From leader to rockstar – and from collaborator to fan

In the post-pandemic business world, meaningful relationships are your main competitive advantage.


I think leaders have a lot to learn from rock bands. Last year, a few months after the start of the pandemic, I went to a Die Toten Hosen concert. Two hours later, I emerged from the stadium with a broken voice, thirsty, and a little beat up. But I was happy to have experienced an unforgettable moment.

And I wasn’t the only one who felt this way.

On the faces of the 10 thousand souls who enjoyed the concert besides me, I found the same happiness, enthusiasm, and satisfaction. Our combined verdict was unanimous: the band had given it their all on stage and had held absolutely nothing back. We came out of the stadium far richer than we had walked in.

So, how can leaders like us be more like Die Toten Hosen? How can we forge such unbreakable bonds with our teams? And how can we turn them into our fans?

Since the start of the pandemic, the productivity of our collaborators hasn’t budged an inch. Even as they juggle family life and domestic duties, they always put in the effort. And they keep going the extra mile every day — even as lockdown fatigue understandably sets in.

But what about leaders like us? Are we really giving it our all?

Some leaders are taking the opportunity to deepen their bonds with collaborators. Rather than just checking in on their teams, these leaders are reaching out to collaborators directly, without intermediaries. They are taking advantage of remote work tools and bringing their collaborators into important conversations and meetings, encouraging them to create, think, and design projects together.

These leaders have stopped asking for reports and are more interested in hearing opinions and sharing a vision. In doing so, they are redefining the social texture of their companies. They have turned into rockstars, admired by their publics.

These deeper, more meaningful relationships have spilled down the value chain: from products to clients and providers. They are giving shape to cultures that radiate outwards, beyond their companies, and which position organizations as different and unique. Cultures that give companies a kind of mystique — the sort legendary rock bands with undying fans typically enjoy.

When leaders give it their all, their energy becomes infectious within the organization. It leads to the creation of new products and services that enrich the hearts of clients. Who, in turn, become the company’s fans, supporting the organization in both good and bad times.

These leaders have realized that no one expects them to hold all the answers. What people value in them is their capacity for authentic relationships and real connection. After all, the client experience is only as good as the employee experience that precedes it.

If you’re a leader and you still haven’t sweated it out on stage, now’s the time to do so. It’s not too late. The crowd’s chanting your name.


By Alberto Bethke, CEO y founding partner of OLIVIA