What Can Leaders Learn From Musicians?

What Can Leaders Learn From Musicians?
5 Lessons for Inspired Leadership
By Michael Y. Brenner, Ed.D. President, Right Chord Leadership LLC

At first glance, it may be difficult to discern what outstanding musicians and outstanding organizational leaders have in common.  A more thoughtful examination, however, reveals a number of similarities between the two:

  • Both recognize and tap into the talent and experience of their respective colleagues. 
  • Both engage in what I call “intentional listening”—listening purposefully and thoughtfully—rather than making assumptions or jumping to conclusions. 
  • Both focus on asking the right questions and coaxing meaningful answers rather than dictating pre-formed solutions. 
  • Both balance action and reflection, recognizing that neither is sufficient alone to solve problems. 
  • Both share a key objective: to inspire their audiences.

The last point is perhaps the most important.  We can all agree that the ability to inspire others is one of the most crucial competencies of the successful musician. What may get lost amid dozens of daily duties and responsibilities, however, is that inspiring others to great performance is also one of the most crucial competencies of today’s leaders. 

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