By now you’ve probably heard about Miley Cyrus’ performance Sunday night at MTV’s Video Music Awards. The former Disney “Hannah Montana” star has taken a lucrative musical, television and movie career and turned it into something...interesting. As I watched her thrust, thwart and twerk like a monkey high on a case of Red Bull, I realized there’s some hidden management gems we can learn from Ms. “I Don’t Want to Be Known As a Disney Star Anymore’s” VMA stunt.
- There’s no “I” in the word “team” – Miley performed a duet with pop star Robin Thicke along with two other guest stars. At one point, Miley was on stage with all of the other performers while Robin sang his current hit. Instead of enhancing Robin’s performance, her presentation was so distracting and disturbing, I’m not sure anyone even noticed the two other guest stars on stage. As managers, our job is to help those on our team perform at their best. We’re here to support them, not to “disturb” or upstage their performance with a personal need to feed an ego or cover for our deep insecurity. A team works together to make everyone look good.
- Watch your tongue – During the performance, Miley just couldn’t keep her tongue in her mouth. It kept popping out all over the place. You would have thought she was a dog in a park catching Frisbees on a hot day. Every time they cut to a close-up shot of Miley, there was that tongue again. It looked ridiculous. As managers, we sometimes stick out our tongues too much and quite frankly, it can make us look ridiculous too. We tend to speak too much and not listen enough. When we talk without asking questions, listening and understanding, we get ourselves into trouble too.
- Play to your strengths – At a young age, Miley earned the respect of other professionals in her business along with developing millions of fans. She was a great singer, dancer and actress living the dream of so many people. The values she portrayed early in her career, both on screen and off screen, were a huge part of her success. During her VMA performance, she played to a perceived weakness in her image, rather than standing back, evaluating her position and playing to her strengths. Instead of embracing her talents and the strong image she’s developed over the years, she put all her efforts into trying to tackle her good girl image, which she sees as a weakness. Miley is not alone. We all do this in our lives. We tend to focus on perceived weaknesses instead of appreciating our talents. (How many times have you looked in the mirror and focused on the negatives in your mind of your own image?) As managers, it’s our job to stop dwelling so much on the weaknesses and learn to appreciate the strengths of our team. Then help each employee use those talents to be more successful.
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