Parts of a whole

It’s DCI season, so naturally I’ve been watching my favorite Crops on Youtube, I think the Bluecoats may pull of a repeat, but the Blue Devils musicality is insane. All this marching band has me thinking back to my days in the Big Bear Marching Band at Hastings. How did we get 80+ teenagers to all to come together and make formations, stay in step, and play music from memory? How did my band directors get us to go from a band that wasn’t expected to do place well to creating the district’s top band program?

I think it was probably a variety of things. But, I think it came down to one thing: trusting each one of us. In order for the corps to score high, everyone must do their part while understanding that it is not about them. The best corps are the ones that make you forget that there are people there. They facilitate your musical experience. That sounds weird and kinda cold, but what I mean is that no one is going rouge and trying to make the show about them. Everyone making their addition to creating a beautiful picture.

When you think of the best teams, you may think of one or two standouts, but for the most parts when you think of a good team you think of them as a whole. Everyone is playing their role perfectly, so much so that you don’t see the individual. The team has become a well-oiled machine

Now the question is how do you get your team their. By being a leader. That sounds cheesy. But it’s the truth. It’s my version of my Anna D’s response, “it depends”. She’s right though, it depends. In order to create a well-oiled machine. You have to know your team, teach your team, and trust your team. I’m not going to go too much into all of this because I’ve said some of this stuff in What starting a Student Organization taught me about Business and Professionalism, as explained by a 7 and 1/2 month old professional but I will say that your team cannot be WOM if your members don’t know what their role is!!!! I cannot stress this enough! Think about a time where you hated your job. Why did you hate it? Besides David, because who likes David? Part of it was probably because you did know what you were suppose to be doing or what you were suppose to be doing kept changing. Leaders, how do you expect the individual to perform, if they don’t know what they are supposed to do. Do better. Figure out who is on your team and what their strengths/ weakness are. Anna D does this through 1:1s and regular check-ins. When you get to know your team, it’ll be easier to know what role to put each person in.

Teach your team! After you’ve made it clear what they are doing, teach them. This can come in variety of way. How you teach of team members depends on that person is. Think about a marching band again, each member has to memorize their formation position and most importantly their music; how they do it maybe different, but they all have to do it. As a leader it is your job to create a space that allows them to do whatever they feel is best. Basically, just let them learn in whatever way works best form them. Oh, and after you’ve taught them DO NOT MICROMANAGE. please. There is so much I want to say about micromanaging, but it will turn into a rant, so I’ll say this. Micromanaging the biggest waste your time. And check out this NPR piece on micromanaging called : “Micromanagers Drive Employees Crazy”.  If you are a micromanager, STOP IT!

Trust your team. That’s how my band directors did/ do it. Your team is filled with potential, they can do it. You as a leader just have to lead them. I really don’t have much to say about trusting your team. Just know I’m not saying that you’ll wake up tomorrow and trust your team, nah, like almost things in leadership this takes time. You just has give them opportunities to gain your trust and be open enough for you to gain theirs.

I wanted to end that last paragraphs, “Once you do that, you’ll have a well oiled machine”, but that’s not true. The truth is, it depends. It always depends. As a leader, you can only do your part, but at the end of the day people are people and that comes with a lot a variables. Just be smart and understand that the suggestions above are only apart what I believe it take to get your team to well oiled-machine status.

This leadership thing is hard and there is no end to learning. When you stop learning and that’s when you just become a manager.

J is alive

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