I am a big fan of Ella Fitzgerald, I love her voice, it’s just so beautiful; rich, smooth and full of feeling, she brings the best out of every song.
She was incredibly talented. Yet even she needed help in order to break through and hit the big time.
I saw a story yesterday about how it was Marilyn Monroe who had helped her make that breakthrough, by helping her to play in the bigger clubs.
If you don’t know the story you can find more details here,
Basically what happened was that Ella Fitzgerald was stuck playing the smaller clubs.
So Marilyn called the Mocambo club in hollywood, which was a popular venue which was regularly visited by the biggest stars of that period. She told them that they should book Ella Fitzgerald immediately, for a full week, and if they did she would take a front table for each show, and that the press would go wild.
The manager could see how this would be great for his club and agreed.
After this Ella Fitzgerald never had to play small clubs again, she went on to become a superstar, and the rest as they say is history.
To me this is a great example of leadership and there are three lessons we can learn from Marilyn that will help to make us better leaders.
Marilyn didn’t need to do this, she was already a superstar but she wanted to use her influence to help someone else rather than just doing things for herself. We need to remember it’s not all about us, yes our position may bring us influence but we can look to use that to help others benefit
Marilyn provided Ella with the opportunity to show her talents on a bigger stage and achieve her full potential.
As leaders we have a responsibility to nurture our teams, putting them into positions where they can be successful.
Marilyn could probably have just attended a few of those evenings, but she didn’t she’d committed to attend every evening and she did just that. When we make a commitment we need to meet that commitment, this is what builds trust, and shows that we can be counted upon.
If we practise these three skills they will help us to be coming more inspiring leaders.
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