Music has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I grew up in a house that had hundreds of records and there was constantly music being played somewhere in the house. Songs can hold a lot of power too. Hearing a certain song can bring you back to a specific place in time, it can create an emotional response and it can help you focus and motivate you physically to get things done. 

Today we’ll look at the parallels between a great song and fantastic leadership.

Every song has a structure


Every song out there is held together by multiple layers of structure. You have the tempo, which drives the speed of the song, the time signature which dictates the feel of the song, and the key which rules which notes to play. Without those things you don’t have a song, you have noise. 

Think about times that you’ve worked on a team where there wasn’t much formal structure. More than likely there was a little, or a lot, of chaos. Certainly, there was a lack of direction and accountability, and more than likely it either slowed down the team’s ability to get to an objective or perhaps you never arrived at the conclusion that you wanted in the first place.

Here are some tips to ensure you’ve got a strong foundation for your team to make a great impact

  • Be clear on who the leader is, and what everyone’s role and responsibilities are. 
  • Lay out a clear timeline on due dates, progress updates, and meeting cadences. 
  • Communicate where to go for questions and support. 
  • Make yourself available for questions from the team. 
  • Check-in on progress and learn of pain points and hurdles. 
  • Adjust the structure as needed for the team. 

 Don’t beholden yourself to a set structure with no willingness to deviate. One of my favorite kinds of music is math rock. It’s a music style where the musicians are heavily knowledgeable about the rules and structure of music and use that knowledge to mix things up in new, exciting, and unexpected ways. Be willing to mix things up to keep them fresh and relevant while your team rocks its way to success. 

A great song connects emotionally to the listener


There are songs out there that people connect with on a very emotional level. Maybe they connect with the lyrics as it gives them comfort. Perhaps the song represents a specific memory or moment you had that was very important to you. The music itself can even stir or elicit an emotion from you by itself.  A great song connects with your soul in a special way. 

A person’s connection to their team and the work that they do is very influential in whether that person stays or goes somewhere else. In fact, it’s one of the leading reasons why a person leaves their job (SHOW XXX) 

As a leader, you find the ability to connect with others and to emotionally connect people to what they value will serve you very well. Here are some other shows and resources to help you continue that journey.

We’ve talked about the power of storytelling as you are leading and influencing others. Doing so with data is huge. It validates what you are saying. Couple that with an emotional pull and you have people drawn in and connecting to what you have to say. 

A great song is an anthem for others


My wife and I go to a lot of live shows. (Over 125 bands since 2022) No matter who we see there is always a crowd screaming the lyrics back at the singer. Hands in the air, fists pumping, jumping up and down….. the song is their anthem. It’s inspiring to them and drives them on multiple levels. They are all in!

Connecting with a person’s Values to their work is critical. how are you supporting that connection for their success and the success of your business? You’ve got to be a leader worth following – you got to be their proverbial anthem as they march to greatness in their work. Here are some self-reflection questions to help you determine how much of an anthem you are for others.

  • Would people follow you to another job or company?
  • What is your turnover compared to your peers?
  • Do you bring excitement and positive energy into a room or take it away?
  • Do people on your team feel empowered to do what needs to be done?
  • Do people emulate your style and practices?

Remember as your leadership becomes that song that everyone loves to listen to, to make sure that others have a chance to shine and be recognized as well. All the instruments knowing when to step up and when to step back and support also help a great song become even better. 

For another look at the power of music in leadership be sure to check out Show 107 Finding Leadership in Music and Show 367: Be the Record

Make a better tomorrow. 
-ZH