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Letters to a Young Manager

A tale of two choirs, #290
LTYM > Leadership and Values

Dear Sophie,
We had a small choir at our church. It was a struggling group, but passionate about music. They had convinced those of us in the Vestry (our governing board) that we needed a serious pipe organ, and led the fundraising to build it. The organ was larger than the choir, but oh did it sing.

Our priest felt that such an organ would help us attract a professional organist to lead the choir. A talented musician needed a world-class instrument.

The first organist we hired, I will name Matthew, was brilliant and composed his own music, which he wove into the Sunday service.  But Matthew was a poor director.  The choir struggled some more. Some left the group, unhappy.  The organ sounded grand; the choir sounded awful.  Eventually we asked him to leave.

The second organist we hired, I will call him Luke, was a music teacher in a local high school and a passable organist.  Luke was a talented director and the choir responded.  They sounded better each week.  Some who left before rejoined the group. You could feel (and hear) the connection between the choir and organist.  Luke was a music leader.

The interesting thing was that this was the same choir and the same hymns, but to music was so different. The choir was energized.  Good leaders do that, they bring out the best in people, they grow the talent. 



A leader brings out the hidden talents

Discussion Questions:

1) When have you experienced a good leader or teacher who brought out the best in you?  What did they do differently?
2) If you had a choice between hiring a great soloist or a team player, who would you choose?  What are the risks and rewards?

For Further Reading:

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