In the last “Book Suggestion” we looked at the myth of natural, or inborn talent. This book is another great read. And, it’s lessons on leadership were not only inspiring but came from an angle I would never have expected; wisdom from an orchestra conductor. Its title is…
MAESTRO: A Surprising Story About Leading By Listening by Roger Nierenberg.
Okay, a disclaimer: I’ve been to just one classical concert in my entire life. I was in my mid-20s and trying to impress a woman I’d just met who asked if I enjoyed this type of music.
“Who doesn’t?” I replied, not exactly fibbing, as it was, after all, a legitimate question. I was simply asking who doesn’t? 🙂 I think I blew my cover during the program, however, when I asked if the vendors came into the crowd to sell hot dogs or if I had to wait till the inning was over and go to the concession stand. LOL
On the other hand, I’m proud to say that my Go-Giver coauthor, John David Mann is a former concert cellist and composer, and his Dad was a renowned musicologist and maestro himself, conducting some of the most famous choirs in the world.
This book was amazing. It’s a parable and – like many of them – a fun read utilizing a story to teach a bigger life lesson. And, this lesson is the power of leading by listening; truly understanding people and what motivates them to work as one cohesive, happy and productive unit.
It was an honor to be sent the manuscript and, as part of my endorsement, wrote;
“I was absolutely captivated. The maestro will become your mentor, your teacher, and your friend.”
And, there’s a good chance that, after reading it, that is how you will feel, as well.
The author, Mr. Nierenberg, an internationally-acclaimed conductor, is creator of “The Music Paradigm” which uses the symphony orchestra as a metaphor for organizations undergoing significant change.
A couple of lessons directly from the story:
“A maestro (leader) doesn’t micromanage and demand mindless obedience, but rather communicates a larger vision, inviting people to draw upon the full range of their talents.”
“He or she enables people to feel ownership of the whole piece, not just their individual parts.”
I personally felt the way he illustrated this in the story was brilliant almost beyond comprehension. It also made me feel as though I understood the inner-workings of a symphony orchestra.
“He or she ‘leads by listening’ bringing about one’s full potential as opposed to causing defensiveness and holding back.”
From the back cover:
As the conductor says, “Eventually I realized that a great performance would happen only when the motivation sprang as much from them as from me. I learned to see my job as simply creating an environment where that could happen. Once I learned to engage their artistry, everything felt so much easier.”
Are you a leader, or do you plan to become one? If so, this book is for you.
Oh, and I’ll have two with mustard, please.