For the first time in my adult life I sang as a member of the choir for the First Baptist Church of Avondale Estates Christmas Concert. It was thrilling! It was intimidating! It was hard work! We practiced every Wednesday night starting in September and had some weekend practices as well. The music was hard and I hadn’t sung in a choir since High School but I enjoyed the challenge and learned a lot.
We had to memorize some of the pieces and goodness knows you had to learn your part, when to come in, when to rest, when to breathe, when to speed up tempo, when to slow it down. So much to remember! There are many parts to the music, first sopranos, second sopranos, altos, tenors and bass singers. Every part has different notes that must be sung at the right time for the song to be perfect.
The biggest lesson for me was simply to watch the choir director, our Minister of Music, Mark Green. I learned if I just watched him, he would tell us when to sing with a wave of his baton, give us the signal to slow down, speed up, sing louder or softer, and even mouth the words as needed, all while conducting the rest of the choir and the orchestra. Total focus on him kept me on track and out of trouble.
Managers of businesses are like choir directors. They are to know the “music” of the business (aka daily operations) and direct the staff accordingly so there is harmony or at least joyful noise as each section does its part of the work. Managers are to understand who works best doing what, like the choir director knows if you should sing soprano or alto, and how to make all the different parts come together to create a daily concert for customers to enjoy. If one person is “off-key” it can affect the entire choir, or staff, and overall experience for listeners, or customers. If people don’t show up, it hurts the entire section’s performance.
Managers must know how to get the best out of every member, how to help them improve, and how to make each person completely comfortable and confident in their role. They have to look for weaknesses and make changes to improve overall strength all while directing the day-to-day routines and the hiccups that pop up. They have to improvise and work with the choir they have each day, even if all the sections are not balanced and take up the slack themselves.
If you ever feel out of sync with your job, watch the director (manager) and he or she will direct you if you will let them.
Pay attention. Practice. Listen. Stay focused. Show Up. Work Hard. Care.
Directors, a lot of eyes are watching you to make each day a harmonious song. Pulling it all together, every day, is up to you.