This season the hit reality show “The Voice” has a new atmosphere about it. At least I think so.

My reason for watching it is now more than just entertainment, something new has surfaced. Oh I still watch it to see the competition of new talent arise from an unknown to star status reaching the top of the music boards.

However, I now watch it to learn how I can be more influential. What techniques, styles, approaches can be used to influence the choices of an individual in less than 2 minutes. Think of trials and tribulations of change in your organization, the choices that need to be made, quickly and decisively. A leader with this skill set will be able to smoothly guide you through the highs and lows of transformation, with a smile on your face!

How is “The Voice” becoming an educational platform? Certainly the artists (contestants) have the same heart felt stories as past seasons, the talent is just as good or maybe better. What has changed? My opinion – this season’s coaches’ panel.

Each coach brings their unique style to the show. You have Adam Levine, and Blake Sheldon, both long standing anchors on this show. They both bring the desire to win, enthusiasm, fun and their expertise. They certainly take a strong stake in the ownership of their team/artist. They have no problem fighting for the right to have an artist choose one of them as their coach. All type of tactics arise to the surface. It makes for a fun show. Gwen Stefani, a new coach this season fits in the lineup well, bringing her talents and showcasing the differences between herself and others, hoping that will influence the artist’s decisions. Then there is Pharrell Williams, who is driving the cultural shift of the show to a different level.

Let’s remember the coaches must convince the new artist, someone they never met, to choose them as a coach in less than 1-2 minutes of a conversation and when their endorphins are running wild! This quick decision has major long term implications.

First for the artist, they know that the longer they participate in this show, the more exposure they will receive, the closer they come to a recording contract and a sustainable music career. This is their deep desire, and choosing a coach that will mentor, support and help them grow is their next step. It is a life changing decision.

Second for the coaches, competition is in everyone’s blood and even these famous musicians want to win, so when they hear talent, they want them on their team, to win (yes to help them too). They too have an ultimate goal to be recognized in the eyes of the public that they were responsible for the success of a new artist.

So what has changed from past seasons?

Pharrell Williams. I must admit, my expose to Pharrell was just “Happy” the song that plays over and over on everyone’s playlist. And a great song too!

However, now I have seen a different side of Pharrell that is teaching me about leadership. I am so impressed with his approach to influence these inexperienced artists to choose him as a coach over the others. I am equally impressed with the feedback he provides an artist, keeping them motivated and inspired. I even heard side comments from the other coaches that they were impressed at how good Pharrell was at keeping the artists motivated after a negative encounter when they are not chosen.

Why is Pharrell Williams the type of leader everyone would love to experience?

  1. He has a calm demeanor which relaxes the artists while they are listening to him speak. Reducing stress even for a short moment, allows your listening skills to kick in and comprehend the conversation. Think about the time when you met with your boss during difficult times. If there was tension in the air, were you able to truly listen?
  2. He compliments his competition. Pharrell truly wants to see that artist are successful. Whether or not they choose him or Blake, Adam or Gwen he openly compliments the value the other coaches can bring to the table. He provides examples and creates an atmosphere where the choice of the artist is based on alignment of their musical paths to the coaches’ area of expertise. He provides an outcome where the artist is happy about their decision. In business, how often do you compliment competition, co-workers, and teams even when it may take attention away from you? When you are on the receiving side and experience this, how did it make you feel, did you change how you made decision?
  3. He is authentic, transparent and honest. Not that the other judges are not being themselves, however Pharrell is focused on presenting well-articulated constructive feedback to the artist, where the artist is almost thanking him for not choosing them to be on the show right now because now they realize they were not ready for this level of competition. In business these are three attributes that rank high on the list of leading characteristics of a leader.
  4. The last point for today, he does all of this with a smileon his face. Watch as he delivers his message – then a smile. When awaiting for a response, he authentically smiles. He delivers empathy through his demeanor. Leaders should learn to embrace this simply but powerful attribute.

I enjoy “The Voice,” the artists, all the coaches, and the entertainment of the show. However now, each week, I also look forward the lessons Pharrell Williams is going showcase about leadership.

Written by: Carey G MacConnell

Vice President and Co-Founder of Voyager Leadership Training LLC

Growing confident, competent leaders through simple proven techniques.

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