Thursday, May 21, 2009


I was just recently directed by my sister to a blog by Michael Hyatt. Hyatt is the CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishing, which is the publisher of my favorite book: 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John C. Maxwell.

While reading Hyatt's blog I scrolled down to one post entitled, "8 Things Leaders Can Learn from Symphony Conductors." I thought, "What providence. I am a conductor and I try to be a leader. How pleasant."

Just as a side note: isn't that always the way we find something? We are hooked by something that sounds like something we do. And then we HAVE to read it or watch it because it has to do with us. Two cases-in-point: GLEE, the new television show. I play for a show choir now and I enjoy myself immensely. I have to watch and enjoy Glee because it relates to me. The other point: Shawn Johnson winning "Dancing With the Stars." Of course, the news was all over this one. There is always a connection to Iowa, but this didn't disgust me, but made me want to know more and say, "I live in West Des Moines, just like Shawn Johnson."

Anyway, I digress...

The article (if you can remember back to the topic of this post...if not, scroll up) was to compare the conductor's roll to that of a leader. For instance, a conductor recruits the best players, is visible, leads with his heart, focuses on what he can do, keeps his back to the audience, and shares the spotlight.

One of these points jumped out at me more than the others: the conductor leads with his heart. At a summer music camp that I accompanied for at Simpson, a choral conductor said to the choir, "You have the hard part. I have the easy part. I'm directing this piece because it's what my heart feels. You have to follow me." I've always remembered that and I use it in my rehearsals. I used it in the directing part of my interview for the job I have now!

I try to direct from the heart as much as possible. I've been taking a different direction with my choir recently. I've been trying to lead them to the conclusion that they aren't "just" the choir, but are worship leaders. This has changed the group, not only their sound (which is much improved) but also their outlook to the worship gathering. Before, they came in and sang their song and then left. This perturbed me. Now they actually lead worship from the front of the Celebration Center.

I've shown them to lead with their hearts too. At least I hope I have. I'm a very organic person when it comes to finding new music for us to perform. I like to try and fit the theme for the week. If I can't then we sing something that moves me. In all reality, we usually end up singing something that moves me!

I find it harder to lead with heart than I do to conduct. With conducting it's very easy to find an emotional connection to a piece of music. You can't always find that with people. I find it difficult, even though I've read more than once "Winning With People." Another book by John C. Maxwell.

I'd like to point out "The Patience Principle" which states that "the journey with others is slower than the journey alone." This is what catches me up. I'm usually a pretty fast moving person. I don't like to wait for others nor do I like to wait for them to catch up. There are times when getting out of the car my wife moves too slow. Very slow. I get irritated because I don't like to wait.

But I'd also like to point out "The Partnership Principle," which is one I have to keep in front of me a lot: "working together increases the odds of winning together." I think that the only way to work and win together is to lead with your heart. You can't work with other people for long if you lead with your head. Well, you can work with them, but they'll probably usually get pretty mad since you'll be bulldozing over them a lot.

That's really hard NOT to do. But, I keep trying!

Yes, because everyone else does it, here's a question for you:
How do you lead? What makes you successful with your leadership?

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