There was a famous conductor who moved to a new city to lead the local orchestra in a new production.  From the very first day of working with the orchestra, the conductor treated the orchestra members poorly.  His appalling leadership style, or lack thereof, was affecting the mood, motivation, and overall performance of the entire orchestra.

Leaders Need to face the MusicAfter several months, the orchestra was to perform their first dress rehearsal for all the patrons. When the orchestra was in place, the famous conductor walked out onto the stage to much applause from the audience. He took his place in front of the orchestra and gave the downbeat.  Nothing happened.  There was complete silence both from the audience and the orchestra! The conductor took a large, deep breath, tapped his baton on the stand, and gave the down beat again.  Like the first time, he was greeted with awkward silence, when music was expected.  Finally, the first chair violinist stood up and said, “That’s just to show you that music doesn’t come out of that baton of yours!”

Despite the type of group or organization, leadership principles are constant.  But in my opinion, one leadership characteristic stands out above the others—humility.  Revered leaders are ambitious, not for personal gain, but for the success of the organization.  In our media-conscious society, the leaders that generally receive the most publicity are those with big egos and big opinions.  However, the best leaders defer credit for the remarkable accomplishments to team members in the organization.  Great leaders might be competitive and ambitious, but they are patient with others, and don’t give in to feelings of superiority.  They honestly recognize and appreciate what team members have to offer today, while remaining committed to helping them develop greater contributions for tomorrow.

If you are a leader looking to maintain your confidence, while becoming more flexible, approachable, and receptive, here are a few helpful tips to help you “face the music,” so to speak:

1. Promptly give others credit for positive actions and attitudes.
2. Control emotion and anger (don’t get excitable or argumentative when there is no justification).
3. Invest time to share, teach, and develop others.
4. Harness your need for power and control.
5. Increase communication with your team by listening well, sharing information openly, and accepting feedback.

Visit our page on flexible leadership for more information.

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About the Author
Cherissa Newton

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