In September 2014, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts performed at the New York State Fair in Syracuse, New York. She and the band rocked the audience with new songs as well as old favorites. Everyone was standing, and many danced along to the music, including small children and much older rockers. In addition to her decades-long career as a musician and producer, first with The Runaways and now with the Blackhearts, Jett is an accomplished business woman. Here are her top three leadership skills: 1. Give your team the credit. Throughout the show, Jett repeatedly referred to herself and the other musicians as The Blackhearts. She de-emphasized her rock-star self and shared the glory with her team. And just like “I Love Rock n Roll” wouldn’t be the same power anthem without the bass-line or the drums, your project wouldn’t have the same power without the contributions of your colleagues or employees.
2. Take the entrepreneurial approach. After leaving the Runaways in 1979, Jett formed a new band but was unable to get a record contract, a story she made famous in the video “Bad Reputation.” Did Jett give up? Of course not! She started Blackheart Records with musician and producer Kenny Laguna. Whether you are in an organization or not, taking an entrepreneurial approach towards your projects can help you meet your goal.
3. Give back. After 29-year-old Seattle musician Mia Zapata was brutally murdered in 1993, Jett co-wrote a song with Kathleen Hanna to help solicit information for the investigation. She later toured with Zapata’s band The Gits (now Evil Stig, which is Live Gits spelled backwards), the proceeds of which helped fund the investigation. Whether or not you are as advanced in your career as Jett is, giving back to your community and nurturing the careers of the next generation are an important piece of being a good corporate citizen.
The Blackhearts are currently supporting “The Who Hits 50!” US tour and is slated to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year (FINALLY!).