Public Relations

Leadership without words: Lessons from an Orchestral Conductor

Last week, I attended a presentation by Kenneth Woods, Principal Conductor of the English Symphony Orchestra.
His topic: Leadership without words.

Now, to someone like me – hoping to progress in my career, to lead a team and be someone that junior staff look up to in the future – it was a real lesson in what it takes to truly be a good leader.

There were three phrases from the night that I noted down verbatim because of how powerful they were. Here’s what I learnt…

Your authenticity is your most precious commodity

Authenticity matters. If you don’t believe in what you’re doing and don’t do it with truth and passion, then nobody is going to take your lead and do the same.

It’s all about presence

Yes, this was said in relation to training conductors, but there is no reason why it cannot apply to any leader in any sector. Leading or teaching with a sense of ease, poise or self-assurance will make people believe in what you’re saying or doing and respect you as a leader.

Different threads of the organisation don’t grow at the same rate

Understanding how your team – or your orchestra – is growing is essential in knowing how to manage and lead them. People learn and evolve at different rates, so it’s important not to take a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to leadership. Get to know the different threads of your organisation and support them so that they weave together into one cohesive and productive team.

A huge thanks to Kenneth for such a though-provoking presentation and to Exeter Science Park for hosting it as part of #TheSTEMMCell series.

And check out this video with Kenneth summarising his presentation:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *