Lessons on Leadership and Performance Management from Kristin Chenoweth

From the archives, a viral video of Kristin Chenoweth at the Hollywood Bowl

What appears like spontaneous magic is a great example of a true connection when a leader provides space for another to risk and succeed. Like all good leaders, Kristin Chenoweth “sets the stage for success” with the preface of Sarah Horn’s performance. Her subtle guidance in humorous directions provides firm footing and foundation.

Is Kristin taking a risk by bringing Sarah on stage? If she doesn’t know Sarah’s abilities, then yes; however, Kristin clearly has the confidence to take charge of the situation, she has the ability to fill in and around a weaker singer’s in service of the song. In this case, it wasn’t necessary, Sarah’s level of talent allowed Kristin to use her full voice without having to compensate or correct, and the song soared.

At 3:40, the singers facing each other, Kristin demonstrates that the performance has become a partnership.  At 3:43, she directs her attention fully to her own stage performance, thus allowing each to be fully involved in a greater demonstration of her own abilities. Kristin is collaboratively including Sarah in a capitivating vocal journey, knowing that Sarah is up to the task. Look at the leadership nuance when, at 3:45, Kristin, subtly shifts both of them, now peers, to fully face the audience, united in a true shared performance.

Throughout, Kristin imbues Sarah with permission, support and delight. It takes confidence to haul an audience member on stage, give her a mike and a challenging duet. It takes leadership to create a collaborative and mutually supportive experience.

After the applause, as Sarah is leaving the stage, Kristin again provides an example of women sponsoring other women, with the statement ‘That voice is teaching our young people.’ Kristin gives further accolade to Sarah; providing another way for the audience to further appreciate Sarah’s talents, and for Sarah to be set apart from Kristin on her own merit, beyond the immediate performance, validating Sarah’s capacity as a singer and a teacher, and that the contribution that Sarah makes to music equals Kristin’s.

A great example of personnel development, performance management and exceptional leadership. Leaders come in all shapes and sizes. Leaders are also made, not born. The behaviors evidenced by the best leadership practices can be taught, learned, and mastered.

Kristin Chenoweth: The Tony award winning actress/singer known for playing Glinda in the Broadway production of Wicked.

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