The Leader as Conductor

Many leaders can’t carry a tune in a bucket, but they must learn to play the music of leadership.

Musicians use diverse tools to get a desired effect. When the score calls for a sustained note, the violinist draws the bow across the strings. However, a rapidly moving piece demands the machine-gun sound of a staccato tongue. It depends on the effect needed.

What kind of leadership music do you play? It depends on the effect you want to get.

Most leaders start with the question, “what do I want to do?” That question can have many answers.

…preach a sermon.

…hold a seminar.

…have a meeting.

…teach a class.

All are good answers to that question. But the question is asked out of sequence. Before “what” you must ask, “what effect do I want to get?” That question yields dramatically different answers.

…create excitement among the parents of our young children.

…have 40 people from our community.

…train 20 of our members to teach the gospel to their friends.

…energize our deacons to keep them from getting discouraged.

The second question frames a better answer for the first.

  • The preacher will craft his sermon in a certain way to reach the audience.
  • The seminar will need a topic and approach which entices the community. The meeting should focus on praise and planning.
  • The class must do more than provide information. It must focus on hands-on training.

When a leader starts with the effect question, he then knows what to plan, whom to target, and what to avoid. Too many times events result in sighs of “I don’t know why they are not interested.” That’s because the leaders ignored the “effect” question.

The musician uses the tools at his disposal to get the proper effect. The leader, too, must master the music of leadership. Ask the right question first.

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