Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Leadership Styles In The Music Business

“Real leaders are people who help us overcome the limitations of our own individual laziness and selfishness and weakness and fear and get us to do better, harder things than we can get ourselves to do on our own.”

Sometimes, a leader has to push for perfection. I learned this lesson after several years in the military. I found that I was routinely calling on certain individuals to perform critical tasks, because I knew that they would get the job done. What I did not realize was that there was a certain resentment building up amongst these individuals, because they felt overworked. It was not until I explained Wallace’s theory (or my own version of it) that I gained cooperation.

Simply letting people know why I was using the authoritarian leadership style netted great gains, and I still use it to this day. When a new artist comes into my studio, I tell them upfront: “if it sounds like [stuff], I’m going to tell you it sounds like [stuff], because I know you can do better, and I ask you to do the same.”

However, the music business is one that thrives on the participative management style. Whether it is a band situation, or an artist-producer arrangement, everyone benefits by listening to new ideas. I have learned things from my clients and my mentor that I would have never known if I was not promoting a brainstorming-type of environment.

We all know the delegators. These are the “idea” people, with grand visions and minimal execution skills. They talk a lot, but do very little. There is a place for them in the music business, because the industry is starving for new ideas. However, musicians do not respond very well to them. Giving them an idea with absolutely no strategy for accomplishment leaves them feeling abandoned. At the same time, it is sometimes useful to delegate a task to a client in order to judge their commitment to achieving success.

There is a need for all three leadership styles in the music business, but the participative one generally yields the greatest results.

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