A simple Thank You can go a long way

A tale of two concerts and two leadership styles.

Over the last week I have witnessed first hand two conducting and leadership styles, that speak a simple message which is so relevant to leadership in the workplace.

The first was a performance of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, possibly the hardest piece for a conductor to lead and an orchestra to play. It was tremendously exciting and a very good performance. As the applause broke out, the conductor honoured each individual soloist in the orchestra (e.g. the 1st bassoon) by asking them to stand. And then he asked each section to stand. Only when the whole orchestra was standing did he turn around and take his bow. As we packed away, he made the point to come round to each player and thank them for their contribution – even though he must have been shattered at the enormity of the effort to conduct the work.

Contrast to this weekend – the concert conducted by the “choral” conductor referenced in my last blog post. The audience enjoyed the performance; the choir, soloists and orchestra did well; we got through the hairy moments by basically ignoring the conductor and playing as one large ensemble.

He took his bow. Then he encouraged the vocal soloists to take theirs. The choir were already standing up. He did 2 curtain calls. The orchestra was not once asked to stand, and then he left – not to be seen again.

He may have simply forgotten to recognise the orchestra in the applause. But that he simply vanished with no “thank you” back stage was simply rude and one of the most de-motivating examples of musical leadership I have seen.  A simple thank you goes a long long way.

Make sure you give your people a real thank you today for their contribution.