Roger Fairhead Certificate JMT Certified

Leadership Alignment

Making sure your bowing is synchronised.  

Respect Bro.  Apparently, that’s very ‘now’ and well-meaning, showing suitable deference for someone (or something) – like your bud’s new iPod (Use: Strictly amongst friendly males, otherwise might be misconstrued).

Last weekend I was sat in the middle of the Violin section of my local Symphony Orchestra playing pieces by Tchaikovsky, Walton and Dvorak.  If you’ve ever been to watch an Orchestra at a live event you’ll know there are some rather fun and somewhat antiquated elements of etiquette to understand, such as not clapping between movements (you have to wait to the end of the whole piece), clapping at the end of the concert while the conductor walks out and back in again a few times, and so on.  I’ve grown up playing in orchestras so it’s second nature for me, but I remember chatting with a friend that came to a concert I was playing in for the first time about her embarrassment at being “one of the few who clapped” after the first movement of a concerto. 

One of the curiosities is that after the entire orchestra has assembled ready to start there are two of their number missing; the Conductor and the Leader (also known as the Concertmaster or the First Chair).  The Leader is the violinist who is the leader of the first violin section and is second-in-command of the orchestra, and receives a clap all of their own as a mark of respect, in addition to the conductor and any soloists that may be performing. 

Among the other duties that the Leader has is to decide on the bowing to be used throughout the performance, and during rehearsals, you can see the other violinists marking their music to reflect the bowing the Leader has decided to use.  The benefits of consistent bowing are both musical and visual; somehow it looks so much more professional when all of the bows are going in the same direction at the same time.

I know that in one particularly tricky and exposed passage that we were playing in the first violins last weekend the Leader was the only one actually playing the right notes, and she sure did earn our respect and gratitude right there!  Generally, respect is something that takes a long time to earn, and unfortunately much less time to lose. 

Tony Blair was the Prime Minister of the UK from May 1997 to June 2007 and came to power after the Labour Party won the general election with a landslide victory which was the largest in its history.  He gained such respect in his premiership that as early as September 1997 he received a public approval rating of 93%.

“A Leader does not deserve the name unless he is willing occasionally to stand alone”
~ Henry Kissinger

As Prime Minister, Blair had to face many challenges during his premiership, and one, in particular, has had quite a significant impact on his reputation and the respect that he holds today in the eyes of many of the British people.  In 2003 he decided to take the UK into a war in Iraq alongside the US then led by President George W Bush, in support of the War on Terror in response to the attack on the World Trade Centre in 2001.  He stood by his promise that “we here in Britain stand shoulder to shoulder with our American friends”, and his decision came to define the remainder of his premiership, and has pursued him to this day.

“A defiant Tony Blair defended his decision to go to war in Iraq in 2003 following the publication of a devastating report by Sir John Chilcot, which mauled the ex-prime minister’s reputation and said that at the time of the 2003 invasion Saddam Hussein ‘posed no imminent threat’”.
Luke Harding
(foreign correspondent with the Guardian)

Unfortunately, there are too many ways that can cause a leader to lose respect from others, and the headlines are filled with those affected by them.

However, there are many ways that a leader may gain the respect of others too, and these are not all solely about leadership ability.  If a leader relies on ability alone then leadership potential will be severely restricted.  In addition to leadership ability, these are some of the most effective ways that leaders are able to gain respect from others:

The simple fact of the matter is that people naturally align themselves to follow leaders they respect, leaders that are stronger than themselves. 

“When people respect you as a person, they admire you. When they respect you as a friend, they love you. When they respect you as a leader, they follow you.”
~ John Maxwell

The significant difference between a magnet and a regular piece of iron is that in the magnet all of the individual magnetic elements are aligned in the same way.  In the same way, an organisation with weak leadership will have followers that are non-aligned, whereas an organisation with strong leadership will have a strong team that are all aligned with their leader.

“One measure of leadership is the calibre of people who choose to follow you”
~ Dennis A Peer

What do you need to do to gain respect as a leader, in order to attract the right people to your organisation, cause or purpose?

About Roger Fairhead

Roger is a Leadership specialist and uses the PRIZE Winning Leadership model to help leaders improve their effectiveness and that of their teams, through remote and on-site delivery of keynotes, group training events and individual coaching sessions.

He is the author of several books including "PRIZE Winning Leadership" and “Personal Productivity Planner”, a Chartered Engineer, a Fellow of the Institute of Leadership and Management and a Director of the Global Leadership Network UK with extensive experience in Project Management and Sales.

“He is articulate, tracks complex issues with ease and has an incredible gift for raising pearls of wisdom out of the murky depths of people and process.” His passion is to help people to learn effective leadership skills to lead their teams to capitalize on their strengths and passions to realize their dreams.

Roger also invests into the dreams of families in the world’s underserved communities to offer them small loans that empower them to invest in their future, to provide for their families and give back to their communities.