What Leadership and Barry Manilow Have in Common

The year was 1978.

I had just earned a coveted spot in the school talent show. I needed a groovy song. One that oozed with awesomeness. The choice was obvious.


(If you don’t know who Barry Manilow is, he’s just like Justin Timberlake…only cooler.)

Yes, I was excited to show off my Saturday Night Fever disco diva-ness, especially since Mr. Hot would be in the audience, watching me. Mr. Hot, a third-grader, was an older man full of sophistication and charm. And mad Atari skillz.  I had already planned our wedding and had the names of our Pet Rocks picked out. All he had to do was figure out that I existed.

The day of the show finally arrived. And I was ON. I was grape-vining my little second-grade heart out. My bell bottoms and Buster Browns were a sight to behold. But the best part? Mr. Hot was watching me. And smiling! He smiled throughout the entire performance. This was good. This was really, really good. Could marriage be far behind?

After the show, he walked over to me off-stage. My mind was racing. Was he marveling at my Manilow moves? Was his love as deep as mine? Would the age difference (he was 8, I was 7) be a problem for him?

But when he finally reached me, he only grinned and said, “Did you know that during the entire performance, your fly was down?”

Good times, people. Good times.

Sometimes, a leader pours her heart out into her work (Barry crooning in the background is optional), only to realize that she made a big mistake. Publicly. In front of everyone.

It’s what you do next that matters.

Do you look for someone to blame (like, oh, maybe, I don’t know–your mother, who should have done an obligatory fly check)?

Or do you acknowledge the moment, zip up, and keep going?

Leading will have days that make you want to reconsider your career in disco dancing. But zip up your fly, laugh it off like the brave 2nd grader that I know you are, and get back up on stage again.

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1 thought on “What Leadership and Barry Manilow Have in Common”

  1. I actually needed to hear this. I have a friend who is an amazing leader and being attacked for every move. She will love to read this too. Keep inspiring all of us my incredibly talented friend.

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