20 years ago, in 2001, there was a Hip Hop hit by Erick Sermon in conjunction with samplings of the voice of Marvin Gaye named Just Like Music.
This song was brought back to my mind as I was watching a YouTube choir rehearsal of a small HBCU by the name of Oakwood University's famous Aeolians; a choir that has gained world renown for consistently demonstrating near perfection decade after decade. I was reminded of how all leaders are really trying to make music in whatever domain it is that they operate in.
I've watched this video before, concentrating mainly on the singers. But, tonight I was focused on the masterful performance of their current choir director, Dr. Jason Ferdinand. This choir has produced some of the most beautiful vocal sounds I have ever heard. But, it struck me that the pivotal reason why these sounds were able to be produced were not so much because of the actual singers, though certainly without them, the project would not be possible. Instead, what made this art and creativity possible was the mastery of the director. And, without the director, even the talent of the singers would never fully be actualized for me to experience.
In order to keep this post from getting too long, here are some non-obvious things that stood out to me about his leadership:
- Great leaders may not be as talented as those they lead, but they are able to see (and hear) how various talented individuals are able to come together and form an even greater talented whole.
- Great leaders are able to teach those they lead how to increase the range of their skills. There are several layers to this. In some instances the teaching may look like knowing the right analogies to help those following to understand a complex idea. In other instances it may be verbally and physically guiding each and every movement of the various parts of the group, choir, or team to the exact spot they need to be in for proper execution.
- Great leaders are in love with the outcome they seek to deliver and that enthusiasm is naturally and infectiously conveyed upon those they lead even while in rehearsal.
Of course there'd obviously be a need to recruit the right talent and attitudes in the first place, but here I wanted to stick to what could specifically be seen in the video.