Jason Weinberger, resident conductor of the Louisville Orchestra, on becoming a conductor and, more essentially, a leader:
When you go through school you learn the mechanics and, hopefully, you learn about the repertoire. But as a conductor you don’t really learn how to be a leader in a larger sense of the word, whether it’s leading a performance or leading an organization. I try to build consensus and to encourage everybody I work with to buy into what we’re doing. I really admire some of the Silicon Valley companies for the way they do business. I think we could learn a lot from that.
I had been conducting for nearly twenty years when it suddenly dawned on me that the conductor of an orchestra does not make a sound. His picture may appear on the cover of the CD in various dramatic posts, but his true power derives from his ability to make other people powerful.
Make other people powerful. Not be powerful, support others in doing so. I think of what Khoi Vinh’s colleagues said of his leadership style prior to his departure from the Times:
A good manager inspires those who work for him. A great manager inspires also those he works for.
No matter what field you lead in, it always goes both ways.