10 Leadership Lessons From An Orchestra Conductor

Sep 19, 2014 3 Min Read

So, what are some leadership tips which we can learn from an orchestra conductor? (This article is adapted from Michael Hyatt’s piece on the symphony conductor)

1. Great conductors always start with a musical score and a clear musical 'vision' of how it should sound.

Do you have a clear vision of your end goal? Do you have a plan (musical score) that will help you achieve your vision?

2. Practice makes perfect – even in business. The best concerts are well rehearsed no matter how great the conductor is.

Are you practicing your leadership? Or do you assume that you will automatically produce great leadership ‘music’ without practice?

3. Great conductors get the best out of their people at the right time. They ensure their musicians feel significant, accepted and secure.

A conductor needs his/her musicians. Likewise, a leader needs his/her followers and needs to take time to develop his/her followership.

4. Great conductors lead with their hearts and are passionate about their work. Are you passionate about the vision and mission of your organisation?

Do you lead with passion and conviction? A leader’s passion is infectious and generally seeps through the organisation

5. Great conductors are aware of their gestures and impact. They have to be precise or their musicians will not be able to follow. Everything done is intentional.

Are you an intentional leader?

6. Great conductors share the spotlight. When the concert is over, and the audience is clapping, the conductor turns to the audience and takes a bow.

Great conductors immediately turn to their orchestra, inviting them to take the limelight. Without the orchestra, the conductor is nothing.

Do you share your leadership glory with your team? Are you a leader that gives credit back to the team?

7. Great conductors are not super-humans. They don’t do everything. In fact, they delegate everything to others who are better and more skilled.

The conductor only appears on stage when it is time for him to lead. Great leaders know when to lead and when to let others lead.

Do you know when to take the lead?

8. The conductor focuses on his/her task and keeps his/her back to the audience.

Great leaders similarly keep their mind’s eye on things they are facing rather than worry about what is being said or done behind them.

9. The conductor usually stands on a platform and is visible to every member of his/her orchestra. This is to ensure the orchestra stays in alignment.

Are you a visible leader who is visible to your employees and your teams? Or are you not spending time with your team and causing misalignment across the business?

10. Great conductors lead. Most musicians in the orchestra are much more talented than the conductor. They are experts in their musical instruments.

They look to their conductor not for technical advice but for leadership. The same happens in organisations.

Most leaders are not functional or technical experts. Employees look up to them for leadership. Leaders need to inspire, create excitement, have a clear vision and lead.

Are you a leader?

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Roshan is the Founder and “Kuli” of the Leaderonomics Group of companies. He believes that everyone can be a leader and "make a dent in the universe," in their own special ways. He is featured on TV, radio and numerous publications sharing the Science of Building Leaders and on leadership development. Follow him at www.roshanthiran.com

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