Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Orchestra

Lyle Sussman wrote a neat little book on leadership called “Lost and Found”. There is some useful information laid out in a “fable” style. One of the great analogies made in the book utilized the idea of conducting an orchestra.

I can see where this would relate to micro-managing your organization. Too often leaders try to over assert themselves or try to look after every last detail. Coaches often do the same thing. We fuss over every little detail and try to make sure that we are involved in every little decision. It’s like having an orchestra of talented musicians and not letting them play the music.

Our job as leaders and coaches is to help them understand our vision and plan for the organization. Help them understand their roles and importance to the team. In other words, help them understand the music, help them to HEAR it.
Once we have them “bought in” or have them understanding the music, we have to inspire them to play it like they have never played it before. Finding the motivating factors for the involvement of people in your group can be simple or very difficult but once you do, you can identify how to inspire them to “play the music”.

Micro-managing is like trying to play all the instruments and still conduct the symphony. It just won’t work. When we micro-manage we tend to get in the way and slow things down. By doing everyone else’s job we never let them grow in their own position. If they can’t grow, they can’t enhance their performance. Like conducting the orchestra, if we played every instrument for them they would never get better for the next performance.

I think the key to leading a group is holding on tight enough to not lose control yet loose enough to allow for freedom. Whether it is on the basketball court or in the office, letting your people develop a heightened sense of awareness of their own skills and capabilities will allow them to grow. Giving them the chance to grow helps their confidence and improves their skills. This will help your organization blossom and lets the orchestra play some beautiful music.

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