One of our family’s favorite traditions is heading to the theater for a matinee on Christmas afternoon. This year we settled on Sing 2. It was a movie that gave our 3-year-old plenty of laughs and even included enough grown-up humor to keep my wife and I entertained. Lately, I’ve been on the lookout for leadership lessons in even the most obscure places. Could Sing 2 have a leadership lesson for me?
When I started watching the movie through the lens of leadership I wasn’t disappointed. I saw examples of vision casting, confidence building, the danger of autocratic leadership, and even a lesson on the leadership challenge of nepotism. There was even a lesson that challenged me to reflect on my own leadership a bit. Pretty impressive for a movie that has a target audience needing booster seats for the drive to the theater.
The Over Committed Koala Needs a Favor
The fate of the characters hinges on their ability to bring Clay Calloway, a former rocker with past notoriety out of reclusion. Buster and Ash, breach Calloway’s fortified hideaway and plead with him to come out of isolation and join their production. Buster explains to Calloway that he needs him to help make good on a commitment. Ultimately, Buster’s plea was not successful and he eventually leaves Ash to try her persuasive ways.
The Porcupine Rocker Connects with the Heart
Ash, the porcupine rocker, has been a lifelong fan of Calloway. She persuades with a different approach. Ash seeks to understand the cause of Calloway’s insolation. She then shares a vision where music can help bring Calloway healing from the loss of his wife. While Buster’s approach failed, the approach Ash used was ultimately successful.
As leaders, it’s easy to get caught up in the ways of Buster Moon. We might commit to something we shouldn’t have and reach out for help from those that can bail us out. When we are developing others we might focus so intently on what they can do for us, we become blind to their needs and aspirations.
A Sing 2 leadership lesson? We add value as leaders when we seek to understand the needs and aspirations of others and combine them with the organization’s needs. With this approach, we will often have far more long-term success.