers, as well as overall production. Clearly he was very hands-on, and somewhat of a perfectionist. Here are 6 leadership observations of Michael Jackson from This Is It:


1) He worked very hard to find and select the best team talent he could. One of his guitarists, 25-year-old Orianthi Panagaris, was described by the legendary Carlos Santana as “one of the world’s best” guitarists. How is your team talent?

Click here to see more about Orianthi  

2) Michael Jackson rallied his team to a bigger vision/ purpose, reminding them that their mission was an adventure to entertain audiences with a level of talent that demanded their all, and yet inspired the world to environmental care and world peace. Do you convey a purpose for your team? If not, what purpose can you focus on?


3)  He practiced and practiced with his team. He gave practical examples of the pursuit of excellence in the entire production, striving to get each note or step of choreography just right. “Good enough” was not in his vocabulary and he led by example. Do you walk your talk? What do your people need to observe you doing?


4) Michael was very respectful of his team, apologizing when he made an error and gentle when offering constructive critique. When you give feedback, do you acknowledge your errors and encourage your team through theirs?


5) He created a team culture, referring to the entire crew as a family. On a scale of 1-10, how would your team rate your team spirit/culture? What will you do to enhance it?


6) He empathized with their nervousness and encouraged them to enjoy the journey, even though he had been doing this for over 40 years. He even encouraged his guitarist to shine in a solo, but reminded her “we are all with you”. As a coach/ manager, on a scale of 1 to 10, how would your Direct Reports rate your ability to empathize with them, their feelings and challenges?

In conclusion, Michael Jackson appeared to have demanded excellence from his dancers, singers, musicians and crew, but he earned their respect as he led by example by demanding excellence from himself, first. Do you?

In the spirit of growth,

Jim Rohn recently passed away. We wish his family all the best and are thankful for the legacy he left.


Chuck  Reynolds is a Principal and Chief Performance Officer with Excel Group Development, a Performance Solutions firm that assists organizations in enhancing management and team  effectiveness. He can be reached indirectly  by emailing our admin group. Insert 'ATTN Chuck' in the subject area. Visit them at www.ExcelGroupWorks.com 

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