What The Beatles Taught Us About Leadership


Sunday night marked the 50th anniversary of The Beatles coming to the United States and performing on the Ed Sullivan Show. What an extraordinary group of young, enterprising men who changed music forever. They started out as just a band with four young men who loved playing music and adored one another. They came from an unassuming town in England, where generations grew up and stayed, never venturing out too far. So what empowered this particular band to lead the way to a rock and roll revolution? George, John, Paul and Ringo emerged as extraordinary leaders with qualities of leadership we all can learn from. Here’s how:

 They believed in their brand

At the beginning, they chose a very controversial name for their band- one that spelled slightly differently (beetles) conjured up creepy insects. Yet, Paul McCartney explained that the four felt the name fitted them and decided to stick with it. Their music was a blend of many genres, yet called to them in a unique way. Their longer hair, not by today’s standards, separated them from other rock groups and branded them in a very authentic way. Even when mocked, Ringo shared that the  “moppy” hairstyle really worked for them.

 They stuck with their vision

The Beatles decided to take their Liverpool, England band on the road and share their music with America. This was a courageous and brave move, yet one that continued to drive their future choices. They knew they needed to leave their homes to become a successful rock and roll band. And they kept redefining their vision as they changed and followed different paths.


 They supported their differences

Each of the four Beatles came with their different talents and gifts, which enabled them to create their perfectly executed music. They also valued what each brought to the band. It never seemed to matter that Paul did the bulk of the singing or Ringo was renown for his drummer capabilities. George brought his exceptional guitar strengths and John was an amazing writer. Their blending together created magic.


They trusted each other

It was very obvious that the foursome had a strong foundation of trust. Maybe because they came from similar backgrounds and knew about one another’s vulnerabilities, they were able to be a high performing team. They honored each other by showing up and doing their best. They never worried that one of them would let them down because they were committed to their shared dream.

Leadership lessons are abundant with The Beatles. Imagine pulling together a team that:

Believes in its brand

Sticks with its vision

Supports team member differences

Trusts one another unequivocally


How is your leadership similar to The Beatles? What lessons have you learned from this inspiring band of four?


 (photo credit)

8 thoughts on “What The Beatles Taught Us About Leadership

  1. When you put your list at the end… who wouldn’t want a team like that!?

    I’ve never heard it said (or written) quite that way but it DOES take courage to stick with a vision. There are a million times I’ve wanted to give up but the vision inspired me and gave me energy to connect with my team. Together, we could do it – not alone.

    I heard that the Beatles TV special was wonderful! I’m disappointed I missed it!

  2. It really is a brave leader who can keep a vision in focus for a team and keep reminding them of their end game. Whenever I present Goal Setting or Leadership programs to organizations, I have them re-visit the Vision statement and remind them of the direction they need to follow. If goals or decisions are not complementary to the Vision, leaders must take a hard look and maybe refine the goals or choices.

    Of course, just like The Beatles, Visions need to be checked and updated when conditions change.

    Loved, loved the Beatles TV special!!!!

  3. In watching the Beatles coverage the past few days, it was very interesting to see how they incited change. Guitars were purchased. Groups were formed. All because they saw this change and were excited about it and then got involved in facilitating their own change. Now, there’s a leadership lesson! Thanks, Terri!


  4. I agree Jon that the Beatles epitomized how successful change could ultimately be. They had such a definite vision of who they were, what they wanted to stand for and what image they wanted to present.

    They had so much fun transforming our musical culture here in the U.S. and we saw through the tributes of their 50 years, how they managed to execute their plan.

    They were leaders to emulate!


  5. I think what I most appreciated about the Beatles leadership style is that they didn’t expect to be adored. George Harrison once asked a reporter, “How long do you think this will last?’ while hoping things would settle back to normal.

    One of the most endearing things about the Beatles is that they were just boys from Liverpool who enjoyed their job and tried to get along with everyone.

    Great leadership lessons for all of us.

    Nice post, Terri!

  6. I agree LaRae that the ordinary boy piece contributed to the Beatles unique style and appeal. Their unassuming stance really connected each of us to them.

    They really were leaders in their own right, rising to the top of a field of many boy bands from England and integrating so many different musical styles.

    They stayed with their vision and didn’t compromise when others made fun of them. They were authentic and believed in themselves.

    Thanks LaRae!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *