Although I’ve never mentioned this before, this week I simply can’t hide it: I’m a huge Beyoncé fan. More than that, I have always admired the way she dances into her power.
This week marked another milestone in her stellar career, as she launched the first video album of all time. This one broke sales records in 104 countries overnight. (Wouldn’t you love to duplicate even a fraction of that success?)
If you’re not yet a Beyoncé fan, you might be wondering why she’s the topic of this week’s blog. My tribe is leaders: mostly women, as well as some remarkable men, so you might be wondering what this eccentric—and frankly, supremely sexual—artist could contribute to our conversation about Leadership and Powerful Presence.
As it turns out, she contributes quite a lot. Here’s why:
- She’s conscious of her actions and her impact. Think about all the leadership skill it took to pull off the coup she did on Friday night! That she designed, created and collaborated this big a project with a community of people who were so committed to its success that no one leaked a word of it in two years is a tribute to her prowess.
- She’s comfortable in her own skin. A huge part of Beyoncé’s magnetism is that she clearly owns her body. There’s not one self-conscious bone in that body either—she carries herself like a Queen. As a role model for powerful women, this is a contribution of major proportions. When you add to it her ability to break through social taboos and her willingness to handle her inevitable mistakes as learning opportunities, her impact is undeniable.
- She focuses her attention where it will generate the most positive results. When the hue and cry went up in the media when it was revealed that her singing of the National Anthem at President Obama’s second inauguration this year was supplemented by a voice track, she made no comment. She focused her energy on singing it again at the Super Bowl Press Conference a few weeks later. Her performance left no doubt in anyone’s mind about the power of her voice—and her skill at focusing her Attention.
Why Beyoncé Matters to Women Leaders
Before I tell you why I think she does, let me make one critical caveat.
Given the huge differences in work context between Beyoncé’s work world of entertainment and ours in the business arena, let me assure you that I would never suggest that we dress as she does, or flaunt our sexuality as she does, at our places of work. It simply doesn’t translate into Powerful Presence for us.
And yet, when you look past the image she portrays as an entertainer who is also an artist as well as a leader, you will see a personal power and confidence that every business leader can benefit from.
What would happen if leaders simply modeled her spirit—instead of her outfits—so we could embody her power and confidence? When we look past that image, we can see what lies beneath it: something that in the business world might look very much like Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, in her TED talk.
How You Can Model Beyoncé’s Powerful Presence
- Be conscious of your actions and your impact. Discover where your own strengths lie, instead of wasting your awareness on your weaknesses and liabilities. Get super-conscious of your own genius: those things that are so easy for you it’s hard to believe that everyone else can’t do them. Just like no one else has Beyoncé’s genius, no one else has yours. Let her inspire you to discover it.
- Feel comfortable in your own skin. Although we’ve been socialized to critique our bodies instead of feel comfortable in them, we can learn to embrace our own skin. Women been taught to have so much shame around our own sexuality that it’s hard for many of us to feel comfortable with what is naturally our birthright. When you get in touch with the beauty that’s innately yours—no matter WHAT Madison Avenue would have you believe—you’ll be amazed at how easily comparing yourself to others will fade from your repertoire. Beyoncé clearly honors her beauty and embraces her sexuality. She embodies the potential for the rest of us to do it as well.
- Focus your Attention where it will generate the most positive results. Focus your Attention on what you want and what it will take to achieve it. Replace your fears of what might happen to ruin it or what might get in the way of achieving it with a focused confidence that you have what it takes to get what you want. That confidence is magnetic to others and gives them a reason to want to support you. Beyoncé engaged a community of people for two years with the impact she knew this project would have on the planet. They kept her secret and sustained her surprise. Use her example to surprise the world in your own way.
No matter what you may have thought of Beyoncé before this, I hope this blog will inspire you to look again—and dance even more into your own power.
Post your thoughts about what you discover!