It’s OK to turn your back on the audience

From WeAreTheCity’s Future Leader’s blog 



Imagine sitting in the audience at a classical music concert, seeing the faces of the musicians but usually only the back of the conductor. In fact, the conductor spends very little time facing you, the audience.

They spend most of their time facing the orchestra, which is effectively their team. They are guiding them to play beautifully and with great impact together.

And have you noticed how perfectly the musicians play together, seemingly unaware of each other, yet clearly very aware as they harmonise with each other through their various instruments, providing their own unique contribution to the music.
And then, once in awhile, the conductor faces the audience and shares what’s going on – what they are doing, what we can expect, what they will or have delivered. And we, the audience, feel seen and well taken care of.

The interaction between conductor and orchestra is a great example of teamwork and leadership. By focusing a large chunk of their time on the team, the conductor helps them work and perform better together than they ever could have done on their own.

You can’t play a symphony on your own!

So take inspiration from the world of music.

If you’re a leader, ask yourself this question: Am I giving the team the focus and guidance they really need to be able to deliver or am I focusing too much of my time outside the team? Are you for example attending meetings all day, hence not having enough time for your team and its needs?

All leadership is of course a balance act; you need to carefully balance all your stakeholders. Do you get the balance right? Are there maybe stakeholders that you give more focus than they need or want? Are there stakeholders that need more focus than they are currently getting?

Take inspiration from the world of music and reflect on how you spend your time as a leader. Give the team enough focus and support so that they can deliver with your guidance and support. Orchestras are also a powerful reminder of how important all team members are.

You can’t play a symphony on your own!



About the authors

Mandy Flint & Elisabet Vinberg Hearn, award-winning authors of ”The Team Formula”.

Their latest book, multi-award-winning ”Leading Teams – 10 Challenges: 10 Solutions”, published by Financial Times International is a practical tool for building winning teams. You can download a free chapter of the book at

Praise for ”Leading Teams: ”Enjoyable to read. Simple to understand. Practical to implement. A must read for team members or leadersDebbie Fogel-Monnissen, Executive Vice President, International Markets Finance Officer, Mastercard, NY, USA

Author: Mandy and Elisabet

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