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Monday, July 6, 2015

Maestro: A Surprising Story About Leading by Listening

Maestro: A Surprising Story About Leading by ListeningMaestro: A Surprising Story About Leading by Listening by Roger Nierenberg

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


What a wonderful book on leadership. I have never heard of the author of the book, but saw it in a second hand store and the title looked interesting. The book it an easy read but has many good principles that apply to leadership and life. The book is written in story form. A business man learns many business principles from watching and talking with a conductor of an orchestra. I have shared serval below. I know those that enjoy music will especially enjoy this book.

A maestro doesn't micromanage. Instead of demanding mindless obedience, he communicates a larger vision, inviting people to draw upon the full range of their talents.

A maestro enables people to feel ownership of the whole piece, not just their individual parts.

A maestro leads by listening. When people sense an open and receptive ear, they offer more of their full potential. If not, they get defensive and hold back their best ideas.

It is a wonderful thing to project confidence and authority. But your main channel of influence with an orchestra is your listening. Every time you come to the podium, ask yourself," Am I really hearing what's going on in this room? Am I being affected by what I'm hearing?" If not. then you must take some of your attention away from what you yourself are doing, and focus it on the people you're here to lead.

As the conductor says, "Eventually I realized that a great performance would happen only when the motivation sprang as much from them as from me. I learned to see my job as simply creating an environment where that could happen. Once I learned to engage their artistry, everything felt so much easier."

If a leader wants his people to truly own the work, then he has to be willing to let go of some control.

You can force compliance with your directions, you can require obedience, but you can't mandate enthusiasm, creativity, fresh thinking, or inspiration. If you value that, then people need to feel ownership of the work, and the leader must cede some control to them.

Everything I do is aimed at creating a feeling of community and shared responsibility.

The conductor's job is to create success. It really falls upon him to stretch his reality until it encompasses that of the players, too.

The conductor needs to understand the reality from the chairs as well.

If a conductor wants them to play with unity then he must stretch his imagination to embrace their reality. That's what elicits the kind of cooperation and trust that invites them to get interested in the unique perspective the podium offers.

My (podium) position allowed me to see what each part contributed to the whole. The members of the team, however, were surprisingly unaware of the support they received from others, but hyperaware of any threat posed by the invisible activity in another building or wing.

Certain problems can be solved most easily from the chair, but others require the podium view.

One's first task is not to stamp one's own personality on everything, at whatever cost, but to listen.

It is a wonderful thing to project confidence and authority. But your main channel of influence with an orchestra is your listening.

Every time you come to the podium, ask yourself, "Am I really hearing what's going on in this room? Am I being affected by what I'm hearing? If not, then you must take some of your attention away from what you yourself are doing, and focus it on the people you're here to lead. [This quote I listed twice on purpose]

It's important to make a distinction between problems that are the musicians can best solve themselves, and problems that involve collaboration and teamwork. When your baton undertakes to solve every problem that might arise, you actually decrease the orchestra's listening ability.

I want to acquaint you with how to lead when the orchestra already knows the music and doesn't need to be taught. That is the most difficult type of leadership to learn. They still need direction if they're ever to perform to their potential, but the direction must be more visionary and strategic and less about helping them manage the details.

As leaders we should strive to exert the minimum necessary intervention.

A leader must commit to that which has not happened.

It is only in anticipating, and committing to what will happen next, that any leadership can take place.

When you have a group that's well disciplined in teamwork, it liberates you to do your best.

It doesn't matter how good you sound if you don't match the others who are playing with you.

Leadership doesn't make a small difference, it makes all the difference in the world.

If you're a leader you can elevate your team to heights beyond their wildest imagination.

Here is a website for more information about this type of leadership music paradigm


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