Know Your Role – A Leadership Principle

Have you ever noticed that a conductor in a symphony doesn’t play an instrument during the performance? Sure, he (or she) may very well be able to play or even be extremely talented in playing but that’s not his primary role. His is to conduct, to develop and lead the other musicians towards creating the best musical experience possible.

Just because he can play doesn’t mean he should. If he stepped down from the podium to pick up a violin, who would be conducting? If he performed the music for them, his musicians would not learn and grow to become better at their craft.

The conductor is not a one man band. He brings together talent and understands how to work with each individual to bring out his or her strengths so that each contributes to the unified harmony of the symphony as a whole. He then leverages that talent together for a musical masterpiece.

As a leader it’s important to know your role. Just because you can do something, it doesn’t always mean that you should. That temptation will always exist, especially when you like or are even gifted in certain areas where it might be easy for you to just pick up and do something for someone else… but… doing it for them isn’t teaching them a thing.

If your role is to lead then it is also to guide, teach, lift up and build. If you try to do it all yourself then you’re not leading. You must give others the opportunity. Sure, they may not do it the same way you would and it’s likely they will stumble a few times along the way but over time they will improve, if you lead them.


Headline photo from Chris Brenschmidt’s photostream (Creative Commons).

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