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The Big Dancing Man Teaches Leadership

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By Steve Moran

It is a beautiful thing to see a gifted world class leader in action . . .

The Big Dancing Man

A few months ago my church hosted a kind of “battle of the bands” (it was actually not a competition) for half a dozen men's choirs in California. There were six choirs that performed individually then the entire group merged and each director got to lead the combined group for two songs.

Because this was a weekend event, the combined group had just a couple of hours of practice before the main event.

On Saturday evening the performance started with the combined mass choir with each director coming up to lead the group. The first five were all nice. Then the big man -- actually big is not quite adequate, he is bigger than big -- the first thing he did was to get rid of the music stand that all of his counterparts had used. He then stood in front of the choir, did a little hip wiggle (I tried to find a video of it, but couldn’t) and then the music started.

It’s All About Leadership

What came out of those 120 voices was twice as good as what the other 5 directors got out of the exact same group of men. The music soared, Calvin pranced and danced waving his arms; it was heavenly.

  • It was the same raw material the other directors had to work with

  • It was not about some trick or technique . . . exactly

  • Somehow, Calvin helped each of those 120 men realize they had more in themselves than even they knew

  • He helped them translate that something more into amazing music

  • He expected more from them

  • He helped them see they could perform at a higher level, actually not quite right, he helped them know they could be better

Hiring the Right People

Hiring the right people is important, there is no question about it. But at the end of the day, high performing organizations are high performing because they have leaders that inspire, encourage, push and, in truth, sometimes chastise. You can get amazing results from rather ordinary people as a great leader. You can also take great people and get only mediocre results with a poor or mediocre leader.

Being A Great Leader

There are some natural born leaders, but I promise you that even those natural born leaders work very hard at getting even better. Ultimately Calvin had 4 things that the other leaders didn’t:

  1. He believed they had more in them

  2. He poured everything he had into every encounter he had with this group

  3. Because he believed they were great, they believed they were great

  4. He believed that he could get the very best out of his choir

I have been acquainted with Calvin for many years. He has done this with every choir he has ever worked, with including high school kids, something that can feel more like herding cats than leading. This kind of leadership is available to each one of us . . . if we believe . . . if we are willing to go all in.

Finally, if you are a fan of Christian Choir music, I would recommend you go to YouTube and search for "Christian Edition".

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