I just watched a series on HBO called “The Defiant Ones”. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I just thought it was a story about Dr. Dre and NWA’s rise to superstardom. I can’t say I was a huge fan of the music, but I do like a good success story. As always, I’m steadily looking for leadership lessons in everything and this documentary provided me with an unexpected epiphany. And it didn’t have anything to do with Dr. Dre or NWA.
There were two story tracks. One followed Dr. Dre and the other followed Jimmy Iovine. I had never really heard of Mr. Iovine before and honestly was only halfway listening during his storyline. The show kept flipping between Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine and their separate careers, which ultimately culminated in the two of them meeting and having huge success together with the Beats headphones business and it’s subsequent sale to Apple for 3.2 Billion dollars.
As the story lines continued, Jimmy Iovine began to intrigue me. His music genre was more rock & roll and punk in the beginning before he delved into hip hop. It wasn’t what he said or did that attracted my attention.
It was how all of the superstars spoke of him.
The common theme I heard was that Jimmy was only interested in making them successful. His goal was to show the world what he saw in that particular artist. In order to do that, he had to make the artists dig deep and believe in themselves.
He was very good at promotion and marketing. He utilized his skills to get his artists out in front of the masses, so his company could eventually capitalize. He built one of the largest music labels in history, using this technique.
This all made me think about servant leadership and how leaders are supposed to develop leaders, which led to my epiphany.
The only thing better than being the most successful person in the room, is being the person that helped them get there.
All of the musicians and artists on this show gave Jimmy the highest praise. Everyone from Bono, Snoop Dogg, Tom Petty, Gwen Stefani, Eminem, Bruce Springsteen and many other artists all said the same things about Jimmy Iovine. Some guy who I’ve never heard of.
That’s the mark of a truly influential person. As great as we think all of those artists are, they all looked up to Mr. Iovine!
I work with a gentleman who has a quote at the bottom of his email that says some thing like,
“Imagine how much work we could get done if no one cared who got the credit for it”.
I’m going to continue putting the focus on others and attempting to help them reach their full potential. I feel like this will be much more personally rewarding than promoting myself. I also feel like if my team knows I have their best interest at heart, they will be more willing to accomplish pre-determined goals. That’s influence through servant leadership.
Servant leadership places the focus on the person being served. It’s about them.
People will go out of their way to help you when you do the same for them. It’s pretty simple. True leaders develop leaders.