What can Bruce Springsteen teach us about leadership and being a great leader?

A couple of weeks ago I saw my favourite artist again, at Rock in Rio Lisbon: Bruce Springsteen. Of course it was a massive show, a great night and a huge musical moment. He is The Boss!!! But I have to recognize that after the show I’ve been thinking about how many leadership tips and lessons about being a great leader I’ve learned that night.

So, what can Bruce Springsteen teach us about leadership and being a great leader?

Let me show you some ideas!

Connection matters

Bruce connects with people and makes people feel connected. First of all, I think that talking in Portuguese was a great way to start connecting with us. It was magical to hear “Olá Lisboa! Olá Portugal!” We were all connected with him at that moment. The connection continued in every word that he sang. There were a lot of feelings and emotions surrounding us. In a Bruce Springsteen show we can feel his soul. A great leader should connect with the people who surround him and also help to improve the connection between them.

Trust and confidence

Springsteen gives himself, body and soul, to the audience. He allows that people he doesn’t know to touch, hug and kiss him. He trusts the unknown. He gives us the feeling that we are important. A true leader is concerned with people and shows them that they are the most valuable asset of an organization.

Vision, clear communication and team spirit

Great leaders have vision. They know how to turn big ideas into executable plans. Bruce is a visionary. He can make his team follow his vision. During his show we could see him not only singing and playing the guitar but also taking the best of us in order to make a great night. Bruce describes us his vision, sets the direction, aligns the team and shows them what to do. Anyone feels like an important player and co-responsible for the success of the show. We are part of the team. We sing, dance and shake our arms and hands every time it is needed. The long term goal seems to be making a show to remember together. “One, two, three, four…let’s go!”

Humility, integrity and listening

It’s very important for people to feel that a leader acts with humility and knows their needs. Bruce Springsteen knows how to balance what the audience wants and what it needs. Every time he goes to the audience and collects their posters or plays the songs they asked, he’s listening to us and that’s a powerful way to let us perceive his strongs values and character. This allows us to identify ourselves with him. Integrity is one of the major characteristics that a great leader must achieve. Being able to listen to the other is another one, because only a great leader can truly understand that new ideas can be as valuable as his own.

Inspiration, encouragement and resilience

Bruce is a huge inspiration. He’s unstoppable. During the three hours of the show we could see him working and always smiling. I can imagine how tired he should have been after so many shows in this The River Tour, but, in fact, that night no one could see that because he never gave up or lost the passion. He loves his work and his audience. Like a great leader, Springsteen prepares himself for a long journey and sets the example. He deserves and earns our respect because he shows us how important believing and stepping forward are.

Be grateful and always remember the good times

Gratitude is one of the most important values and many times leaders forget it. Bruce never forgets to be grateful! We can feel his tremendous respect for us, people who work and use part of their salary to purchase a ticket to see him. It was a special moment for all the Portuguese to hear “Obrigado” from his voice. His gratitude to his missing musicians is something that no one can be indifferent to. Bruce continues to honour them by showing photos of their best moments on the big screen.

Bruce shines and the E-Street Band shines too

Bruce is always challenging his team. He recognizes the E-Street Band strengths. During the show he gave them moments to shine and delegated some tasks to them, like playing solos or sing with him. Probably, his recognition is the secret that makes a three-hour show possible. In fact, we could see all the musicians clearly enjoying themselves on stage. Great leaders give credits to the employees and it boosts their confidence.


Bruce has a good sense of humour, he is always smiling and he is a master in the art of creating a positive environment. A great leader should be able to put a smile on his employees’ faces, like Springsteen does with his audience. Bruce often sings about hard stuff but he believes in positive vibes and even in hard times he is always“waitin’ on a sunny day, gonna chase the clouds away”.

According to many books and authors, there’s a big difference between being a boss and being a leader. They say that being a boss isn’t a good thing and the right pathway is the leader side… Let me tell you one more thing that I’ve thinking about Bruce Springsteen: for the first time The Boss is the Leader!