Rock Gods and Work Managers

The return of most of the original Guns N’ Roses is great to see, but will probably bring controversy. A lot of that will concern Axl Rose, who played in Las Vegas sitting in a chair after breaking his foot.

Messiah Complex

A reader on the Classic Rock website wrote that Rose probably enjoyed sitting in a ‘throne’ designed and named by Dave Grohl of Nirvana and Foo Fighters fame. I replied:

‘Axl broke his foot and accepted an offer from Grohl, who created the ‘throne’; I doubt if anybody accused Dave of having a messiah complex at the time.
Frank Ferrer’s drumkit is above Axl, and Seb sings above him, so Axl not so selfish.’

The last line specifically refers to the My Michelle video shown on the Classic Rock site, and repeated below, where Axl’s old mate Sebastian Bach of Skid Row fame is allowed to steal the vocals show.

I don’t know if Axl is an arsehole in real life or not, never having met him. Most successful musicians are probably ‘difficult’, judging by all the bands that split up due to musical and personal differences.

I have enough trouble getting on with myself, let alone having a band!

What Kind of Leadership is Acceptable?

I supported Axl’s right to the Guns N’ Roses name as he formed the band with Tracii Guns, who’d left by the time they found success. He also tried to keep the band on course, with others having more dependency problems.

I think there were negatives too, such as trying to steer the band too much in the direction he wanted, and becoming a bit of a control freak. In that way he sounds like a less robust version of Ronnie Van Zant, who was said to lead Lynyrd Skynyrd with an iron fist as they struggled to make it, and through the band’s substance problems (‘That Smell‘).

If leaders like that can inspire better performances, and resulting success, then their authoritarianism can be seen as worthwhile. This is especially true if they own the name and rights, and people are hired to work to their vision. The same is usually true in sports, where managers are usually given complete control over team matters, and what they say goes.

The greenYgrey of Leadership

It gets more difficult in jobs where employees are expected to work in a team, with a leader working amongst them; or a friend group where some members assume they are the leaders.

Groups are usually better if they have a strong leader that everybody wants to follow, but as seen on many reality shows, finding that leader is usually very difficult, and hardly ever universally supported.

In the workplace a team leader who keeps to the guidelines, and leads by example, is beneficial to the other workers and the company. However, once they start favouring members of the team, and especially for sexual reasons, I think they are likely to become more of a negative to the group and company than a positive.

I lost respect for some of my tutors in my last university department, and work managers in my current job, because they were obviously expecting good behaviour from those they had power over, while they used their power to behave badly.

Some leaders have a strong attitude, and some a relaxed one. Both can be good.

The only one that is always bad is the hypocritical one: leaders who expect good behaviour from their workers, which needs strength, while acting badly themselves, which shows weakness.

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