Any group of people with a good leader pursues goals with heightened vigor and executes tasks with greater efficiency. Thus, wherever there are people with shared goals to be achieved, there should be a leader.
However, leadership types differ depending on the context of the group and the type of goals they are chasing. Let’s focus today on leadership within creative projects. A specific skill set and mindset are required, and the presence or lack thereof is what will distinguish a poor from a potent band leader.
In this article, we will explore what makes an effective band leader. We’ll look at how they strategize, communicate and behave in order to achieve the best results from a group of musicians. And what is the best result? A synchronized group that strives towards common goals with shared enthusiasm and energy.
1. Potent band leaders make each member feel seen and heard
It starts with connection. Good band leaders actively work on developing a strong emotional connection with band members. Where there is a sincere and authentic connection, trust develops, and when there is trust, members will feel safe and secure to share their honest thoughts and ideas. With all ideas on the table, they can start negotiating synchronicities.
Good band leaders are great listeners. Making band members feel heard and understood is crucial to negotiating synchronized views, but also prevents the festering of resentment. Hidden resentments have the power to tear groups apart if not dealt with, so, an effective band leader actively prevents them from manifesting to begin with.
2. Potent band leaders drive members to be their best
These types of leaders help members to reach their potential with a tailored approach. They know that one size does not fit all. Through a great willingness to listen and understand, and often through trial and error, they learn how to work with various members. They find out what makes them tick. It could be affirmation from respected peers, inspiring works from other artists, online comments from fans, simple recognition, small gifts, shiny new instruments…They will work out a winning recipe for each individual. They will invest energy and time in building people up.
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3. Potent band leaders are obsessed with growth
Holding growth up high as an ongoing priority, effective leaders provide excellent feedback as frequently as possible: they give praise where praise is due, criticism where improvements can be made, and words of encouragement to ensure that members learn new things as they go.
They are truly passionate and even a little bit obsessed with reaching potential. Their drive toward greatness is not only impressive, but it is also contagious.
4. Potent band leaders are “member-centered”
Self-centeredness is a label unfitting to a leader, even though it often sticks. Leaders sometimes use their positions of power to bulldoze over the opinions of others, but effective band leaders will never act on behalf of the group without consulting them first.
Before bold actions are taken, they will discuss them with the group. In this process, they will be humble: good leaders accept the possibility that their own opinions might be flawed, and in the process of asking the group for input, they also allow scrutiny of their own ideas.
They know that they are not always right and that they can learn from others in the group. They do not only flirt with this possibility, they face it as a fact.
5. Potent band leaders believe in teamwork
Sharing responsibilities makes every member of the group feel as if they have an important role to play in the maintenance of the project. By involving, we are essentially assigning value. Some typical accountabilities of band leaders include maintaining discipline, providing solutions to problems, predicting future outcomes, and ensuring the sustainability of the project.
Clever leaders will not take on these big responsibilities alone. They will treat every band member as a precious resource that can assist in various areas. They do not operate in isolation and they don’t stand on the podium yelling orders. Potent leaders strategically share the proverbial load.
6. Potent band leaders roll with the punches
Effective band leaders will understand and accept the unpredictable nature of creative projects. They understand that songwriters go through dry spells and that guitar strings snap. They anticipate the photographer forgetting to bring a second battery to the shoot and have an ace up their sleeves when JJ's Rock Bar ends up having a PA system that comes out of 1867. They hope for the best but prepare for the worst. They adapt to survive and guide the members of the group to do the same.
Ingredients for potency
When leading creative projects, leading means believing. Effective leaders comprehend, admire and respect the vision of the band and lead full-heartedly, but also with sensitivity and fluidity. They are approachable, motivational, inspirational, selfless, resourceful and adaptable…these are the ingredients that make the mixture potent.
Carla Malrowe is an avid alternative songwriter and vocalist from South Africa, currently residing in The Netherlands. Check out her electro-industrial project, Psycoco's single “Stay Awake.” Malrowe’s music is a haunting juxtaposition of electronic and analogue sounds with lyrics that explore a post-apocalyptic conflict between love and loss. Her solo EP, 'The petals and sand' is set to be released later this year.
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