3 Important Leadership Attributes I Learned from Prince

Prince A new day and I still find it unbelievable that Prince Rogers Nelson is no longer with us.  I am a big Prince fan…grew up on his music and have always loved his genuine talent and creative mind.  I remember as child watching Purple Rain, when I wasn’t supposed to, and loving the movie.  I also remember attending his concert in 2004 in Kansas City and impressed by his natural talent. He didn’t have any eccentric stage preparations..it was just his band, him playing his guitar, and his songs.  It seems as if it was just yesterday that I was sitting in the audience singing along with everyone else. To this day, Purple Rain and Adore are still my all-time favorite songs. As I listen to the tributes communicated on the radio, TV, and social media, I realize that not only did he have a profound impact on the world but he also embodied three key leadership attributes that should not be forgotten.

  1. Be genuine: Prince’s talent consisted of a musical medley of Funk, R&B, and Rock, Soul, and Pop. He had the ability to transform several genres of music and make it uniquely his own. This uniqueness extended to his fashion and stage appearance. His unique and innovative abilities enabled him to be a trendsetter in an industry where so many were trying to conform to a pre-existing pathway. It was for this reason why he was able to develop a legacy for other entertainers to respect and embrace. What are your skills and talents? Are you comfortable with being transparent of your abilities while leading others during a key transformational process?
  1. Stand in Your Truth: In 1993, everyone thought Prince was crazy when he decided to change his stage name to the symbol,
    Prince Symbol ”. Honestly, I thought it was very clever and strategic.  He sought to eliminate Warner Bros control over him and his music.  And, more importantly, he wanted this organization to transform their process of publishing music. His bold courage had a positive impact on the music industry and for other musicians following in his footsteps. Are you willing to stand in your truth, regardless of the potential adversity you may face?
  1. Invest in developing others: In a recent interview on CNN, Sheila E. shared her experiences with collaborating with Prince over the years on various projects. Particularly, her experience with the album Fabulous Life, that Prince helped to produce.  Interestingly, during her interview, she shared that Prince had the ability to bring out the best in the musicians he worked with.  Prince had a knack for wanting others to be successful and have control over their music.  In essence, he wanted to change the entertainment industry and felt empowered to do so by helping others develop their talent and being empowered as well. Hence, it isn’t surprising that he collaborated with so many of my other favorites artists, these include, but not limited to Madonna, Chaka Khan, and Sinead O’Connor. Impressive that he did not perceive the entertainment pie as limited, but big enough for all to share. Are you investing in the development of others? Or, are you fearful that as others succeed, it diminishes your ability to succeed?

I could continue this discussion of Prince’s leadership qualities and attributes, but we know that there are too many lessons to learn from such a prolific artist and business man.  May his legacy forever live on in each and every one of us.

Erica L. Anthony, Ph.D., is the CEO/Founder of Lyceum for Innovative Leadership LLC, a full service coaching, training, and consulting business seeking to assist high potential professionals with achieving their personal and professional goals. For additional information regarding Lyceum for Innovative Leadership LLC and the services offered, please visit www.innovative-leader.com.

2 thoughts on “3 Important Leadership Attributes I Learned from Prince”

  1. Erica this was so insightful, thoughtfull and a beautiful comparison of leadership and honor of Prince and his impact on those if us who had to buy albums,vtapea and CDs. Kudos!

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