Love him or hate him – you have to admit Eminem is a creative and talented guy. What’s interesting is you can learn a lot about leadership just by listening to his lyrics (if you can get past the f-bombs and other assorted provocative lyrics).
Let’s look at some of Eminem’s lyrics and explore how the concepts he shares can be applied to your own personal leadership philosophy and style. For those of you who have been readers for a while, you’ll recall I did something similar a while back in my Leadership: Metallica Style post. Since that one was a hit, I figure doing something similar with Eminem lyrics can be provocative too.
I’d ask you to set aside judgment of the artist and instead open your mind to finding leadership in innovative places. You might be surprised by what you can learn if you suspend bias and look for insight. So here goes… let’s drop some bombs.
Now this looks like a job for me
So everybody just follow me
Cuz we need a little controversy
Cuz it feels so empty without me
As a leader, when is the last time you stepped up and created some controversy? Are you someone who agitates for and leads change or are you a status quo kinda person who doesn’t want to rock the boat? Leadership is about getting out in front and showing people new ways of doing things. Sometimes doing so makes you a pariah. Sometimes you’ll fail. Sometimes you’ll have wild success. Such is the mantle of leadership.
Look for something that’s not working in your organization. Provoke change. Don’t be afraid to put forth some controversial perspectives that challenge the way things are done. Nothing changes if no one agitates for that change.
If you had one shot, or one opportunity
To seize everything you ever wanted in one moment
Would you capture it… or just let it slip?
Leaders take risks – plain and simple. We all know opportunities pass by every day. The difference maker in all of that is whether you reach out and grab it and take the risk or if you play it safe and let it pass you by. Is there a dream role you’ve ever taken or passed up? How has that decision affected your life? How do you force yourself to get off the dime and take action? Is there an employee you’ve taken a risk on (or not taken one on)? How did that choice work out?
Every day is filled with opportunities. I challenge you to see them all around you and jump on the ones that give you a chance to make a difference. If you find you’re hesitant to do so, maybe you need to improve your decision making skills or write a leadership maxim dedicated to taking action (which is Chapter 13 in One Piece of Paper for those of you who have already bought the book).
Let’s get down to business
I don’t got no time to play around, what is this
Must be a circus in town, let’s shut the $#!} down
On these clowns, can i get a witness?
Focus. How often do you deal with clowns who create drama, distractions, and chaos? Are you the type of leader who can sift through all that noise and get your team to focus? Do you have a strong enough personality that you can shut down the nonsense quickly and directly so the team can get down to business? Because that’s your job – focusing your team and helping them execute. If you’re able to highlight what is core to the problem at hand and you can weed out the distractions, your team will be much more effective and productive.
Look – I know Eminem isn’t everyone’s cup of tea (and I know at least one of you reading this will criticize my inclusion of random symbols in place of an expletive but to that person I ask – have you ever sworn? If so, don’t judge.). I’m simply using his thoughts as a vehicle for teeing up a few points about taking risks, cutting through the B.S., and stepping up to create a little controversy in the interest of moving your business forward.
So go stir things up. Make stuff happen. That’s what they’re paying you for as a leader.
Learn how to create your personal leadership philosophy in my book One Piece of Paper: The Simple Approach to Powerful Personal Leadership. The book will guide you through generating your own set of powerful leadership stories.
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