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I was listening to a radio interview with a conductor who was asked about what makes him successful at his job. Moved by his passion and dedication for his orchestra and the music they create together, it got me thinking about the role of leadership today and how the principles of leading an orchestra aren’t far from a CEO’s role in leading transformation.
Picture the scene: The conductor stands on a podium, in clear site of his audience and team. Through the strategically guided motion of the conductor’s wrists, he or she extracts the skills and capabilities from hundreds of the talented instrument-wielding people, to bring the music to life. The interaction between the musicians and conductor is transformational – with both parties working toward a shared vision. Every move, every gesture, every sound is as a result of genuine collaboration and trust between the two parties. So, how can we apply these same values to organisations?
Actions speak louder than words: The ability to inspire your team toward greatness is about setting the right example. As leaders, you have expectations of your employees – to get to work on time, deliver results, meet deadlines. But do you hold yourself to the same standards? Your actions encourage employees to support and exercise the new types of behavior, so be sure you are consistent in practicing what you preach if you want your workforce to keep in-sync with your overall mission.
Speak less, listen more: When it comes to great leadership, communication isn’t always verbal. Your role as a leader isn’t to do all the talking or have all the solutions. Rather, it is to empower your employees to come up with the answers to difficult questions. You can only achieve this if you take the time to understand what your employees’ needs are. This, in turn, builds a culture of trust and collaboration and is a great tool for seeing things from the other's perspective.
Invest in differences: Building a strong and committed top team is about understanding and appreciating the powerful impact of diversity. After all, no orchestra succeeds with just one musician. When you show up as a leader, are you playing to the true strengths of your employees or do you simply assign them roles that reflect what you perceive them to be good at? Get to know your team. Get to know their unique contributions, their perspectives and their stories and use their individual talents to create something melodious.
Are you working with your team to create harmonious results?