Three Ways to be a Supportive Leader

 

Music producer George Martin give us a real-life look at how to be a supportive leader. Martin, you may recall, was the man who signed the Beatles to a recording contract. Martin also produced most of their work. He worked alongside them when they were just a Liverpool band, and he worked alongside them when they were over 50% of EMI’s total revenues and a worldwide phenomena. We may not understand all that their fame meant because we’ve seen others come and go like spiraling flares. Martin managed through a maelstrom.

As a leader, Martin did three things that set him apart as a great leader.

First, George Martin signed them. He believed in something he saw and heard before it was popular. He just didn’t follow the trends of the day or try to copy something already in place. He anticipated they would be different and his belief allowed them to soar. They didn’t have to explain themselves to him, rationalize their creativity. He believed and it set them free.

Second, Martin didn’t take advantage of them. He was certainly in a place to make millions, but he just made his salary from EMI. He could have, in the early days, forced his name alongside Lennon-McCartney’s on all those hit songs, but he didn’t. He, instead chose to be humble, set himself aside, and not take advantage of them.

Third, George Martin supported their efforts. Whatever they wanted to try, he patiently went along. When it was against EMI procedure to mic instruments (and it was in 1965), he fought for them. When they wanted to try new sounds, and new techniques, he didn’t look around for the “company” answer. He supported them.

What about your team? Are you a leader who believes in your team, doesn’t take advantage of them or throw water on their ideas? Do you protect the company’s way of doing things (the way we’ve always done it around here), or do you welcome radical new approaches?

Are you a supportive leader? If you are, what do you think is key to building and supporting your team?

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