One of my executive clients recently mentioned that he was feeling some anxiety about the big things in front of him. The good news is he recognized that this feeling was normal and knew that some level of anxiety would help him lift his game and prioritize things better.
And this is when I (once again) learned something new from one of my coaching clients. In this case, I mentioned the overlap between his previous career as a professional musician, where he was a drummer for 10 years, and his consistently good instincts when making business decisions, communicating with others on his leadership team, and sharing his vision for the three successful companies he is managing.
He agreed that there is an overlap between playing in bands and running companies. When I asked him to explain how they connect, he provided what I consider a nice primer on effective leadership.
He said it “begins by understanding the value others bring and finding and integrating their best parts.” This is true and the reason I start clients with an Everything DiSC workplace assessment for the teams I coach. It is important to know our own and each teammate’s natural work and communication styles—just as it is important for bandmates to know each bandmember’s natural playing style and preferred instruments. He noted that integrating the best parts from different bandmates, or teammates, requires at times stretching outside natural playing or leadership styles to find something new and better. But stretching outside our comfort zone, he noted, only happens when bandmates and teammates trust one another because stretching makes us vulnerable.
He noted that it is important to be humble, especially if you are the leader of your band or company. When I asked him to explain what this looks like, he said, “it means knowing when to drop you stuff because it’s not any good.” So true. How often do we cling to “our stuff” simply because we do not want to lose the upper hand, despite knowing “our stuff” is not worth holding onto?
Then he said, “let the best ideas win”, which as we know requires humility and an open mind. This is a point we had discussed in previous coaching sessions. But what I did not know until that moment was that he learned “let the best ideas win” in the realm of music, not business.
So, there you have it. Leadership in four easy steps from a successful musician and business leader.
Step 1: recognize the strengths others bring to the table
Step 2: integrate these strengths to make the team better
Step 3: be willing drop your own stuff if it is not any good (be humble)
Step 4: let the best ideas win