True Leadership

(I was going to do this in pieces on Facebook but this seems more appropriate.)

There are all sorts of buzz words, catch phrases, pieces of advice that we think of when we consider the definition of “true leadership.” At the end of the day I suppose it boils down to just one thing:  did you do everything you could do without ever being asked?  (Yes, a variation on a tried and true statement.)

It’s been an interesting 23rd band camp with the UDMB to say the very least. Interesting in that I have not been there since Thursday morning. There’s a cold and then there’s the world’s worst stomach virus complete with sky high fever. A cold one can push through. What I (still) have, one does NOT push through.

Band Membership:  Those without titles; those who do their jobs and set examples; those who know they will be taken care of and provided for as long as they do what is expected of them. They are all leaders because they are contributing in a positive manner for the greater good.

Student Staff Leadership: Those with titles who know a title is nothing more than a set of words. They know they are judged not by what they do but by how they treat others. They all raised the bar on Tuesday evening when I was dealing with an emergency situation on the sideline. Once I returned to rehearsal I was able to “observe, analyze, and correct” because THEY were the ones running rehearsal. It was what is called transformational leadership. (Google it–quite fascinating!)

Graduate Assistants: Time to grow up; time to step up; time to teach! They saw a need and filled it–get the rest of the drill taught. They dove into the middle of the ocean and used all their skills for what has most likely been the greatest educational experience they have ever had.

Pro Staff: They’re out there pushing and pulling drums around, making sure wind players don’t over/undershoot their dots; making sure flags and weapons don’t hurt themselves or others. They talk with each other, communicate concerns, come to a decision and take action. There is a level of trust that is absolute.

Inner Circle: Those with the big titles; those who make the “big bucks.” The ones who are always there; the ones who don’t need the accolades; the ones who see the fire when it is a small spark and douse it before it becomes out of control. These are the people who when one of us screams “MAN DOWN!” run and pick up all the pieces without missing a beat.

True leadership is a machine. When the machine runs smoothly no one is the wiser. When one of the cogs malfunctions, there has to be redundancy built into the system or everything will fail.

Nothing failed this week. Nothing.

Thank you everyone. I hope to see you all soon.