More or less, everyone has a favourite band, a group of people who just come together and make music that instantly makes you happy.
As kids we often idolise that group, but more often we love that lead singer (or is that just me? 😉).
Many of us look to the lead vocalist as the leader, but the reality is, that they would be nothing or a lot less, without the rest of the band.
A lead vocalist, a front man or frontwoman, without the band is just a person singing on their own.
For the band to work you need the bassists, the guitarists, the drummers, and the backing vocalists. All these people need to come together to create the songs, the music, that you know and love.
And in business, your team is just like a band.
Unless everyone comes together, works together, then you will always struggle to produce anything of value. The talent of one individual cannot be brought forward to its full effect without the support of those around them.
You cannot harmonise with yourself!
Without wishing to state the obvious, teams that do not work well together will not stay together. Sure, they may achieve some success, but in the end it is unsustainable.
Just take Oasis.
Disputes between brothers Noel and Liam Gallagher were regularly documented in the press throughout their time together, Noel even quitting temporarily as early as 1994.
Working together in such close quarters for many years had soured their relationship and they now have little to no contact with each other even twelve years after the bands break up.
Now, drawing parallels between rockstars and business teams may seem a stretch too far, but again, the basic principles are the same.
Not everyone is always going to be best friends but that does not mean they cannot be successful provided they learn how to work with each other. We just need to understand how to walk in each other’s shoes, appreciate the genius and accept the differences.
Everyone in a band has a particular skill or talent, be it for keys or strings, vocals or percussion, each member has different strengths.
So, we can look at our team in the same way, you may be the lead guitarist, someone else may be on keyboard, and so on. We need to celebrate those differences as well as wanting to get along.
Good bands have also identifiable sounds, or could we say “culture”, and these may evolve over time as members develop their talents.
The Cure went from eccentric, post punk sounds to more gothic stylings. Fleetwood Mac started as a blues band before moving more and more into pop-rock. Radiohead started with a distinctive guitar rock sound and diversified into more experimental music.
Good bands will make good music, no matter the sound or the members, there will be no reliance on one individual to pull it all together.
A good team will work effectively towards whatever that big goal is, and when each member is playing their instrument, the leader can be replaced, if they are just wailing into the mic randomly.
Often the leader can think that they are irreplaceable and feel that they are more important than the rest. They can forget that they are there to enable the whole team to achieve their best. But that is dangerous, and mistaken.
For example: Genesis went from strength to strength with Phil Collins at the vocal helm, but before him the band was fronted by Peter Gabriel. Gabriel left amid an accumulation of tension within the band. They didn’t need him to succeed.
No one person is bigger than the group and when someone is raised to this position, tension is inevitable. Keyboardist Tony Banks surmised it by saying:
“Pete was also getting too big for the group. He was being portrayed as if he was ‘the man’ and it really wasn’t like that. It was a very difficult thing to accommodate. So, it was actually a bit of a relief.”
This new form Genesis continued to perform until 2000, 25 years after Gabriel’s departure.
If a leader is not working but the team is still functioning, then just take a leaf out of Iron Maiden’s book. Over their duration they have has a number of front men and still remained highly successful.
At the band’s conception, Paul Day took the position of lead vocalist but was shortly dismissed as he did not have the desired charisma and, most importantly, enthusiasm for the project.
He was replaced by Dennis Wilcock who looked to put his stamp on the group, he convinced them to hire and fire members and the conflicts in the band grew, until he left to form his own group.
Then came Paul Di’Anno, and whilst they initially worked well together, addiction troubles made his position unsustainable.
In came Bruce Dickinson for his turn at the head of the band, and even he was in and out of this role due to wanting to go solo.
The job of these men was to help their group and when they were no longer were doing so, moving on was the best thing for both parties.
So, how then was the band “Iron Maiden” able to stay together through the countless member changes over the years?
That comes down to the true dynamics of the group. Bassist Steve Harris was the one who formed the band and, ultimately it was his group. The lead singer is not always the leader. Just because someone is the most vocal, does not mean they are in charge. Leadership is about a strong voice with something to say, not just whoever can shout over the rest.
A successful team is about good dynamics and doing what is best for the project, not just one person’s interests. It is about bringing together all those voices to create harmonies that is the recipe for an efficient project.
Everyone must be singing from the same song sheet and a successful leader will be the one handing out those sheets.
So, if you are the leader of your “band”, ask yourself the question….
- What do I bring to the party?
- How to I enable the team to perform?
- Do I help or hinder the success of the team as a whole?
- Do they need me?
And if the answer is not what you were expecting, then let’s talk…
Book in for Your Impact Accelerator Session to brainstorm how we can help you be the best front person in your business band. https://calendly.com/thinkbedoleadership/quiet-leaders-impact-accelerator-session