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What Your Boss Can Learn From Bruce Springsteen

issue #6

Last weekend I was on a road trip with my son. We went to Virginia Beach to see Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. This was somewhere around my eleventy-seventh Bruce show since the 1980’s; it was my son’s first.

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This trip was something we’ve talked about for a long time. One of the things I promised when we were talking about doing this was that we would end up right where we were, standing right in front of the stage with no one between us and the band. I had no business promising that because I had no way of knowing I could make that dream come true.

Sometimes things work out the way they should.  We stood and watched the show from the barricade in front of the stage and were often inches from Bruce and the band. But this isn’t about father/son road trips. Nor is it about how dreams will not be thwarted.

This is about watching a Bruce Springsteen concert and about seeing that he understands something that so many bosses who aren’t The Boss don’t.

The Boss On Management

Sometimes, we were so close we were behind him

Sometimes, we were so close we were behind him

I’m not a music critic, I am a fan. I’m not going to go into the details of the show. What I will tell you is that if you are a Bruce fan and you do not have tickets, you should break open the piggy bank. The man is in his mid 60’s and still rocks harder than any three twenty-somethings. The band matches his abilities and seems as if they’ll play as hard and long as he wants to go on a given night.

But what can bosses learn about management from this guy? After all Bruce Springsteen is just a musician.

Well, not really. He is also the leader of a band. One could make the case that an unsuccessful band is more like a charity, but a successful one like E Street is an industry and its leader, a business man. As goes the band, so goes Bruce. When The Boss is successful, the band and a lot of other folks are able to pay their bills.

I have no idea how the man conducts his business out of the public eye. And from my spot there at the front of the stage, I think I saw a big reason why the band works so hard.

At the end of the show, Springsteen and The E Street Band took their well deserved bows. They headed toward the ramp at the rear of the stage to end the show. As I’ve seen him do time and again, Bruce stopped at the top of the ramp.

Tough Times Don’t Exclude Respect

We live in a time where the little guy is not so popular. People and their families are tossed aside to satisfy the bottom line. The people at the top neither know nor care for the people below. I once worked for someone who could call me by name. More recently, I worked for someone who couldn’t be bothered to acknowledge my presence in the elevator. I’ll leave it to you to guess who motivated me more.

Times are tough. People are grateful for work. That does not entitle managers to treat them as if they’re fortunate to have work. Too few know that.

Going Backstage

jake clemons virginia beachThe show ended and the band headed to the ramp at the back of the stage. Springsteen was the first one to the ramp, but he did not go down it. He stopped at the top of the ramp. As each of the musicians in his band passed, he stopped them. Each got a smile, a few words and a pat on the back. The members of The E Street Band earned that recognition.

The recognition wasn’t much. It was simple, and visibly heartfelt. Does it take more than that? I don’t think it does.

So what your boss can learn from Bruce Springsteen is that a little bit of  humble gratitude goes a long way.

We work to put food on the table, take care of the light bill and keep a roof over the kids’ heads. Work helps us take care of our physical needs, but it should also be personally satisfying.

Some of us play saxophone for Bruce Springsteen in front of 20,000 people. Others of us do the office thing, build cars or teach kindergarten. We all get paid for what we do, but it sure helps to get a thank you and a pat on the back from the boss…or The Boss, as the case may be.




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About omawarisan (25 Articles)
Most who read my blog don't know me from the man in the moon. But they seem nice and I am, in fact, The Man In The Moon.

21 Comments on What Your Boss Can Learn From Bruce Springsteen

  1. Victoria // April 16, 2014 at 8:07 am //

    I had the pleasure of seeing Bruce in concert many years ago. He was great!


  2. Reblogged this on Blurt and commented:

    Had a chance to see Bruce Springsteen last weekend in Virginia Beach. It inspired me to update my post about what The Boss knows that a lot of bosses don’t.
    You can find it over at Long Awkward Pause


  3. So very true about America’s workforce today, sir. And somehow, even though he’s at the tippy-top of the pyramid, Bruce sees, thinks, and then sings about his vision of what was and what should be.


  4. I hope I would have the energy and drive to go see Springsteen if he ever made it to North Texas. To my knowledge he has yet to visit this area in some time. At least I have him on a homemade CD I play each time I take any kind of trip in my Dodge Ram


  5. I’m a huge fan of The Boss. I saw him in concert in NJ which was an absolute thrill of a lifetime. To see Bruce and the E Street Band in their home state only made it even more amazing.

    I was in the upper deck of the arena that day and Bruce made me feel like he was singing just to me. That’s a special kind of boss.


  6. Willy Nilly // April 16, 2014 at 10:32 am //

    Sometimes, it’s that smile from the boss and a short sentence of small talk where he or she asks about your family by name and remembers your daughter is graduating. Little things that connect you to great leaders empower you to be great as well.


  7. I’ve only seen Bruce Springsteen twice: once in Denver in college during the height of his MTV phase as I think of it, and once a few years ago in Greensboro. Of course, both shows were worth every penny I spent, but seeing him in the smaller venue was just…Wow. It was just Bruce then, no E street band and the energy he radiated with just him and his guitar and harmonica was amazing. My ultimate bucket list Springsteen fantasy would be to see him play impromptu in a small club somewhere. And I have to agree, whatever he is like in private, he seems like a genuine person with an enormous heart. Glad you had that opportunity with your son.


  8. I’ve never been to a show, but have been a fan since Walkmans played cassette tapes.


  9. He’s seems to be a pretty cool guy. I saw him live when I visited DC in ’82. He was at his prime! Glad to hear he’s appreciative of his band.


  10. I love Bruce Springsteen. I have written 200 poems about him on stage with pictures to them.


  11. I guess that’s why he’s known as “The Boss” and not “Any Old Boss”. Good bosses are as rare as hens’ teeth.


  12. Really needed to read something like this today. Thank you for a job well done on noting this job well done.


  13. That’s why he is “The Boss”. He is a class act from beginning to end. Respect is a huge aspect of any boss/employee relationship. Without it you have nothing.


  14. Yes! All of this. So true. So well written.


  15. Was Courteney Cox there?


  16. When a band sticks around that long, there has to be a good vibe keeping them together. Love to see them play, and loved your argument about Bruce as the boss!


  17. How cool that you got to share this with your son! I bet he was so impressed. And you got so close! I love what you say about humble gratitude going a long way. So true! A simple gesture can say so much. Love this post.


  18. Dude, nice piece of real estate you occupied there!
    I haven’t listened to the Boss for awhile but thanks to you he is streaming in the background as I speak. Thanks.


  19. I love reading an article that will make men and women think.
    Also, many thanks for allowing for me to comment!


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