Leading a team is much like conducting an orchestra. A good conductor is able to bring about the best in the team.
Just like styles of leadership different conductors have different styles of expression. Some lead the orchestra with authority and with strict control. Others are more involved and the last type of conductors just let go and bring about a great symphony.
In leadership too there are autocratic leaders, there are participative/democratic leaders and there are laissez-faire leaders.
Autocratic leaders provide clear expectations for what needs to be done, when it should be done, and how it should be done. There is also a clear hierarchy between the leader and the followers. Authoritarian leaders make decisions independently with little or no input from the rest of the group.
Participative leaders encourage group members to participate, but retain the final say over the decision-making process. Group members feel engaged in the process and are more motivated and creative.
Delegative leaders offer little or no guidance to group members and leave decision-making up to group members. While this style can be effective in situations where group members are highly qualified in an area of expertise, it often leads to poorly defined roles and a lack of motivation.
Great conductors aren’t those who demonstrate their creativity through skill on an instrument or the beauty of their own performances. Rather, they are judged by their ability to produce an environment in which the artistry of others may emerge and the quality of that performance may be experienced.
Great conductors are swept up in the music. They are passionate. They don’t just play with their head; they also play with their heart. You can read it on their face. You can sense it in their movement. They are fully present and “playing full out.”
The best administrators lead without leading, guide without guiding, and rule without ruling. They trust those around them and inspire trust in themselves in return. In an orchestra, harmony can be destroyed when the voice of the conductor intrudes on the music of the performers
Itay Talgam in this TED talk disusses how we can lead like great conductors:
Jeffrey Buller, Ph.D – How Great Leaders are like Great Conductors – http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/academic-leadership/how-great-leaders-are-like-great-conductors/
Michael Hyatt – 8 things leaders can learn from symphony conductors – http://michaelhyatt.com/8-things-leaders-can-learn-from-symphony-conductors.html
In their three-year field study of extraordinary work groups across many disciplines, consultants Geoffrey Bellman and Kathleen Ryan found these eight performance indicators that defined group practices:
* Compelling purpose: We are inspired and stretched in making this group’s work our top priority
* Shared leadership: We readily step forward to lead by demonstrating our mutual responsibility for moving our group toward success
* Just enough structure: We create the minimal structure (systems, plans, roles and tasks)
* Full engagement: We dive into our work with focus, enthusiasm and passion
* Embracing differences: We value the creative alternatives that result from engaging differing points of view
* Unexpected learning: We are excited by what we learn here and how it applies to other work, other groups and our lives outside of work
* Strengthened relationships: Our work leads us to greater trust, interdependence and friendship
* Great results: We work toward and highly value the tangible and intangible outcomes of our work together
Every time I see a child, I am amazed at their sense of wonder, curiosity and their insatiable thirst for knowledge. Leave a child alone with a toy and he/whe will have a great time…they are so immersed in the moment that nothing else matters. And if you snatch that toy from them, they will scream. Children live with so much energy and vigour that by the end of the day they have a sound sleep.
I think the schools of today make education a boring experience. The rote, bookish knowledge that we gain in schools cannot substitute for life-skills. What use is an education in the classroom if it does not teach us to respect one another, if it cannot teach us basic courtesies, if it does not teach us empathy? What use is such an education if it does not inculcate in us the need to help one another. If all our education is just to get a job and earn a living then I think it does not serve its purpose.
Our education has not found a way of creating a fun environment wherein learning can become an enriching experience. Our classrooms like places of work make it mandatory for children to sit on desks and tables in a classroom. Wouldn’t a colourful place with lot of games, pictures make learning more enriching for children?
Today’s teenagers show total lack of basic courtesies – like offering seats to the elderly or pregnant women. They get involved in gangs and exhibit uncontrollable anger. This can be attributed to the lack of a well-rounded education. Our education has to instill the right values from early childhood. These values have to be reinforced at home too so that it becomes a part and parcel of growing up. If we have not learnt to wish our neighbour, to exchange pleasantries and enjoy living with people of different backgrounds then our education has not served its purpose.
In my view, our education should bring out the leadership quality in us. It should give us
.. the strength to act in accordance with your own values amidst obstacles
.. the sense of what is right
.. confidence and enthusiasm
True education should bring about social cohesion, communal harmony and entrepreneurship spirit. It should help us to unite for a common cause – like the alleviation of poverty, removing corruption and other social ills like gambling and addiction.
Ken Robinson on TED talks: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iG9CE55wbtY