Renowned conductor Benjamin Zander, conductor of the Boston Philharmonic since 1979, had been conducting for 20 years before he realized something about his job. When he changed how he worked based on his realization, members of the orchestra came up to him, in astonishment and delight, to ask what had changed.
What did Zander realize that led him to be a better conductor? He realized that while the work of an orchestra is to make music, the conductor him- or herself doesn’t make a sound.
“My picture appears on the front of the CD, but the conductor doesn’t make a sound. He depends, for his power, on his ability to make other people powerful.” (Benjamin Zander: The transformative power of classical music, TED 2008)
It’s the same for a CIO or IT executive, even for a team leader. If you’re a CIO or IT executive, your photo may be on the website and in the annual report, as Zander’s photo is on the Boston Philharmonic’s CDs. Team leaders, even if they don’t get a photo, may get the credit. But there’s an invisible photo, too, and that’s what you do to make your talent and your organization powerful.
Leadership isn’t control