I chose an orchestra as the model to present my ideal leadership. I have been playing flute since the age of 9 years old and have been in the orchestra for the past 10 years. Every audience, including myself before joining the orchestra, thinks that it is easy to perform in the orchestra, at least, when it comes to two things: cymbals and conducting. In fact, playing the cymbals is never easy, since it requires a perfect technique for a complete crash sound. Echo needs to arrive at the exact moment that is after the crash; therefore, cymbal players pull the cymbals into upper body, which can make their body shake. This is the reason, why they are the ones with the shortest life span in the orchestra. The other thing that may look similarly easy is conducting; however, a music conductor must be the hardest position in the orchestra. First of all, just consider why conductors earns the highest salary out of the orchestra group?. The conductor of an orchestra is the only person that does not perform any musical instruments or sing. The conductor does the work that seems the easiest, yet, it is the hardest. He or she supervises the rehearsals for a long time so that the orchestra can perform at its best during concerts.
The results of the performance will be different based on the difference between conductors, if the same orchestra members would perform the same piece. Musicians can explore the various leadership styles through difference in conductors, including their strengths and drawbacks. When a musician does not perform perfectly, this is said to be human erring; however, when it comes to a conductor, he is referred to as a criminal. This assumes that the conductor bears responsibility: should he fail, the entire orchestra work is a waste. This is the reason why conductor earns the highest salary on stage, although he does not play any musical instruments.
A conductor stands at the front of the orchestra; other members of the orchestra can be moved, but he cannot. A conductor conducts the orchestra on a platform called a “podium”, which is about 30cm in height, so that every orchestra member can see him. It includes a safety rail as some conductors jump when conducting. A conductor does far more than waving a baton. He or she is in the important position in making music. A conductor must know precisely about the musical pieces for the season. In fact, majority of conductors memorize scores. This is an example of expert power, as described by French and Raven. I would like to possess superior skills and knowledge to be a leader whom others can admire. However, I recognize that in order to achieve this, I need to develop knowledge and experience in the industry.
Sometimes, the roles of the conductor and the music director are shared. In this case of shared leadership, a music director plans concerts, select repertoire, and recruit new musicians, while conductor communicates with the concertmaster and section leaders and is responsible for music. Shared leadership, in such an example, further expands to the interaction between the conductor and concertmaster, as well as may be the case with other professionals in the field.
A conductor does the most of the talking; therefore, he or she might be viewed as a politician. A conductor not only understands the musical ability of over hundred members but also controls the relationship among them. I have seen many musicians resign after getting hurt by the conductor’s word. Thus, it is essential to have interpersonal competence. For example, there was a guest conductor in the orchestra, who was not experienced due to his background as a musician. He kept repeating “based on my experience of being in an orchestra for several years…”. However, his conducting was clumsy, so he did not gain the trust from the orchestra members. Needless to say, the performance failed.
Strong leadership, in other words strong conductor, is needed in all times. Then, who is the best conductor? The one who delivers perfect performance to the audience or who makes sure that his orchestra outperforms other bands? These all could be the correct answers. A conductor can use his coercive power, as depicted by French and Raven,so that the orchestra performs a high level of performance without making any error. However, committed conductors create the environment that allows musicians unveil all their talents and emotions. Hence, it is crucial for a leader to possess emotional intelligence, so that he could control both his and other people’s emotions. Strong conductor makes musicians feel creativity as if they are making music; moreover, he fosters an atmosphere so that every musician feels personal responsibility. That is the leader I would like to become in the future.
What would a conductor do when a musician makes mistakes during a rehearsal? Most people think that the conductor would drive him into a corner or give a sever warning. However, this is not true. The best conductor that I had once met, said, “It is okay. You might have been right. It could be my fault—the conductor’s fault. Let’s do it again”. The individual stopped making the same mistake again. The conductor demonstrated servant leadership, a philosophy and practice as depicted by Robert K. Greenleaf. Likewise, I would like to become a leader who does not override his authority over others. The conductor, Lorin Maazel stated that he never forgets humor or compliments in the first meeting, rehearsal, or even in the last rehearsal. I will strive to share my energy and spirit and expand my support to the team, whether in a role of a leader or not. My strengths are my endless smiles and optimistic attitude, and I believe these characteristics can be extremely effective and beneficial. At present, there are high levels of occupational stress; however, there are coping strategies and stress-reduction techniques. I might need to deploy all of these techniques since they will supplement my strengths to make me a strong leader in the future.
An incapable conductor is worthless. However, those who think of themselves as outstanding conductors and act like kings are even worse. If people respect the leader and get impressed by his pure will, then it is charisma, as described by Musser. However, if there is a fear of the leader, then it is coercion leadership practice, which has temporary effect. Great conductors do not harass musicians for their own fame or achievements. I would like to become a leader who allows each person become the owner of his own “music” and create the environment where the musicians can play with passion, to foster harmony among people.
In the orchestra, a conductor manages and leads orchestra members to combine different sounds into melody. A conductor gives necessary authority so that each musician can practice autonomously. Orchestra members have responsibility and the conductor needs to support and lead them to perform professionally instead of reigning over them. In the orchestra, each member is already an artist, so the role of the conductor is not only in enhancing each musician’s technique, but rather in establishing harmony. An orchestra needs to make one melody out of combined sound different instruments. It is similar to the organization. I would like to be a leader who supports each team member and strengthens his skill or abilities and creates a condition where the team members can achieve the harmony.
In the orchestra, if the leader cannot control the conflicts or disagreements between team members, then the performance suffers. In today’s global world, a cross-cultural conflict becomes a commonplace (Montel 2011). A leader is most likely having team members with high or low context, collectivist or individualist, and monochromic or polychromic perception of time. I have learned that the major difference of time perception can cause many cross-cultural issues and problems, especially in the workplace. I never have or will apply the concept of ethnocentrism because cross-cultural issues arise due to different cultural context. Now, thanks to Dr. Edward, I have cultural intelligence, and I will not make the same mistake in the future when doing a business in other country within a different cultural context. I will learn about other cultures and be open-minded as I believe in the importance of diversity, especially in the globalizing world. Based on my experience as an expatriate, I have learned that it is necessary to understand the culture and language of another country fully before doing any work there. Also, I will provide cross-cultural training to my subordinates when they travel to a different country, regardless of their period of stay. Of course, the longer they stay, the more training is needed. Most people try to avoid cultural collisions; however, there may be a situation where a conflict needs to be resolved. Dr. Edward elaborated different types of conflict, as well as how to deal with them. As a leader in the future, I will deal with each conflict by applying a different strategy which suits the situation.
A conductor has a decision authority as he or she can decide the role of the musician in the orchestra or even reject him through the auditions. However, deciding ranking or the orchestra seating are the means for achieving the final goal, and not goal itself. Likewise, in an organization, there is a rise or promotion based on the evaluation. However, if I become a leader in the future, I would like to make sure that the goal is clear for every team member and strive to achieve the best results through the organizational commitment and harmony among the team members, as it is emphasized by Montel.
There are various instruments in the orchestra, and the conductor cannot be careless about the musicians who are in the back raw, since he should value and treat everybody equally and with respect. If the tympani suddenly fail, the entire performance is ruined. It is similar in the organization. Every role and every person is valuable in the organization, and there is no one to be managed with negligence. Just like Dr. Edward mentioned in the class, anybody can exercise power in the organization, secretary and genitors, who are normally treated with neglect. Hence, a leader should appreciate the role of every person in the organization, as each member work faithfully for one team’s goal.
A conductor needs to be sensitive to each instrument’s melody and rhythm. He or she cannot miss even one sound that numerous instruments make. A conductor has a plan, how the performance should sound. I realized that I do not fall into one leadership category, since I possess mixed attributes, which are outlined in the 4 E’s of leadership. For future projects, I will be a leader who envisions clear goals for the team. Also, I will always have ideas of direction I would like the team to go before starting. In addition, I want not only to support my team members, but also be supported by them. A conductor cannot do everything on his own. He or she often delegates authority to section leaders, especially during the sectional rehearsal, and this practice is called empowering. I will confident to empower the members of the team, because having power will help them build trust with one another and the leader. I will make sure to provide my assistance and support to both sectional leaders and the team members. Any person will be loyal to the leader who admits their weak parts and expresses personal interest for his subordinates. Hence, I would like to be sensitive to the problem of each team member and be caring and supportive for them. It is individual sounds that make orchestra music. If the leader constantly tries to pay attention and listen to each section, then each sound will be heard and produce a harmonious performance.
A conductor is required to understand and interpret not only the characteristics of each instrument, but the entire piece to be performed, as well. A conductor may not perform every instrument in the orchestra, but needs to be aware of their characteristic, sound, and role in the band. In the future, I will strive to thoroughly analyze and understands each of my team member’s task and responsibilities. In addition, a conductor needs to have the ability to reproduce the music according to the composer’s intention, as well as the ability to deliver his own interpretation. Maestro Jung Myung-Hoon stated that he always puts the composure of the piece so as to combine both the intention of the composer and his interpretation of the piece. I am willing to maintain humility like demonstrated by Maestro Jung. Another example demonstrating the Level Five Leader is when the conductor gives credit to the orchestra members; right after the concert is over, the audience starts clapping, and the conductor allows them to have a bow. I remember the applause and how this gives me a feeling of reward. I also felt that I was on the right path and that I was putting my time and energy in the right direction. I felt as being on a prominent mission, and my goals became eminently clear to me. I am willing to value and seek intrinsic rewards from whatever task I perform in the future. Hopefully, the future will provide challenging tasks for me, because they give me a feeling of increased achievements and satisfaction.
Also, a conductor needs to have both faith and trust for musicians under his coaching. This will help both the orchestra members perform successfully and help the conductor set the tune for improving his band. The same principle is required to be the leader. I would like to develop my expertise and the ability to manage the people, so that they feel a firm faith and reward for the work that they are doing.
No matter how extraordinary orchestra members are, in order to have a perfect harmony and performance, they need to see the conductor while performing. If the musicians do not look at the conductor when he gives the sign or if they are stubborn over their own style, then the performance will fail. Likewise, both leader and the team members need to put the organizational goal over individual goal, which is called transformational leadership. Transformational leadership allows a leader to stimulate the team members contribute to the organizational interest above the self-interest and make further improvement themselves. I will apply this leadership principle in the future so that my actions help team members remain motivated; thus, enhance the overall achievement. I like to use this leadership principle in the future because it is different from the transactional leadership where one leader leads the entire organization; this is because I would like to understand each member’s interest and help make a change and transformation for each of the members. I am resilient to change. In order to be an effective leader in the future, I will need to demonstrate resilience, rather than resistance to change, if change is needed for the organization. However, sometimes, changes are not necessary; if that is the case, I might resist. At present, the world is constantly changing, including with the market; hence there is a need to manage the change. Transformational leadership will also enhance the intimacy and fits to my motto of “working with enjoyment”. It will create an environment where team members can enjoy their work, but creating an inclusive environment so that they work with passion and outperform set goals. My ideal leadership is not vertical and one-sided, but it is rather a leadership model, where every single person’s interests are considered and team members are encouraged to help each other. I need team members to respect me as a leader and my accomplishments; however, I do not want them to have blind obedience, but rather, I want them to become partners in the leadership and dedicate their time in achieving the goal. Self-esteem is a necessary element for a leader in forming a healthy organization. I need to train myself to accept myself, trust my thoughts instead of relying on another’s values or judgments, respect my actions and beliefs, focus on my goals, and live a life where my thoughts and behaviors match.
The Orpheus Chamber Orchestra demonstrates collaborative leadership. Every member participates in the decision making process through discussion to reach consensus. They have performed decades without a conductor. It is a nonhierarchical horizontal teamwork. If this were a company, it is a company operated by the employees’ consultation without a CEO. Despite this, the orchestra is world-renowned. Of course, its unique operation system might only work in the small organization with a high degree of professionalism. This is appealing to me because this orchestra not only created a model that can achieve superior results through horizontal group decision making process, but also gave me some key points that help me create my own leadership model. First is the willingness. Everyone became passionate like the conductor once the authority was shared. As a leader in the future, I probably would not come up with equally shared leadership model as I do believe that having a leader with authority, at some point, might be helpful to the organization. I am aware that some guidance gives other members a satisfaction and passion; therefore, I would be prone to develop group conscious building through a discussion. Conscientiousness is one of the five elements of Tim Judge’s Big 5 personality traits.
In conclusion, I was able to create my own leadership model, through the role of a conductor. Whether I am on the stage as a member of the orchestra or sit on a seat in an audience, I have always been impressed and thrilled after the performance, due to the perfect harmony the orchestra makes, despite a variety of different instruments are played together. In fact, music might come from any musical instrument, but the harmony does not. I believe it is made by the conductor’s leadership. As stated in the paper earlier, an orchestra can perform without having a conductor. However, I would like to be the leader that is needed. My ideal leadership model includes humility that allows the conductor share the glory by turning over the applause from the audience to orchestra members. Moreover, I would like to be passionate myself and make others to be filled with passion, as well. My leadership is mixed, as it involves horizontal integration through teamwork; yet it is vertical, as I am dedicated to demonstrating the charismatic leadership based on the trust, fairness, and clear communication with others. I would like to become a leader who not only motivates oneself but also others.