You can’t play a symphony on your own

Elisabet Hearn and I wrote this article for

Have you ever observed the conductor of a philharmonic orchestra and how they spend very little time facing the audience?

In fact, when you think about it you’ll recognise that they spend most of their time facing the orchestra, which is their team. They are spending their time guiding them to play beautifully, creatively and with great impact together.

And have you noticed how perfectly the musicians play together, seemingly unaware of each other, yet obviously acutely aware as they harmonise with each other through their various instruments and expressions, providing their own unique and crucial contribution.

And then once in awhile, the conductor faces the audience and shares what’s going on – what they are doing, what we can expect, what they will or have delivered. And we, the audience, feel seen and taken care of. All of this is an example of great teamwork and great leadership.

You can’t play a symphony on your own.

Take inspiration from the world of music. If you’re a leader, ask yourself this question: Am I focusing too much outside the team rather than giving the team the focus and guidance they really need to be able to deliver? Are you for example attending meetings all day, hence not having much time to spare for your team?

Am I spending enough time enabling my team to perform at their best? Am I removing barriers to success?

All leadership is of course a balance; you need to carefully balance all your stakeholders.

Do you get the balance right? Are there maybe stakeholders that you give more focus than they need or want? Are there stakeholders that need more focus?

Take inspiration from the world of music and reflect on how you spend your time as a leader. Orchestras are also a great reminder of how important all team members are. You can’t play a symphony on your own!



Author: Excellence in Leadership

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