Friday, 24 April 2009

Leadership thought # 2

Yes, I know, two in one day. I was listening to "great lives" on Radio 4 the other day (no, really) and the great life being discussed was the conductor Thomas Beecham. Now, I am not suggesting his life is one to emmulate, you will have to listen to the programme . . . but, he said something ver interesting in an interview about conducting - and it got me thinking about leadership and the culture of the church. When meeting a bunch of talented individuals for the first time, he would get them to play a piece of music - with him conducting, straight through from start to finish - he would then highlight the areas that needed work and go through the whole piece again, often without errors the second time around. He then moaned in the interview about those conductors who thought they knew better than the orchestra - and would procede to lecture them about how to play rather than let them play. Subsequently, it would take them at least half a dozen run throughs to get a good performance. The point he was making, which applies to leadership, was "let them play"!

How often do leaders patronise their congregations, volunteers, people and seek to instruct them - without actually seeing what they could do? We are surrounded by experts, but it is not the expert that gifts people, it is not the expert who has planted raw talent and ability, it is also not for the expert that people are given gifts, or have natural talents in the first place . . . we need to let people play, an old song I used to sing was "make me an instrument" - leading to "make us a symphony" - more leaders are needed who will let people risk it and actually "play" rather than lecture people about "playing" but leave no time for it.

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