Susan Boyle and her Lessons for Leadership

Have you heard of Susan Boyle? May be not but her story is worthwhile relating as there is an interesting leadership lesson in her rise to become a star.

She was the singing sensation on a British television talent contest. When she first appeared on the show, you could see the audience cringe. The judges, amongst them Simon Cowell, known also from American Idol, rolled their eyes.

Then, when she started to sing, everybody gasped and was amazed about the beauty of her voice.

When I saw her video on YouTube (her song was downloaded 200 million times), I was also blasted away as well. I started to wonder, why it took so long for her to come out.

There is a leadership lesson here.

Do you know the talents around you? How many talents are hidden in organisations and not discovered? May be they gave up a while ago, may be they were never really challenged or may be they were pushed aside one time too many.

How many talents are not discovered for whatever reasons. How many could contribute to your company, to society, or even to friends around them, but they believe that they are not worthwhile doing this.

But the story about Susan Boyle is not yet finished.

In the finals of the show, she was the favourite. But her behaviour became erratic already a week before the final show. She cracked during the finals and became the runner-up. Disappointment was written all over her face.

Next thing I heard, she was in the hospital. Due to mental and emotional exhaustion.

Isn’t this another leadership lesson?

How many times do we promote or hire people who are not ready to take on bigger roles and more responsibilities. They have been trained in all the technicalities. Delegation skills, time management, may be even a short course on Emotional Intelligence. All nice and well because it is necessary. But then, who took care of the mindset involved. Getting a promotion and becoming a leader is a big step, don’t you agree? It takes a totally different mindset to manage a different set of challenges.

Many newly appointed leaders crack, just like Susan Boyle. Some who have been promoted show sudden lack of confidence, low self-esteem, uncertainty, fear, and what not.

In their head they have one mantra:

“Who am I to be here?”

“Do I really deserve this?”

“What will happen if they find out that I am not that clever as it seems?”

These negative thoughts keep running and running and then, they become the self-fulfilling prophecy. Another leader, so promising before, that fails.

It seems so hard to identify these issues earlier.

In my NLP Trainings, many participants initially come with lack of confidence, or low self esteem. In my coaching sessions, there are many that are desperately trying to cope, running agains the wall, over and over again.

This is the lesson that Susan Boyle teaches us. We need to look out for the talents in our organisation. Those that are quietly doing their thing. Those that are on the way to give out. Those that are disengaged.

There is a need to support those that are going to get promoted.


Andreas is the founder of Asia Mind Dynamics and a certified trainer of internationally recognised certification programmes:

  • Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) with the American Board of Neuro Linguistic Programming (ABNLP),
  • NLP Coach Training with the Coaching Division of ABNLP,
  • The Words That Change Minds -Language and Behaviour Profile of which he also is one of 17 Global Master Trainers
  • Creating Your Future Coaching™ Techniques at the Masters Level with the International Timeline Therapy Association
  • Hypnosis with the American Board of Hypnotherapy (ABH)
  • Master Trainer with the International Association of Counsellors and Therapists (IACT).

We also train companies to achieve higher performance especially through our signature programmes on Leadership, Sales and Advanced Communications.

To find out more about us or our programme and what makes us so very different as trainer and coaches, send an email to andreas.dorn AT or contact us at +6012 287 5048.

You can also follow us on Twitter or find us on FaceBook.

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