As I watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade this year, I couldn’t help but notice the marching band leaders. All primed in their colorful uniforms and looking very serious as they led their musicians forward, these leaders screamed- “Here we come!” Of course the entire parade was an extraordinary spectacle, but each marching band seemed to have its own style and its own unique leader. Each leader seemed to be directing their band in a particular way, keeping their baton pointed towards a dream or a goal. In turn, the members of the bands kept their eyes focused ahead looking for the direction of the baton and the leader. It was as if they were following an arrow pointing straight ahead. The leader and arrow kept the band members marching in perfect step and with gusto, knowing they were there with a purpose and an objective.
How do leaders inspire others to support a dream? Here are some ways that may help:
CLEARLY COMMUNICATE THE DREAM
When people embrace and follow a particular direction or goal, they have a clear understanding of the objectives. In sharing their dream, leaders might want to answer these questions:
- Why are we pursuing this path?
- What forces, positive and negative, impacted this decision?
- How are we going to carry out the dream? Make sure to list all the critical steps involved. A marching band leader makes sure all the band members know the routine and the musical choices.
- When will we know we have reached our milestones and deadlines?
- Who will be involved in which particular piece of the dream? Essential to the success of any goal is knowing who will be responsible for the different tasks. Each instrument contributes a different, but equally important sound to the entire marching band’s presentation.
ASK FOR INPUT ABOUT THE DREAM
Before a band leader puts together any performance, they ask the band members what they feel about the selection of music. Similarly, a leader might want to create a dialogue about the proposed dream or goal. They may ask:
- Are there any additional ideas to be included?
- How does the vision fit into your daily workplace?
- Do you perceive any obstacles to attaining our goals?
- Does the direction make sense to you? If not, which roads should we be crossing instead?
Make sure to tell the team members how much you value their suggestions and ideas.
STAY OPEN IN CASE A COURSE CORRECTION IS NEEDED
Leaders know from years of experience that oftentimes a dream or goal may need to be tweaked. If we are able to remain agile and flexible, we will be more successful in making a quick change. Band leaders deal with unpredictable conditions all the time.
Sick band members
KEEP EVERYBODY MOTIVATED
Be resilient and model the type of behaviors and attitudes you aspire to. When leaders become cheerleaders, they can inspire everyone to march forward in unison. They give credit to all the ideas and suggestions offered by including them in some way in the final performance or goal.
They say thank you and comment on a job well done.
They create magnificent music that represents their team’s culture and character.
How do you point your dreams true north and make sure the entire band is marching with you?