3 Leadership Lessons from Reality TV

I know reality TV is more about TV than reality, but sometimes I cry when I watch American Idol. It’s a show where undiscovered singers audition in front of celebrities from the music industry.

Leaders who love results but ignore the beauty of aspiration exploit people.

Monkey out on a limb.

Fools scoff but wisdom cheers when someone puts feet to aspiration

What you see reflects what’s in your heart.

Wisdom sees aspiration where others see weakness.

3 lessons from reality TV:

Three things make me cry when I watch American Idol.

  1. Humble aspiration.
  2. Truth with kindness.
  3. Wise advice.

#1. Respect humble aspiration.

Fools scoff but wisdom cheers when someone puts feet to aspiration.

Arrogant aspiration feels entitled and misunderstood. You can’t help know-it-alls. But humble aspiration deserves a response richer than indifference.

I love seeing undiscovered singers wonder if they’re talented enough to make it after giving their best. Humble aspiration is hungry and open.

Jump up and down in the presence of humble aspiration.

Aspiration apart from action congeals into disappointment.

Heart

What you see reflects what's in your heart.

#2. Give truth with kindness.

Luke Bryan told one contestant on American Idol, “That was a great performance, but I have a big ole feeling that it’s not your best performance to come.”

What happens when you remove, “That was a great performance,” from Luke’s statement?

Kindness makes hard truth sing.

Cold-blooded truth is rigid, uncaring, and brittle.

Hard truth provokes defensiveness and discouragement.

Kind truth opens hearts.

#3. Share wise advice:

Humble aspiration seeks feedback and enjoys advice.

Occasionally, a celebrity judge says, “Your rhythm is off. Snap your fingers while you sing.” Everything changes.

Sometimes they ask contestants to sing something else. The second song seems to come from a different person.

Don’t pressure people to become more like you.

Wise advice enables people to discover their own talent.

What leadership lessons might you offer from Reality TV shows?