Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Some leadership thoughts

I was at the Lighthouse, a church I have mentioned before on this blog, on Saturday night. The last time I was there, I bought all the CDS, so this time I was able to sing along with most of the songs, even singing the harmony line. My day had been spent interviewing candidates for a position in our Miami program and so I was thinking about how I lead my staff. I am pretty sure that singing harmony is the best way to do that, and I hope that I do that.
I am a true soprano…I have been told many times. In voice lessons both in college and seminary, I was asked to “keep my range” of a soprano instead of sing alto. While writing my thesis of raising the prophetic voice in congregations and taking a voice class, I was challenged with the question – “Why are you afraid to be heard as a soprano? Why don’t you want the spotlight? What does this mean in light of your thesis?” In response, I was given a lead in a song that made me sing a high G all by my lonesome, by that same professor. I did it with a smile – might have actually been the highlight of my singing days.
While I liked the challenge on that song, whenever given the chance I sing Alto or a made up harmony line. I have been told that those who need a challenge in singing to the radio, everyday church hymns, or the standards like Happy Birthday often become the harmony singers of the world due to the challenge. I like providing this background noise, the layer that provides a new sense of the whole picture. The challenge is knowing that when I hit the wrong note, I can ruin even the melody. I am up for the challenge.
I have a staff of six or seven depending who is counting. They all have different styles, different gifts, different core values, different trainings and a different geographical location. They each have a core melody that is beautiful. They study the city they are in which provides some of the notes, their understanding of God that creates other notes, and their personality shapes other notes. Sometimes this is a solid melody, other times it can pretty nervous. However, it is a beautiful melody.
As a support and lead my staff, I come in as a backup singer would come into their superstar lead. I am not to be noticed by the public, just make the melody stronger. The commencement of the alto line makes the sopranos sing better and project more. I want my leadership influence to be background support, making the resources available, providing education, and providing cheerleading so each can have a stronger melody.
I used to attend a church that loved to sing 4 parts all the time. One Sunday I stopped and listened and couldn’t hear any soprano….I could hear a solid bass, tenor, and alto but no freaking soprano. I switched mid line, mid phrase. Without melody there is no reason for harmony. So, yes, occasionally I have to listen to my staff and my gut and switch to melody. Take the lead. Take charge of the situation just like taking charge of that high G. I am a true soprano, remember?
Hopefully, by providing a basic, supportive, and beautiful harmony line most of the time I can keep my staff resourced and supported. Maybe I can get so good that I can stop wondering if I can hit that high G!

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