Zen and the Executive Mind : Leadership and Learning MusicJitendra Bansal (B11084)Leadership is a art in which a person, personified by one of his qualities, goes forward to inspire othersand mentors and helps them to do their work in a better way.So what is required from a person to become a leader? Many things can be expected of a leader, a cleanconsious, ability to forsee the future, ability to understand the strengths and weaknesses of his team sothat he could direct and mentor the team members in the best possible way.But above all, the most important quality for a leader will be to have just one simple quality that thefollowers admire, and would aspire for.Leadership does not restrict itself only to business. It can be applied to any horizon and still is definedwithin the same set of fundamentals. Even the horizons of music can be studied to find out the variousexamles of leadership and people leading others and their teams to great achievements: Again what canbe defined as leadership. At the same time it provides enough food for thought for individuals today inunderstanding their leadership style and understanding how an art can be used to get things done moreefficiently in an organization.Taking a very high birds eye view of the strategies involved in Music, it can be very easily compared withthat of what we have in a business, both are very huge global forces that do not have any any boundariesand often surpass the boundaries of oceans, geographies and languages. Whether it be a musician or anmanager( leader) both have to find ways to create, innovate, and overcome the challenges of newtechnologies that come up. Both the musician and the leader have to work with the resources that theyhave available and utilize them efficiently at the same time deal with the constant change that defines theenvironment.Both have to put in efforts to be competent and successful and in the process have to create value forthemselves and others. There similarities tell us that enables us to learn by watching the ways followed.The art of music and the boundaries of musicians are so vast, they provide the classic options of how wellthey listen, communicate and cooperate with others, use their imagination , at the same time create orsolve problems around them as well, thus offering insights for anyone who wishes to learn more aboutthem.Music is an eye that can help us pass through the distances of time and place, and can be used to travel toany other time or place as the musician wishes or demands for himself and the audience.Music is a lovely book that can tell us more than any books of history, science or philosophy can, about aparticular time, people, place, the way they lived etc .Music can also be used as an experiment, that can leave behind the biggest of experiments and researcheson people, leaving behind and understanding the aura.Music can be the biggest frontrunner that can be used best to communicate the culture of a region ornation, people or community, a society or a tribe.So the drawing of parallel between leadership and music leaves us with certain questions in our minds. Ismusic so powerful that it can tell us about the world that was and the world that will be, if it is so goodinto research can it give us insights into understanding the reasons behind the changes that arehappening around us throughout. If music can tell us so much about our history, can it also tell us whereare civilization is heading and what and when will be the end. Can Music really help us develop and hone
the our internal self? Our self confidence and understanding of ourselves.Let us study some of the lessonsfrom Music for a leader Today from various Texts.Leadership is a lifelong journey to a greater degree of self-awareness and interpersonal skills. It is about“understanding” and “connecting” with others and moving them forward to new places. Developing yourability as a leader is a journey out to the world around you to understand what is changing. It is also abouta journey inside yourself to know more about your values, fears, joys, strengths and limitations. The self isthe instrument in the performance of leadership. In new and uncertain situations it is important toremember that we each have inside of ourselves what we need to succeed. The challenge in life is torecognize this and to know how to draw on it when circumstances change. And also to ensure that all thepossibilities are evaluated well in advance and there lies options and possible plans for when thecircumstances can actually arise, so that both the things at hand and the team can be streered clear of anypossible deviation from the actual path of success that was intially planned.Again leadership is not about leaders in business, its highly valuable to learn about leaders from otherdesciplines.Learning through metaphors as one does in Leadership Through Music enables one to clearthe clutter of daily life and more clearly seek answers to how we can become more effective in our work,our communities, our families and our lives.So, there are three basic questions that can help shop us direction when we wish to gather value throughthis route. 1. What are you personally challenged most by in your role as a manager or leader?2. What are the key issues that your organization is currently facing for which you would like to resolve?3. What is changing in your customers and the marketplace and how are you dealing with this?The answer that connects all the above questions and helps us provide an answer to all of them, is theability to use ourself as an Instrument. This can be an instrument for anything that we expect. Aninstrument for change, creativity or just sustainability.Before stepping forward, a leader must first consider for himself where he stands and what are the goalshe wishes to reach. Becoming truly effective at this is an inward journey of self-discovery.If we try to develop a connect of this theory with the Musicians and Composers we would see that theyhave have this journey as their prime responsibility, their prime wish and prime gift. And again they use itas a medium to be competent, successful and self reliant.The other side of a leader, constant ability to give and get feedback is also well engrained in the art of amusician. A musician must also be able to hear himself in order to move his performance to greatness. Itis not sufficient to play the notes the right way and to get the timing right. He must envision what hewants to sound like and then really listen to himself – step outside his performance and look back at whathe sees and hears. Great performers realize the importance of being able to visualize themselves as theyperform.If one envisions the performance to be mournful and sad – it will be. If one envisions it to be energizedand optimistic – it will be. Musicians and other performers have the advantage of being reminded dailythat they must perform for others in order to communicate. Most people in business have forgotten thatthis applies to them as well.Again here we ask a set of questions that apply to both a leader and a musician. How does the leader orthe musician want to be seen or heard. How do they define and dream about their best performance andwhat all ingredients do they actually visualise for them performing in that best performance.
A question that is faced by every artist – how am I doing and according to whom? This is the choice in lifefor all of us, whether to perform to our own standards or to those of the crowd! As one famous artist said“When I am not satisfied with my performance, a good review by the critics doesn’t make me feel better”.Leadership is as much about a journey inside ourselves as it is about a journey out to the world tounderstand how it is changing. How do leaders in the global marketplace today make time for this journeyinside themselves? If we are to fashion a better world, a better firm and a meaningful role for business inthe future – can we do this without understanding first where we stand as individuals and what weenvision ourselves to be as leaders of this progress? And it draws a pararrel very well with the Musicianhe also has to ask and answer the same questions about where he stands and where he invisions himselfor herself to be in the future, what is the path of progress that he or she wishes to take to reach the distantfuture envisioned by him or her.The next most important connect between Leadership and Music that we have briefly discussed earler istaking about in terms of Performance , performance in terms of both the leader and the Musician. Theattributes of performance might be different for both the leader and the musician, but the underline thesame output of result, motivation , competence and success. Leadership Through Music is a more visiblethrough this theme of the Self. It is the skill of getting other people motivated, getting them to where theyneed to go by providing a process where the leader clearly shows them the way while also letting themfind it on their own. The realities of this are influenced by the individuals you are leading, what sort ofpeople they are, what goals or ideas they have and how they feel about you as the leader.The skillful and effective leader learns how to transmit what is inside himself outward to others whileperceiving intensely and clearly what is around him and incorporating that back into action.Effective communication is the key to success in this process. Communication is made up of manyqualities: speaking, observing, sensing, understanding and especially listening.As we have seen above the strong connect between the Leaders and Musicians and between their styles ofleadership and music, our mind does go ahead and ask. What is the relevance to the executive mind. Howis it practically associated with me as a manager or what I will do as a manager.Various instances can be found in the world where the Music has been used as a Metaphor and tool forleadership development. There are many programs running around the world that are based around theexperience about how it feels like to be a different kind of a leader. The trainings are as vast as those froma conductor of a n orchestra and that are as long as a week, developing and transitioning insights ofleadership and out of the box possibilities by drawing a parallel and using the medium across Music.These are attended by the best of the Industry the most respected managers and senior executives fromvarious companies and countries around the world.The two-day program is designed, using music as a tool, to help leaders to understand their ownstrengths and abilities to perform under pressure and change and covers all the aspects of a professional
leadership training, that is being taken up by various courses across the world, only here the medium isdifferent and the metaphor is more musical.No musical training, knowledge or talent is needed to participate fully and actively in the LeadershipThrough Music Program. It is designed specifically for people who have no training in music nor haveexhibited a particular talent for music. Although a participant’s willingness to “perform” before otherswill enrich their learning experience, this is not required. No participant will be tested or judged,musically or otherwise, as part of this program.But however, each participant of such program takes back an enriching experience and learningopportunity that is hard to find in real live without much endeavour and has practical applications thatare simple and fruitful enough that they can be labelled as Musical.