Is it bad if I listen to Taylor Swift at the gym? Or is it only bad if I admit that I do?
While no one wants to admit to listening, everyone secretly loves her.
Recently Taylor reached another milestone that few saw coming. Fortune listed Taylor Swift as number six on the list of the 50 greatest world leaders. Yep, right there between India's Prime Minister and the physician who led the charge in pressuring the global medical community to sufficiently handle the Ebola virus is Taylor Swift...and Kanye is not storming her stage on this one.
How did this young woman who recorded the milestones of being "Fifteen" and "Twenty-Two" find herself as a high ranking world leader at 25 years old? Isn't that too young? Some people think so. Other people do not.
While her ranking may have confused some, one thing is clear: Leaders everywhere can learn and find value in her model.
In honor of her ranking, here are 6 leadership lesson from Taylor Swift.
1. Use every platform available, but abuse none of them.
Taylor seems great at everything. Her talent is not what speaks to me, it is her poise. She has done all of this as a strong, young and commanding woman. She has spoken about the tension of being a female in a male dominated industry, very well I may add. What strikes me is how she does it. She does not flippantly share her opinions or abuse her voice. I view Taylor as a person who lets action be her platform. Her success gives empowerment to her cause. Instead of talking she seems to be doing. This communicates class to me. We should take note. Find fewer platforms to be loud from and more to silently build.
2. Don't be afraid of bold moves.
In 2014 Taylor pulled her music from Spotify. In an age of streaming, this was huge. She broke the rules. Her belief is that artists should put the proper value on their art and be paid accordingly. Say what you will, she has guts. Her bold move will leave the streaming business different in ways yet to be seen. What would life look like if you took the risk that you have been putting off? You may leave your industry different. You may find yourself changed too.
3. Strive for greatness.
Taylor has built an empire. From her early days of being the sole artist at a small record company in Nashville to maintaining control of the details of her live show, she does not shy away from being in control. I appreciate the fact that, even at a young age, she knows what she wants and shrewdly makes it happen. Do not shrink back from the vision you have for your life. Take charge of your future and make greatness happen.
4. People are the best cause.
Taylor appears to shine her celebrity on people over any other social issue. Recently she sent nearly $2,000 to a fan to help them pay off a student loan. Why? Because people matter. She also gained attention for writing a long supportive note to a fan on Instagram who was subjected to online bullying. Why? Because that little girl mattered. While major causes merit our attention, we are able to have great impact by focusing on one person at a time.
5. Find a plan that works and work it.
Currently Taylor is worth 200 million, 60 million of that from album sales.
What is fascinating is that she uses the exact same strategy to launch each new album. Taylor found a plan that works and she sticks to it. In her is the rare blend of creativity and strategy, equal commitment to both. So often I see leaders get enamored with a new idea or so impatient waiting for a result that they never devise a plan. The most successful people have a plan, most of them even borrow it from somewhere else, and stick to it!
6. Live authentically.
I do not know Taylor Swift, but something about her makes me feel like I do. She has an ability to shrink the gap between herself and others. From engaging with her fans on social media to walking the streets of her neighborhood with no entourage, she seems like a real person. She has proven that approachability and kindness never go out of style. Do people feel like they get the real you or some pre-packaged version? Learn to be your real self, that is what those around you need.
By weaving some of these ideas into your leadership, will you end up on a Fortune ranking? Maybe. Maybe not. What you will do is find yourself making some kind of difference. Even if success comes a little later for you than it did for Taylor, keep leading bravely!