Saturday, February 11, 2012

Lessons on Leadership from Really Bad Singing

On Friday night I got to attend the volunteer appreciation banquet that our Children's Ministry area had. Two days before that my friend and co-worker Angel asked if I would be willing to help out with a performance at the banquet. It would involve singing, and since I did some singing in high school (OK, so that was 25 years ago - leave me alone!), I thought, "Why not? Sounds like fun." What I didn't know was that we would be performing - or attempting to perform - a parody of Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen. Keep in mind that Queen was comprised of operatically-trained singers with years of practice, and that we would have an hour-and-a-half to work on it the day before the big day. No pressure.

So the five of us who would be performing gathered in our worship arts office suite and started 'working on it.' Three of us had significant music performance experience...and then there was me and Kim, another sucker. As we started, I don't think I've ever felt that much in the dark before. They just played the karaoke version of the song and picked out their parts as easily as they had poured milk on their morning cereal. Meanwhile, I had no flipping idea what I was supposed to be singing. Sure, they gave me the first note, which was swell, but after that, I was as lost as Tom Hanks in Castaway. As they sang and had a good time - I had a good time, too - I thought, "I am SO screwed! It's a good thing that I won't be performing this in front of hundreds of people. Oh wait, I am?!? AAAHHHHH!!!!" As I type this, the big performance is in a few hours and I am looking for my raincoat to fend off the rotten fruit thrown my way.

I had a couple of thoughts during this experience:

Don't Assume
Because you know what that does to you and me, right? If you are a leader, don't assume that everything that makes sense to you makes sense to everyone else. You are a leader because you have been doing what you have been doing for a long time, usually. And the people you are leading may just be beginning. Don't assume that they are at your level or know what you know. You need to train them well so that they can be on the way of knowing what you know. And make sure you stop along the way to make sure they are still feeling good and not overwhelmed (like I felt, not knowing what I should be singing). And maybe, just maybe, that person is not cut out for the job that is assigned to them. A good leader must be able to recognize that and make the tough call of reassigning them for the good of all those involved.

Ask For Help
Just because you are a leader doesn't mean you know everything. You have people who know more than you do. You feel clueless about stuff. Don't try and play it off like you have it all figured out, because you don't. A good leader is humble enough to be willing to say, "Can we stop for a minute? I have no clue what I'm supposed to be singing here." It's for your best interest, and that of your organization, that you continue to learn and ask questions.

Have you ever felt this way? How does this apply to your leadership area?

1 comment:

Angel Hillman said...

Wow...I'm feeling like a really bad leader right now!
But in any case...you RAWKED it:-)