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What Bruce Springsteen Understands That Your Boss Doesn’t

Springsteen takes the stage in Greensboro

On Monday night,  I went to Greensboro, NC to see a concert by Bruce Springsteen And The E Street Band. In fact, for the first time of all the times I’ve seen them, I was right down front.

Seeing a concert, and seeing a concert from right in front of the stage are two different experiences. I’ve seen Springsteen in indoor arenas and outdoor football stadiums. Up front, the interplay between the audience and artist, and between the performers on stage become part of the show.

The Boss On Management

I’m not a music critic, I am a fan. I’m not going to go into the details of the show. What I will tell you is that if you are a Bruce fan, I hope you have tickets – the man is 62 and still rocks harder than any three twenty-somethings. The band is still tight and the new horn section adds a soulful dimension to the old favorites.

But this is not a music review, this is about management. Bruce Springsteen is a musician. He is also the leader of a band, a business man. As goes the band, so goes Bruce. When The Boss is successful, the band and a lot of other folks are able to pay their bills.

I have no idea how the man conducts his business out of the public eye. I do know what I saw of how he conducts his business in public.

At the end of the show, Springsteen and The E Street Band took their well deserved bows. They headed toward the ramp at the rear of the stage to end the show. Bruce stopped at the top of the ramp.

Tough Times Don’t Exclude Respect

This is the moment when Bruce realized I was there. He is a big Blurt fan

We live in a time where the little guy is not so popular. People and their families are tossed aside to satisfy the bottom line. The people at the top neither know nor care for the people below. I’ve worked for someone who could call me by name when he saw me on the elevator. More recently, I worked for someone who couldn’t be bothered to acknowledge my presence. I’ll leave it to you to guess who motivated me more.

Times are tough. People are grateful for work. That does not entitle managers to treat them as if they’re fortunate to have work. Too few know that.

Going Backstage

At the end of the show the band headed to the ramp at the back of the stage. Springsteen stopped at the top of the ramp. As each of the musicians in his band passed, he stopped them. Each got a smile, a few words and a pat on the back. They earned that recognition.

The recognition wasn’t much. It was simple, and visibly heartfelt. Does it take more than that? I don’t think it does.

We work to put food on the table, take care of the light bill and keep a roof over the kids’ heads. Work helps us take care of our physical needs, but it should also be personally satisfying.

Some of us play piano for Bruce Springsteen in front of 17,000 people. Others of us do the office thing, build cars or teach kindergarten. We all get paid for what we do, but it sure helps to get a thank you and a pat on the back from the boss…or The Boss, as the case may be.

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24 Comments on “What Bruce Springsteen Understands That Your Boss Doesn’t”

  1. Snoring Dog Studio says:

    How very true and how very sad that so many managers just don’t get this. I’m fortunate to have a manager who constantly offers praise and support. Sadly, his boss is the complete opposite. She’s utterly unable to offer any praise, but is quite free with the criticism. It’s a character flaw in her, but it’s demoralizing for the entire department under her.

  2. AiXeLsyD13 says:

    What a great story of such an awesome moment! It’s cool that your seats were so close to catch an intimate little thanks from the Boss to the band. Stories like this need to be shared. Rock on!

    I’ve been to many many shows over the years, it is an entirely different thing being up close or in a smaller venue.

    • omawarisan says:

      It really did give the show an added dimension to see the band at work. I’m no musician, but it was clear when they were joking or talking about the music. Music is a craft.

  3. Todd Pack says:

    I think you’re onto something here, Oma. I had an editor once who adhered to the Count Basie approach to management. Basie had great musicians, but he also played to their strengths, so rather than trying to pound a square peg into a round hole, he used arrangements with plenty of square holes. The result was an orchestra that sounded even better than the sum of its parts.

    P.S. How does the E Street Band sound without Clarence?

    • omawarisan says:

      Right! Not everyone with the same title does the same job. I have to point that out to my people sometimes…”do you really want him doing what you do? Do you want some of what he does?’ The answer is always no, and the mosaic remains complete.

      Very odd to see them come on without Clarence. His nephew does a nice job of replicating some of his solos and looks like he enjoys performing. The horns work. Going for a 1 for 1 replacement of Clarence wouldn’t be fair to anyone. Four horns create their own sound. They play Clarence’s signature part in Tenth Avenue Freeze Out ( …the change was made uptown and the Big Man jointed the band…) together. It works. Hope you find a way to catch the show.

  4. It seems that easy, doesn’t it? Well put.

  5. Lenore Diane says:

    Great picture of the Boss up close, Oma. Glad you made it to the concert and enjoyed it so close to the stage. It really does amplify the experience.

    We gather more bees with honey … a timeless sentiment.

  6. I have been a big fan of the Blurt for a while now. In all sincerity, this is one of my favorite posts. Please accept this virtual pat on the back. (Yay, you.)

  7. I’ve always thought he was a class act. Question: How are your ears today?

  8. Jackie Cangro says:

    We all deserve a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Wait. That’s Aretha. But you know what I mean.

    I saw The Boss in the Meadowlands when he was a spring chicken of about 50. When he played Born to Run the place went off the charts. It was one of the best concerts I’ve been to.
    Sounds like he still rocks.

  9. susielindau says:

    I saw him live in DC when visiting a friend. It must have been 1981. That man is still cranking out the music! Amazing~

  10. Amy says:

    Bruce is one of those guys who you never hear about unless he is promoting his music. No drama, no freak outs, no disgruntled maids. He has always seemed like a class act.
    That’s awesome that you got front row seats!

  11. Blogdramedy says:

    This post was so…boss! 😉

  12. Debbie says:

    Well put, Oma! We’ve all had bosses who made it a pleasure to come into work every day, as well as bosses who made each minute drag on forever. Regardless of the pay or the perks, it’s the former type who manages to get more good stuff out of his/her staff.

  13. Betty says:

    I’m looking forward to Bruce’s next album: “Blurt, some songs that have to come out of me”

  14. tsanda says:

    RIP CLARENCE CLEMMONS

  15. @xel says:

    thanks for this comment. for this story. even many of us have a seat like yours, not all of us can see it like you did.
    great … rock on!

  16. We Found Him Captain! says:

    Good writeup UTZA !


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