Management Lessons and Susan Boyle

About 2 weeks ago I started recieving email messages, Facebook links, and tweets about a singing sensation who recently performed on the UK television show Britain’s Got Talent. If you haven’t seen it, here it is:

After watching the video I wondered about a few different feelings I had. Aside from her voice, which Piers Morgan describes as the “voice of an angel,” why was this such a viral, emotional, and powerful experience?

She didn’t “fit in” with a typical contestant. She’s not what you’d expect to see in a talent contest. We expected another William Hung performance that we could all laugh at. We expected failure just by her appearance. Watch the audience as they all lean forward and smile anxiously as she takes the stage. You know they’re all saying the same thing, “Ahh, man. This is gonna be freakin’ hilarious. Look at her!”

Everyone was ready to watch the train wreck.

All of that changed after the first note was sung by Susan Boyle. A whirlwind of emotions in a few short moments: guilt, shame, vindication, hope, and inspiration. We went from rooting against her, to cheering her on. She was given the right opportunity, the right stage, and the right audience to be fully appreciated. And she delivered — big time!

I’ve been a people manager for a long time. I’ve always been proud of the teams that I’ve put together and feel that my success in this area has always been to identify talents and strengths within each individual. Looking past what the resume or even the person says. I use this to build a complementary team so I have diversity and breadth. It allows each team member to learn from their peers and promotes growth for each person as they interact and work with each other. Each team member respects the others skills. I believe this is what distinguishes the great managers from the merely good ones.

Good managers help their employees succeed in whatever role they happen to be in. Great managers see the unique talents of each employee, and create a role that’s an outlet for those talents. Great managers remove the obstacles that prevent their employees from unleashing their talent. And they make sure each employee has the right opportunities, the right stage, the right audience, to be fully appreciated and successful.

Susan Boyle is a phenomenal person to keep in mind as you manage your employees. Nobody knew who she was until her proverbial stage was set. As a manager, have you set the stage for each of your team members to be successful? In front of the right audience?

When you do, prepare to watch a superstar in the making.

About the author

Terry Blanchard

I'm the Vice President of Engineering at Readdle, ex-Apple, design evangelist, drummer, and gadget junkie extraordinaire.

3 thoughts on “Management Lessons and Susan Boyle”

  1. Yes I agree you do have to identify the talents and strengths within each individual, but you also have to help develop them with training courses and in Susan’s case she has a great voice, but has been passed by due to her personal image, which will now chance as she chances and develops. She will need guidance on how to adapt and develop her style which is suited to her lifestyle, career goals, budget and most importantly her wardrobe personality. The way we dress gives out messages about our personality and we are judged 55% on the way we look. Hence why I wrote the books “Being Truly You – Discovering Your Own Unique Wardrobe Personality”. I just hope she gets the right advice to suit her, so that she feels good as well as looks good.

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