How To Be a RockStar Leader

Rockstar Leader

When you hear the word “rockstar,” what comes to mind?

Does it conjure up visions of a stage performance where adoring fans groove to the pounding vibe of a mega-celebrity with massive adoration? Does it evoke images of limousines, red carpet struts, and mega-attention?  Perhaps it makes you think of an indulgent lifestyle where someone “gets” everything in lavish doses because of their huge persona, swelling fan base and their ability to command an army of servants to grant their every wish? Maybe an image of Mick Jagger, Bono, or even Hannah Montana?

What about in a corporate setting? Have you ever heard of an executive on a rocket ride to the top in the organizational structure being referred to as a rockstar? If you have, does the image make you think of what that person gives, or what he or she gets?


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Often times the images of a rockstar focuses mostly on their onstage performance and what they receive in return in the form of affirmation, applause, rave reviews, and lavish “things” that they get and get to do. Rarely does any attention focus on the mundane aspects of what actually creates their celebrity: hard work. (Yuck! Who wants to hear about that???)

If you ask someone if they would want to be a rockstar in their field of endeavor, that person would probably think of what they would get by being that rockstar, rather than what they would have to do and sacrifice to gain that position. Of course, this is probably normal. People think in terms of getting, rather than giving. It’s a much more pleasant thing to do.

When you think about what it takes to really become a rockstar, it boils down to talent, practice, creativity, hard work, enormous perseverance, and an intense drive to succeed. Because rockstars put in all the ingredients upfront is why they get the opportunities to succeed at such high levels. Look at the perseverance of Thomas Edison in creating the light bulb. That dude is a RockStar! He deserves his name in lights!

So, Do You Want to be a RockStar Leader?

If you answer yes, then start getting in shape, because it is going to take a Herculean effort just to get on stage. Probably, the biggest part of that effort is going to be in changing perspectives from one of a receiver to one of a giver. Give first, receive later is the very first set of “expectations recalculations” that will need to take place in your head.

And what do you give? You have to give a whole ‘lotta love.

Seth Goodin in a recent article about The Two Elements of a Great Presenter says that there are two ingredients in being a great presenter. I think that these two ingredients also apply to the formula on how to be a rockstar leader. He says this about being a great presenter:

The two elements of a great presenter

1. Respect (from the audience)
2. Love (to the audience)

There are no doubt important evolutionary reasons why this is true, but in my experience, every great presenter earns the respect of the audience (through her appearance, reputation, posture, voice, slides, introduction, etc.) and captures the attention of the audience by sending them love.

If you have ever experienced a rockstar presentation from a corporate or organizational leader, you certainly respected themgreatly and they definitely poured out much love onto and into you. They showed up as a giver. They gave you what you wanted or needed in overwhelming quantities. They came to your table ready to feed you. And you adored them for it.

See this simple recipe entitled How to Become A Rockstar from wikiHow. The article tells you the behind-the-scenes steps it takes to get to a destination called “rockstardom.” It doesn’t go into details on how to smile for the cameras, or on eating caviar on your Cheerios. It talks about the selfless steps you have to take to reach something grand.

So, if you want to be a rockstar leader, go for it! You actually have a good shot at it if you give it a try. Like the article says on becoming a rockstar, focus much more on songwriting than on performing.

Do you dream of raging fans, adoring reviews, and your name in lights? Then start your journey by serving the very people around you today and see where that takes you.

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This post was originally published at

Tom Schulte is Executive Director of Linked 2 Leadership &
CEO of
Recalibrate Professional Development.
He can be reached at

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~ by Tom Schulte on October 28, 2009.

One Response to “How To Be a RockStar Leader”

  1. great site!

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