Would conductors make good directors?
I recently read a great interview with Itay Talgram, who has conducted some of the world's greatest orchestras. He contrasts the approaches of six different conductors and contends that "simply commanding people is not enough". He believes that building a culture that will emancipate people and encourage cooperation is the preferred route.
As an example of a leadership style that failed to achieve this he tells us about Riccardo Muti, whose very stern approach (allowing musicians no room for interpretation of the music outside of his own), engendered stress amongst those "under his baton". This eventually led to a letter asking him to resign from La Scala - signed by 700 employees...
He recommends "keynote listening" rather than "keynote speaking" - the idea being that if you listen actively to everyone, you will make them want to speak to you. This is hardly rocket science, but it is absolutely true, in my opinion. I still come across plenty of examples of business leaders who say "my way or no way" and don't involve people with talent and ideas to make progress in the organisation, through a sense of cooperation, shared ownership and belonging.
Perhaps good leaders can listen to staff in ways that allow them to speak - often about things they would never have otherwise thought of expressing... Could this reduce the stress and rigidity of some companies?
Your views are very much appreciated. What do you think? Have you come across a particularly successful leadership style?