Helen Green

Conducting Greatness

When we talk about leadership, it’s easy to cover areas such as strategy and values, empowerment and enablement. What is perhaps harder to distil is the true essence of leadership which inspires and sets the tone for the organisation.

A recent radio show included a segment in which the interviewee talked at how important the conductor is to a choir or orchestra. Whilst from an audience perspective the conductor may simply be beating out time, from the point of view of the performers the conductor is using body language and expression to draw out the essence of the piece and to help the performers to interpret it. Music is so much more than notes and timing and it is the job of the conductor to add mood and tone in order to bring the piece alive.

This is a great example of the essence of true leadership; the way in which great leaders can delve beneath pure profit and loss and process to transform the mundane into something which inspires employees to give of their best and customers to engage with the brand. But more than that the conductor is constantly looking ahead, being simultaneously in tune with the orchestra whilst planning the next phase of the piece. Gauging the mood, interpreting and planning the future; their are many leadership lessons from orchestral conductors which business leaders can learn.