Leadership Lesson from Greg Allman: Faking it Doesn’t Fly

PR, meet HR!  Dawn Hrdlica-Burke is a human resources consultant and influential speaker.  She is also a contributor to the blog “Fistful of Talent”.  As communication professionals, we should always offer HR a seat at the table.  Dawn will be a regular contributor at PR Gumbo.  You can find her article below.

Last month, Greg Allman died.  Founding member and keyboardist/guitarist/vocalist for The Allman Brothers, Greg lived a full-life.  Perhaps too full at times, for his cup did overflow many times, but no one would accuse Greg Allman of being boring.

Frankly, growing up I wasn’t an Allman brothers fan.  Later in my life, my husband, a huge fan, re-introduced them to me.  I had no choice but to listen to the Allman Brothers, and no shocker– they grew on me…a lot.  Let’s say they are the perfect band to drink a cocktail on the porch to.  Also, they were the “founders” of Southern Rock – so…enough said.

But regarding Greg Allman, his music didn’t influence me as much as a recent interview I saw on AXS TV’s, The Big Interview with Dan Rather.  He told a story that reaffirmed a fundamental leadership belief I’ve had for sometime:  You can fake it till you make it, but you better get”real”-real-quick if you want to be a transformative leader with staying power.  

Allman’s story below is a lesson in understanding and accepting who you are.  This is extremely important if you want to lead, support, or influence anyone (HR Leaders I am looking at you).

Allman was many, many things:  musician, brother, father, pioneer.  Unfortunately, Allman was also a raging alcoholic most of his life.  Junkie too.  Rehab 14 times.  Couldn’t kick it.  In this clip (starting at time stamp 4:30, but watch the whole thing), he tells a story about the night The Allman Brothers were inducted into the Rock Hall.  Despite his best efforts to drink just enough to stave of the shakes but not enough to get drunk, he indeed got wasted.  During his acceptance speech he couldn’t fake being OK – not possible.  The abuse had caught up to him in a very personal yet public way.  It crushed his spirit.

Read the rest of Dawn’s article here.

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