Benjamin Zander: Conductor

Zander on Leadership and Management. A few brief foot notes from his inspiring TED talk and acclaimed book, The Art of Possibility. A deservedly renowned contributor to leadership studies:

* A leader cannot doubt, even for a single moment, the capacity of his followers to realize his vision. That is the only way to achieve success as a team.
* As a leader, it is important to keep awakening possibilities in his followers. Zander likened a leader’s role to that of a conductor, who cannot make music on his own, but is able to bring out the best in his musicians to create wonderful music.
* A successful leader always inspires his followers to be passionate and motivated, and these feelings are reflected in their shining eyes. To Zander, a leader’s success is not measured by his wealth, fame or power, but rather, the number of shining eyes he has around him.
* The same principle applies to children: If the eyes of one’s child are not shining, it is time to evaluate one’s effectiveness as a parent.
* It is important to always have the correct and positive perspective.

One Reply to “Benjamin Zander: Conductor”

  1. Zander quoted the story of two shoes salesmen who went to Africa to research the potential market there. One was despondent and reported to headquarters that there was no hope for the business since nobody wore shoes. The other salesman interpreted the same situation as there being a totally new market to be explored and tapped into. It is no surprise that the latter had a greater chance at success.

    Following from the above, to be a good leader, one needs to be able to see the positive aspects in every situation so as to motivate one’s followers, channeling that optimism into success.
    On the Power of Words

    According to Zander, the words one say does make a difference.

    Zander learnt this lesson from a Jewish lady who survived the Holocaust (Zander is a Jew himself, and his parents escaped from Berlin to the U.S. during the Holocaust). The lady was 15 years old when she was captured and sent to a concentration camp with her younger brother, then eight. En route, she chided him for having lost his shoes. She never saw him again, and regretted not having said nicer parting words to him.

    Henceforth, she vowed that she must have no regrets over what she says to another person, even if it turns out to be the last thing that she will ever say to him or her. That is an important principle to follow not just as a leader, but also during one’s interactions with the many people one comes across in daily life.

    More of Benjamin Zander’s insights can be found in his book titled The Art of Possibility, co-written with his wife, Rosamund Stone Zander.

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