Inspiring Change Through The Power Of Music

music stand

Waving your arms about without a clue.

Have you ever been in the situation where a new boss comes in who just doesn’t have a clue? I witnessed it this week in an orchestra rehearsal.

The conductor was a “choral” conductor who knew seemed to know very little about conducting let alone rehearsing an orchestra. We were “rehearsing” Rossini’s Stabat Mater ahead of a concert with his choir.

His beating pattern was all over the place; he let obvious errors go by.  The players whispered and muttered under their breaths; gave each other knowing glances – they were not happy bunnies.  Some players suggested he went quicker. He responded by saying it wasn’t a democracy. And then he suggested the woodwind had slowed him down; they quipped back they were following his tempo. Ouch. In the coffee break everyone was giving an opinion on how to conduct a eight beat rhythm.

I’ve never seen anything like it! It was embarrassing.

But how often do you see this in the workplace? New boss comes in with the “boss’s” hat on. Acts the part but has little impact. Metaphorically they wave their arms around but don’t have a clue.

They may have a different background; maybe from a different industry; or a different company with different ways of doing things. Possibly a different skill set. And I have no problem with that – it should be encouraged to diversify and shake things up. The trick is to balance the given authority of the role, with winning the people you lead. Avoid bashing. Respect the team you’re given. Don’t arm-wave and pretend you know what you’re doing. Just be up-front and open about what you can do and what is more challenging for you.

The conductor could have won us by simply saying: I am passionate about this piece of music and excited about the concert. I am not used to conducting orchestras, so please let me know if there is anything I can do to make your lives easier.

divider March 26, 2010

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