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The Hardest Working Man in Business? Management Lessons from Daddy Spears

When it seems like you can’t turn to any news source without hearing about another round of layoffs or budget cuts, it’s nice to hear that there’s at least someone getting a raise in this economy…even if it is for Jamie Spears – a.k.a. Britney’s dad. 

Last week an L.A. court gave him a generous bump in pay for managing his daughter’s estate - to the tune of $75 an hour. (That’s $12,000 per month, y’all!)  Hmmm…I guess I can see that.  I mean, “Daddy” Spears must be doing something right, right?  

After all, less than a year after his daughter had a very public nervous breakdown and he took over managing his daughter’s estate so she could recover from personal and professional hardship, she staged yet another comeback – including a best-selling album and an upcoming world concert tour that’s quickly selling out. 

Talk about resiliency…that kind of thing doesn’t happen by accident.

So it occurs to me that perhaps, as employees face personal and professional difficulties and strive to look toward future opportunities, managers could take some cues from the guy who could very well be the hardest working man in business (show or otherwise):

  • Show your vulnerable side - Be honest about the challenges your company is facing – the news may not be good, but focus on the opportunities these challenges open up. (And in most circumstances, it won’t be necessary to communicate this in the form of an MTV special or a cover story in People.)  Encourage your staff to ask questions, voice concerns or contribute ideas, which gives your employees a sense of confidence and control about the situation.
  • Build a loyal fan base – Part of why Brit Brit was able to come back was that she had such a strong fan base from the beginning, who truly wanted to see her succeed. Think of your employees as the fan base you want to cultivate. Part of what determines your company’s success will depend heavily on the culture you’ve built, which determines how strongly your employees will work toward that success.
  • Create buzz – For Britney, it was leaking her single on iTunes and announcing a live performance on GMA. For you, energizing your base might be slightly more subtle. This recent New York Times post explains the importance of – and genius simplicity in – improving morale and production with (often uncomplicated and inexpensive) team building activities.
  • Give them what they want to see - As in, a leader.  According to a study from the Center for Creative Leadership, your success as a leader is tied to “your ability to project an authentic leadership presence in the eyes of employees…” If you’re (forgive me) Britney Spears, then the conference room is your stage – own it. Your employees expect you to be the image of calm, confidence, inspiration and good judgment right now.  Don’t disappoint.