When you are in charge of a group of people, there are several responsibilities
that fall on your shoulders. If you've never been in a management position or
haven't had any business training, this can be a challenging endeavor. The truth
is that it's really not all that difficult, as long as you know what to do.
The most successful leaders in any capacity practice certain fundamentals that
have proven to be repeatedly effective. It may seem like a lot to remember,
but you'll find that the majority of the responsibility as a leader will involve
troubleshooting and problem solving. This is the real world, and that's the
reality. You'll have much more success dealing with all of the variables that
come into play if you first commit to having the basics covered.
1. Have a plan
Regardless of what kind of band you're in,
chances are you want to do something with it. If you're the
leader, you probably have a vision of what you're looking
to accomplish. The best way to get anything done is to first
be specific about what you want to achieve and follow that
with practical steps to take.
Plans are a funny thing. They're designed
to be rock solid, yet are always subject to change. If you
roll with the reality of that fact, you're in good shape,
as long as you always have a plan.
The primary benefit of having a plan is that
it provides focus. It narrows down the options of what to
do to the most practical and beneficial steps that can be
taken. When you can be clear about the road you want to travel,
there's nothing stopping you from reaching your destination.
As the leader of the band, your mates will
be looking to you for information. It's your job to make sure
that they get that information on a regular basis and in a
timely manner. This is not to say that you have to tell your
band about every minor business detail, but it is your responsibility
to share news that is relevant to each member.
Upcoming dates, songs to learn, rehearsal
schedules, etc should all be shared at the same time with
your band through an email thread. You can even easily create
a private Facebook Group with just the band members where
you can centralize all of the information.
The point is, you need to be forthright with
anything that matters to the players in the band. Keeping
communication lines open and consistent leads to more productivity
and subsequently, more success.
3. Be organized
This takes some discipline but it's extremely important when you're running
a band. A file system on your computer is a must for all band related information,
and it's easy to do. Keep records of all business documents, update your band's
song list regularly, and maintain an online schedule for gigs and other activities.
This will not only make it easy for your band to stay in the loop, but it will
also reduce the amount of confusion and give you more time to focus on the music.
4. Lead by example
If you want your band to respect you, you have to be willing and able to do
anything that you would ask of them. This is true for any type of leadership
position, but is glaringly obvious in a band situation. You can talk about anything
you like, but you'll get the most productivity out of your band if you walk
The music business is extremely challenging.
There have been so many radical changes in the last decade
alone, and things are continuing to move fast. If you want
to stay on top of your game, you need to take dedicated action.
It's not always the most talented musicians
that have success. Quite often, it's just the people that
keep moving. Since you now have a plan, you have no excuse
but to plow ahead no matter what difficulties befall you.
Stay the course and make adjustments when unexpected situations
arise, but always take the next step.
One of the primary traits of a good leader
is the ability to split up the responsibilities within the
group. You can't do everything by yourself, and the band as
a whole will be in much better shape if you play to the strengths
of each individual.
Is someone in the band good at marketing?
They should be in charge of social media. Is someone a good
photographer? They should take candid shots of the band. You
get the idea.
You are leading a team. Without the team,
you have nothing. But a team needs a leader. Things run much
more efficiently when someone is calling the shots. Give each
person a responsibility that they're good at and you'll be
exponentially more productive as a unit.
7. Listen to your band
Every good leader knows that in order to get
the most out of the people you are leading, you have to listen
to them. The individuals in the band are each an essential
part of the machine - and they all have an opinion and a vision.
There is strength in numbers, and the more
ideas you take into consideration, the more options you'll
have to choose from to make the best decisions. They will
also respect you as a leader if you value their feedback and
ideas - and you'll get the best out of the band on many levels.
8. Be honest
This is sometimes an elusive quality to find in the music business, but it
can go a long way if it's put into practice. You want your band mates to trust
you. That's really important. Everything else that goes on with your group will
be affected by the level of trust that they have for you. The things that you
can accomplish are much greater when you have a team that always believes you.
9. Be willing to make difficult decisions
You'll find often times that your band mates are some of your best friends.
In bands that work frequently, they become like family. It's really difficult
to separate business and friendship, but if you want your band to do well, someone
needs to make the call when the band is at a crossroad. There are many possible
scenarios where you'll have to make a hard choice, but the best leaders will
do what needs to be done for the benefit of the whole.
10. Stay positive
Keeping up morale is one of the most
essential aspects of a winning team. As the leader, you are
setting the tone for all that you do. Unexpected things
will happen, obstacles will appear, personal relationships
will evolve and struggles can be expected. It's all part of
the journey, and it's what makes everything unique and special.
When you accept this fact, it's causes no
resistance within you when challenges arise. You can naturally
go with the flow when you simply accept how things happen
in the real world. You can also profoundly affect the outcome
of any circumstance if you primarily maintain a positive outlook.
Also be sure to give positive reinforcement
to the players in your group when they've done a good job.
In any leadership role when you acknowledge a person's achievement,
they tend to give more of the same. People like to be recognized
When you as a leader take the time and effort
to point out that someone has put forth a solid effort, you'll
not only get more respect from your band, but you'll also
get quality performances more often than not.
You'll be much more successful as a unit by
putting this into practice - because ultimately your goal
as a leader is to bring out the best in everyone - and focusing
on the positive will also bring out the best in you.
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