January 28, 2022

Leadership Lessons we Can Learn from American Idol Winner David Cook

David Cook has been my favorite Idol for the last 6 weeks or so.  I was not the biggest fan in the beginning.  He seemed to get defensive when Simon gave him feedback, and he came across as a bit arrogant.  But as time went on, this Gen Y man grew into a leader.

I love watching someone grow, and enjoy learning the leadership lessons I observe during that growth period.  These lessons are leadership behaviors we can all learn from and live by.

1) David Cook is authentic.  He stayed true to his personality throughout the competition.  Not one time did he try to be something he wasn’t.

2) He took risks.  Cook took songs from decades ago and made them hip and relevant to today’s marketplace.  There were several times when I could hear the songs he sang being played in a movie soundtrack (and to me, that is a true test of relevancy…I don’t know why I think that, I just do.)

3) As time moved on, David Cook stepped up and showed that he has a tough skin.  He began taking the criticism dished out (especially by Simon who was particularly tough on Cook,) and he worked with that criticism and improved each week.

4) During last night’s final show, David was showing up like a leader.  He had a presence that showed his maturity, and he truly “owned” the stage.  But…not one time did he try to overshadow David Archuleta.  He shared the stage with him and gave him equal “stage power.”

5) He showed his vulnerability.  It is tough for a rocker to stand on a stage and shed tears, but Cook let them flow (as he should!)  Showing raw emotion is tough for leaders.  They think in some way that it makes them weak or soft.  The opposite is actually the case.  By showing raw emotion, you make a connection with your audience.

6) Finally…David Cook made the hair on my arms and on the back of my neck stand up.  He touches people, and I think most would agree with me.  His passion and inspiration are so critical for leaders of today.  And…he’s just darn cool!

Congratulations, and best of luck to you in the future. Watch below as he hears the news and then sings the winning song Time of My Life (great song!)


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