I’ve always wanted to go to the Glastonbury Festival. It’s a major music event in England that began in 1970 with 1,500 fans and has grown to over 200,000 attending annually. Think Woodstock and you’ll have an idea—a big field in the English countryside with a wide diversity of musicians and something for everyone, including quite a bit of peace, love, and camaraderie. And, when it rains, it’s about as muddy as you can get.
I watched some of the last festival on TV and really loved a number of the acts. I particularly liked seeing Kylie Minogue making a comeback. (This shows my age, but I sang along!)
As I was watching one performer, he beckoned a young man from the audience to come on to stage to sing with him. I’ve seen that sort of thing happen before, and it’s always nice to see fans close to their idols.
As I watched UK’s rapper star Dave talk to 15-year-old Alex, who had been freshly plucked from the crowd, the teenager hung on every word of instruction from his hero. Then suddenly Alex had a microphone in his hand and the intro music was playing. What happened next was stunning. Alex proceeded to sing the track with Dave, and he didn’t make a slip. He knew all the lyrics and sang as if it was his own concert. Every so often he looked to his star partner for reassurance, but beyond that he was away and performing. It was great to see.
Social media went mad about it, both because of Dave’s kindness and Alex’s flawless talent. Alex had a bit of luck, because Dave could have chosen someone else to come on stage, but when he had his chance, he was ready. Despite his nerves, he stepped into the moment.
The whole experience reminded me that there is always so much talent in the crowd, but it’s silent because it’s not on stage. In any event or circumstance, whether music, sport, or organizational, leaders always have the opportunity to give others the chance to be in front and wow the crowd with their talent—and perhaps wow themselves at what they are capable of doing.
The very best of performers, musicians, and leaders never forget that there is far more ability in the people in front of them than they will ever have.
Having a platform is a privilege, and if we have one we should use it for good. We should stand on it with humility. Dave recognized the talent of his young stage guest and cared for him during and after their impromptu performance.
Whether at Glastonbury or in an organization, those who are lucky enough to take center stage should always remember that they are truly just one of the crowd. Are we willing to surrender our own moments on occasion to launch someone else’s? A smart leader looks for when the time is right for this kind of generosity.
Aspire Health Alliance