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In the previous post, I mentioned re-connecting with a high school friend who was now a successful international conductor.

It prompted some of you to reach out to a long lost friend and when you told me, that really made my day. We are communal creatures and even the most introverted of us needs some connection to other human beings. So if you thought about reaching out to someone and then didn’t do it, this is your nudge to do it today, as soon as you finish this.

In the meantime, Seth Godin wrote a brief blog on the Conductor as a metaphor. I thought it was serendipitous that this came out shortly after I reconnected with my friend. And it is excellent (as is pretty much all of his writing), so I am reposting it here.  Again, this is Seth Godin’s work and he deserves the credit for it. Take it away Seth.

Famous conductors

Here’s a useful metaphor:

Famous conductors are often judged for an hour or two on stage. They wear expensive clothes, make dramatic gestures and receive ovations. They also get paid a lot to carry a very little stick and they’re the only one on stage who doesn’t make noise.

But it turns out that none of these things are what makes a great conductor.

What we’re not seeing:

  • Conductors set the agenda.
  • They have done the reading and understand what has come before.
  • They work to establish the culture of the organization.
  • They amplify the hard work and esprit de corps of some, while working to damp down the skeptics within the organization.
  • They figure out which voices to focus on, when.
  • They have less power than it appears, and use their position to lead, not manage.
  • They show up to rehearsal with an agenda and a path forward.
  • They raise money.
  • They transform a lot of ‘me’s’ into one ‘us’.
  • They develop a point of view. And they balance it with what the listener, the patron and the musicians all need.
  • They stick with it for decades.

It’s a form of leadership that happens in private, but once in a while, we see it on stage.

Thank you Mr. Godin. We can all learn a lot from conductors.

Until next time, Lead Well.

Dr. Jeff ~ The Human Leader

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