I recently returned from a seven-day vacation cruising the Caribbean with 2,200 of my closest friends (well, four, really). The entire ship was filled with opportunities to listen to smooth jazz music all day long and into the wee hours of the morning. There were multiple performers and musicians, many of whom were regulars on this annual (except for a three-year COVID break) cruise. And while some guests were first-timers like me, many had “frequent flyer” status with 10 to 20 jazz-themed cruises under their belts. They knew what to expect and savored every moment of it.
I enjoyed the music, but I was even more impressed by the way the artists performed, and how the shows were presented and produced. There was a cadre of musicians who played keyboard, drums, percussion, saxophone, trumpet, bass guitar, lead guitar and other instruments, all for a variety of headliners. Many of the performers played multiple instruments and sang.
How were they so talented?
I was told that they met weeks in advance to practice and committed to learning a vast amount of music for the cruise. And when they came together, they made it look so easy. They also improvised on the spot, calling other performers onstage to join in the music, restyling the songs, creating new tunes, grooving with the instruments in different ways. I could particularly tell when a musician was onstage who hadn’t practiced with them but was invited, or needed to join in to complete the set. They read the music and followed the cues from their colleagues, all the while focused on supporting the leader’s vision. And they produced a quality sound that prompted the deepest respect from all the passengers.
It was evident that they had built relationships over years of performing in a variety of venues and had many shared experiences. They learned from each other. They spotlighted accompanying instrumentalists to play a refrain. They shared stories of their musical journeys with the audience. They demonstrated humility.
They were having fun, obviously enjoying their work—you could see it in their facial expressions and mood. The headline artists were effusive in recognizing their band members by name and accomplishment. Everyone had the same vision: using their craft to create wonderful music for the guests to enjoy.
I was in awe. Along with other “cruisers,” I stopped them in the passageways and dining venues to compliment and thank them. And they basked in our collective appreciation.
Your leadership team as a band
I couldn’t help thinking about how leadership teams should similarly work in harmony. Bands and teams should function alike. Others should observe that they enjoy working together. They should see a group whose roles flow seamlessly together to reach a common goal, with the ability to adjust and step in to support one another as needed. The sounds of each team will vary and attract different individuals’ preferences, but the harmonization and quality should sound excellent.
And as members of the C-suite demonstrate teamwork, they model and communicate a similarly important expectation for teamwork throughout the organization.
How can you develop harmony in your leadership team?
- Have in-depth discussions about the results you want to accomplish. Determine how you want your team members, clients and other stakeholders to experience you. Think about how you want them to feel about your leadership.
- Talk about each other’s strengths: what each person brings to the table. Understand who will take the lead when certain situations occur and how one leader will signal to another.
- Make time to have fun with each other, whether through team-building exercises or shared interests. Ensure these experiences are inclusive and comfortable for everyone.
- Debrief experiences, crises, successes and mistakes to understand how to handle them more effectively in the future. Discuss and learn your colleagues’ subtle communication cues.
- Publicly share your leadership strengths with the entire workforce. Then show others that you respect your team and point to the value they add.
- Provide an opportunity for each member of your leadership team to share their thoughts and ideas. Look for the nuggets of gold in what each person is saying.
A leadership team that operates in harmony is aligned on its purpose and objectives. They know how to leverage each other’s strengths, communicating internally and externally with one voice. They come together in harmony to lead their many team members. And their “audience” appreciates the manifestation of their talents, successfully connecting with the overall organizational goals.
Want to send your C-suite gifts of appreciation? We have perfectly tailored suggestions for you.