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‘Mama Monster’ and her 3 stories

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in Centerpiece,Leaders & Managers,Leadership Skills

Predicted to earn more than $100 million in 2011, Lady Gaga is the latest darling of the leadership industry. Why? Because she has built a powerful brand and legions of followers by exuding charisma.

A case study, written by researchers at Antwerp Management School and the European School of Management and Technology, points out that Lady Gaga projects leadership by telling “three universal stories.”

1. The first is a personal story. Who am I? She tells her fans that she was always the weird kid at school, and ­always driven to be creative.

Virgin Group’s  Richard Branson wields a personal story, too, playing up his past as a dropout.

2. Lady Gaga’s second story is a group narrative. Who are we? She calls her fans “my little monsters,” while she’s the “Mama Monster.” She posts to them often on Facebook and Twitter.

Most CEOs wouldn’t call their em­ployees “little monsters.” But many do communicate with warmth. Indra Nooyi of PepsiCo sometimes writes to the parents of her managers to thank them for bringing up such fine children.

3.  Lady Gaga offers a collective mission. Where are we going? She promotes self-expression, telling fans that together they can change the world.

For Branson, the personal story helps create a purpose for em­ployees.

Charisma matters. And celebrities tell us something about how to wield it.

— Adapted from “The angel and the monster,” The Economist.

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