Not long ago, I sat in Nashville’s Schermerhorn Symphony Center watching Hugh Wolff, a world renowned conductor, lead the Nashville Symphony in a performance of Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances, Op. 45. It was fascinating!
Toward the end of the evening, it occurred to me that conducting an orchestra and leading a team have much in common. In fact, this analogy has become so powerful to me that I can hardly talk about leadership without referring to this example.
Click to ListenHere are eight leadership lessons I learned from watching a symphony conductor:
- Lesson #1: Start with a plan.
- Lesson #2: Recruit the best players.
- Lesson #3: Be visible, so everyone can see you.
- Lesson #4: Lead with your heart.
- Lesson #5: Delegate and focus on what only you can do.
- Lesson #6: Be aware of your gestures and their impact.
- Lesson #7: Keep your back to the audience.
- Lesson #8: Share the spotlight.
Who knew that the world of music had so much to teach us as leaders? But it does. Leadership lessons are everywhere, if we only look.
A quick note: If you are one of the people listed below, please send my assistant, Tricia, an e-mail with your shipping address, so I can send you an autographed copy of my book, Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World.
- Adam Rico asked, “If someone has aspirations to move into an executive position in their career, what would you recommend they do now to prepare for an opportunity later?”
- Ben Nielsen asked, “As a leader, how much do you need to know about your teammates specialities?”
- Gary Morland asked, “How do you get a team aligned to work as one and think bigger than their own interests?”
- Hanno van der Bijl asked, “How do you adapt to other people’s work habits if you are an introvert?”
- Jim Ryan asked, “What should a leader do when he has department heads who aren’t playing nicely with one another?”
- Kim Avery asked, “What is the best way to lead an organization from underneath?”
- Mike St. Pierre asked, “How do I help my people work independently without completely relinquishing my role as their leader?”
- Tara Chrisco asked, “What tips do you have for leaders who ‘conduct a symphony’ where the orchestra members play for many different conductors and the reporting structure is loosely defined?”
- Timothy Moser asked, “Do you have any suggestions for ensuring that commitment is genuine before relying on team members?”
- We have opened up a couple of more speaking dates for this year. If you are interested in having me speak at an upcoming event, please check out my speaking page.
- If you are considering launching your own platform, you need to start with a self-hosted WordPress blog. This is not as complicated as it sounds. In fact, I have put together a step-by-step screencast on exactly who to do it. I walk you through the entire process in exactly 20 minutes. The screencast is absolutely free.
- My next podcast will be on the topic of “How to Build (or Re-Build) Trust.” If you have a question on this subject, please leave me a voicemail message. This is a terrific way to cross-promote your blog or website, because I will link to it, just like I did with the callers in this episode.
In this episode I mentioned several resources, including:
- Conference: Alignment Intensive
- Post: “Why Vision Is More Important Than Strategy”
- Post: “How to Do More of What You Love and Less of What You Don’t”
- Podcast: “The Importance of a Leader’s Heart”
- Podcast: “The Fine Art of Delegation”
- Podcast: “How to Delegate Even If You Don’t Have a Staff”
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Question: What lesson from a symphony leader do you need to apply now to become a better leader?