David’s son and successor, Solomon was world famous. He wowed many, including the Queen of Sheba, with his wisdom, wit and wealth. His workers exuded great charm and impressed not a few, when they appeared, attired in enchanting beauty. When they entertained the king’s guests, they left them in awe.
Yet underneath all that display and outlook rang cries for more sensitivity, more consideration. Perhaps, some kind adjustment of the obviously rigid and tough routines the workers were ‘forced’ to keep.
According to available records this part of the story was not known to King Solomon. The matter came to the fore after Solomon died and his heir, Rehoboam became king. Some persons who made Solomon looked so special and breathtaking approached the new king and laid bare the details. They expressed their long-standing frustration and requested the new king to tweak here and there their working conditions. And pledged their commitment to him. The king promised to have an answer for them some days later but he proved anything but wise when he told them ‘his little finger was bigger than his fathers’ waist, among other insensitive comments. Interestingly, he did not ask them why they did not take up the matter with his father when he was alive. Even though he got some of his fathers’ advisers to corroborate their account, he still chose the path of infamy. Again, one wonders why he did not ask his father’s advisers if they took up the matter with his father or not.
Was king Solomon ‘distant’ in any way from the ‘heart’ issues of his workers? Was he out of touch with their feelings? Was he ‘consumed’ by the bigger picture of maintaining his great father’s legacy, and his own global acclaim as the world’s custodian of wisdom that he did not notice or take more seriously the true condition of his workers? Why wasn’t a matter as important as this picked up by the antennas of the wisest king that ever lived?
The foregoing is the context into which I felt compelled to situate recent reports about the $30million suit filed by members of the Sunday Service Choir against their leader, superstar artist and entrepreneur, Kanye West. The many allegations made against Kanye came as a surprise to many of his fans. The claim sounded incongruent with the generous, kind and considerate image many have associated with Kanye over the years.
Yet because the buck stops at Kanye’s table, as it did for Rehoboam, the matter becomes one which every leader and manager of successful teams should consider closely. Men may work almost automatically following rigorous training, rehearsals and practices but they are not machines. They remain humans with their complicated bowls of emotions and moods.
The bigger lesson for those who superintend great teams and successful groups is for them to demonstrate by word and deed that they are in touch with the deeper realities of their teams. Whether directly or indirectly through delegated authorities that communicate that same understanding. Some people who have done this very well have borrowed a thing or two from the pages of famed American comedian George Burns who said, “The key to success is sincerity. If you can fake that you’ve got it made.”