Who Should Lead?

I think about each day and figure out what lesson I learned from it. Then I share each lesson on this blog…


The band Genesis had a string of successful hits in their early years when they were headed by Peter Gabriel (who went on to become a musical pioneer and legend on his own). They did not become one of pop music’s biggest icons, though, until they gave their drummer a shot at leading the band–a guy named Phil Collins.

Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins both led the band successfully, and both went on to build musical legacies of their own, but there is no doubt when Phil Collins took the reigns on Genesis, the band soared up the charts. The other two band members remained the same, only the lead singer changed. Incidentally, after Phil Collins left and another lead singer was chosen, the band disappeared into obscurity.

The same is true of The Commodores–one of the biggest soul/funk bands of the seventies and eighties (I guess I am dating myself here–clearly I was a child of the 80’s). The Commodores had moderate success as a funk band early on but again, their biggest hits came when they let their eager saxophonist take a shot at the lead vocals. Lionel Richie led The Commodores through their greatest period of success before venturing out to dominate the charts on his own.

What fascinates me about these stories is that the best leader was already on the team–they just needed a chance to shine. Sometimes the person in charge is not always the best person to lead the charge.

Even though these bands already had talented people in front, when they recognized the promise of one of their other team members and supported that person everyone enjoyed unparalleled success. Just as obvious, when the right leader left the band, neither band was able to attain its former glory (though the leader that left went on to do even bigger and better work).

Who is leading your team? If it is you, are you the right leader for your team right now? Tough question, but one that is worth pondering if the goal is the team’s success.