There is a quote: “if you want to lead the orchestra you must turn your back on the crowd”. It is often used by people as a justification for ignoring the criticisms of the many to focus on a task or mission. The quote is about leadership and the lone figure of a conductor standing between an orchestra and audience is an obvious comparison.
The conductor of an orchestra is an example of something far more subtle and interesting. The conductor leads the orchestra but the sound comes from musicians. Conductors are a perfect example of silent leaders. Her power is dependent on enabling her musicians to perform their best. The ‘conductor-like leaders’ discover and encourage possibilities in their teams. They stand up, not to show off to an audience but to ensure the orchestra can see their example.
In an orchestra the musicians are the experts. They look to the conductor for leadership not advice on how to do their job. At the end of the performance the conductor takes her duly deserved bow and asks her musicians to bow to even greater applause. Some leaders make a lot of noise being silent and so can you.
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