#shrm13, Leadership Style, and Concert Attendance Rules

by Matthew Stollak on Friday, June 21, 2013



Can one tell a person's management/leadership style by how they follow the "rules" of concert attendance?

Well, the SHRM Annual Conference has come to an end.  Lots of great speakers, SWAG, fun, networking and tweets.  However, the highlight for some was the double dose of musical greatness - the tweet-up at the House of Blues with DJ Jazzy Jeff on Monday, and the Tuesday night entertainment with Kelly Clarkson.   Yet, for others, actions at the concerts tainted their conference-going experience.  Let's set the stage (pun intended):
  • Both events were "free" - One simply had to register at Eventbrite to attend the DJ Jazzy Jeff party.  Meanwhile, the Kelly Clarkson ticket was included as a benefit of attending the SHRM Conference.  Its not a tipping point on the conference attendance decision. No one is saying "I would have attended SHRM Annual, but Kelly Clarkson is the entertainer, so I'm not going."  I've been to SHRM Annual 13 times, and have attended the Tuesday night entertainment only three times.
  • Seating is general admission - For DJ Jazzy Jeff, it was an open floor concept - no seating whatsoever.  For Kelly Clarkson, it was first come, first served.  People were lining up hours in advance so that they could grab a chance to sit as close to the front as possible.
Yet, when the concerts began, reactions were mixed.  Some loved it.  Others were visibly upset, and expressed it vociferously on Twitter.  Some individuals were getting shushed while enjoying the concert.  One went on a long rant about he/she got to the event early to carve out an excellent space for viewing the event, and others dared to infringe on that space by rushing the stage and filling the aisles when the concert started.

Now, one of the unwritten rules of attending a rock concert is that people generally crowd to the front when the music starts, particularly at a general admission show.  Also, people stand during the concert, perhaps blocking one's view.  It's to be expected.

But, it also got me thinking about the notion of the familiar topics of transactional vs. transformational leadership.   Transactional leadership focuses "on increasing the efficiency of established routines and procedures and are more concerned with following existing rules than with making changes to the structure of the organization."  Whereas, transformational leaders "engage with followers, focus on higher order intrinsic needs, and raise consciousness about the significance of specific outcomes and new ways in which those outcomes might be achieved."

Were those individuals complaining about the violation of unwritten concert attendance rules likely to have a more transactional view of managing people at work? 

2 comments

I love this post. I think more HR Pros need to break the rules and go to the front if they want a better view :). It would be interesting to know the demographics of those that pushed their way to the front vs. those that sat in the back tweeting. My guess is that most at the front standing were in talent acquisition, the ones in the back complaining were probably in compliance :). No offense intended, but in my experience recruiting pushes the boundaries, others keep us in check (thank goodness):).

by Jeremy Roberts on June 21, 2013 at 8:46 AM. #

Thanks for the moment, Jeremy. Good to meet you at #shrm13

by Matthew Stollak on June 21, 2013 at 11:24 AM. #

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