Bow Down: Four Career Lessons from Beyoncé
From hair supremacy to surprise albums, Beyoncé is a master of dominating airwaves and conversations. But she’s not just a queen of great music and spiky corsets. She also displays solid business acumen in how she manages the conglomerate built around her talent. So even if you can’t pull off her lion-mane hair flip, here are a few tips to channel Queen Bey in your career:
1. Don’t be afraid to be in charge. In Tina Fey’s “Bossypants,” she writes that people often ask her if it’s hard for her, as a woman, to be in charge of so many people. Fey and Beyoncé will both tell you: It’s not. So don’t be afraid to be a leader. If you have a vision, pursue it with tenacity. It’s not hard for a woman to be in charge – not any harder than it is for a man with a great idea. If a project looks big, that’s not a reason not to do it.
2. Keep them guessing. Beyoncé surprised everyone in December with her self-titled visual album. Even in the age of constant Internet chatter, no one saw it coming. This not only demonstrates the airtight inner circle of trust Beyoncé creates around herself – anyone with information about the release probably could have made a lot of money by taking it to a tabloid website. It also shows that she’s not satisfied with working by how things have always been done. She didn’t release a single, do a passive PR push, or launch a coinciding marketing campaign. She put great art together and released it in a new a surprising way that made people listen. That’s a great model to pursue in any project.
3. Purse emotional authenticity. Beyoncé has been open in her art about even the hardest times in her life. She speaks both in her songs and in her documentary about suffering a miscarriage before conceiving her daughter Blue Ivy Carter. She could have continued her career without ever discussing that part of her life. But one of the reasons her work has so much resonance to so many people is because she brings that kind of emotion to her work. By putting something of your true self in your work, people are more likely to believe in and relate to your mission. This doesn’t have to only apply to artists – even if you just do data entry, you can do it with heart. Remember why you come to work every day, what drives you to keep going, and make that a part of your mission statement.
4. Don’t mind the haters. There are certainly outlandish moments in Beyoncé’s work. Her HBO documentary was directed and edited by her, with exactly the content she wanted to provide. She tags her original photos on Tumblr with the elevated “my work.” This might sound overconfident to some, but Mrs. Carter pays them no mind. She has things to say. She has a way she wants to say it. Clearly she’s doing something right. So when you hear criticism from people who you’re too sure of yourself or too young to demand a place at the table, pull a hair flip and tell them: You must not know ‘bout me.
Featured image via Shutterstock.