“Mama told me when I was young, come sit beside me, my only son and listen closely to what I say and if you do this it will help you some sunny day”.
This is the opening line for one of my favorite songs – Simple Man. It may be a favorite for yours too from Lynyrd Skynyard. I heard it driving to work recently while I was thinking about my day ahead. As I thought through the message of the song, I moved past my general enjoyment of this great song and the life affirming message between a mother and son. I thought about the lesson here for leadership. As such let’s take a look at some of the lyrics and link to leadership principles.
“Oh, take your time, don’t live too fast,
Troubles will come and they will pass,
You’ll find a woman and you’ll find love,
And don’t forget, son, there is someone up above.”
Life unfolds itself to each of us. One develops as a leader and we can not rush it. We will experience troubles along the way and will learn from them as we continue our journey as a leader. Leaders do not stand alone, they believe in strong relationships including an understanding that we are not alone. I will let each of you follow your own belief about “someone up above”. At the least we are surrounded right here on terra firma and we need to always remember our connection to others.
“Forget your lust for the rich man’s gold,
All that you need is in your soul,
And you can do this, oh baby, if you try,
All that I want for you, my son, is to be satisfied.”
For me these lines speak to first follow your heart and be genuine. We can not fake it for long, but so many have tried. The “gold” will follow when you listen to your heart. As a leader we need to follow our heart, be true to ourselves, and remain genuine. Only from this place can we be effective, not just for ourselves, but for those we lead. We want them to understand that leadership ability resides in all of us – in our soul, if you will. Also remember all gold can not be put in the bank. As human beings, our search for gold includes our relationship with family, friends and those we lead.
“And be a simple kind of man,
Oh, be something you love and understand,
Baby be a simple kind of man,
Oh, won’t you do this for me, son, if you can
Oh yes, I will.”
More powerful lyrics finishing with, “yes, I will”. For all of us as leaders and just plain folk, a commitment to saying “I will” is the first step on the road. This road need not be lonely, as it can be so often for a leader – remember, We Move Together.
I invite you to take a break and watch the magic.