Leadership as a harmonious blending

Avocation: a subordinate occupation pursued in addition to one’s vocation especially for enjoyment : Hobby Merriam-Webster online dictionary

My first career in music became my avocation quite a while ago — which was the best thing that ever happened for me, since now I find therapy in making music. But when I quit music as a career field, I missed the rush of conducting a performing organization and the feeling of satisfaction in bringing the best interpretation forward through my conductor’s baton. I would point at one group, and they would add their voices; gesture to another section and they would whisper their accompaniment; while I lifted the soloist to bring out the melody.

I recouped some of that feeling through playing the organ. At my fingertips, I had the instruments of the orchestra at my beck and call. What fun, to mold a composition to my individual style. My right brain was challenged, and balanced the left brain logic and analytical thinking I was doing at work.

Somehow, while practicing today, “work me” invaded “personal me” when I realized that playing the organ is a microcosm of organizational leadership. Just as I set up various instrument combinations on each manual, with complementing voices and timbres, I look for complementing skills and attributes in staff teams. Where I use couplers to bring various voicings on the organ into other settings, I bring additional resources into various work projects that I’m leading. Adding a higher pitched stop adds a brilliance, and adding more bass to the pedal gives a stronger foundation.

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