Of all the TED Talks I have seen over the years, a particular one has resurfaced over and over again. Benjamin Zander’s talk “The transformative power of classical music” has had a lot to teach me. And not always about music, this time it was about leadership.
Now, I had an amazing experience. I was 45 years old, I’d been conducting for 20 years, and I suddenly had a realization. The conductor of an orchestra doesn’t make a sound. But the conductor doesn’t make a sound. He depends, for his power, on his ability to make other people powerful. And that changed everything for me.
I realized my job was to awaken possibility in other people.
What a great job to have! To awaken the possibility in other people. To see their potential and work with them to realize it. But how do you know if you are succeeding?
How do you find out? You look at their eyes. If their eyes are shining, you know you’re doing it.
If the eyes are not shining, you get to ask a question. And this is the question: who am I being that my players’ eyes are not shining? We can do that with our children, too. Who am I being, that my children’s eyes are not shining? That’s a totally different world.
As conductors. As parents. As leaders. Who am I being that they are not realizing their potential? Self awareness and appreciation for those you serve are a powerful potential in all of us. A totally different world indeed.