Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Pastoral Musical Leadership Styles - Part 2 - The Autocrat

The first leadership style
I would like to discuss in this blog
is the autocratic leader.

The autocratic leadership style
is authoritarian, militant.
The autocratic leader
tells people what to do.
This leader tells how to do it,
when to do it.

let me remind blog readers
that I’m writing about church leadership here,
the music ministry.
as I describe the pros and cons
of the autocratic leader,
please keep that in mind.

The autocratic leadership style
may be necessary on occasion.
There may be factors involved,
such as time constraints.
A certain task must be accomplished
and the leader tells people what must be done
to meet the deadline.

Last year,
I took the children’s choir to Faithfest,
a festival of church music
in the area where I live.

The sound equipment
was provided for by the sponsoring church.
But it needed to be set up
according to my specifications.
When the children began arriving
I quickly told a few of the parents
to separate the kids
into “choir 1" and “choir 2”
(Soprano and alto).
I told another parent
to make sure that those children
who played percussion instruments
got what they needed.
I went inside to work with sound team.
When mics were in place,
I had guitarists take their place.
Then I sent a parent out to gathering area
to bring Choir 2
and told them specifically to leave Choir 1 outside
until I called for them.
When Choir 2 was in place
I called for Choir 1.

The parents understood well
the time constraints
and the set-up necessary.
They followed my directions.

This is a good example
of how and when
an autocratic leadership style is necessary.
If there is a good relationship
between the leader and the group of folks involved
this style of leadership can prove most effective,
as it did for us for this event.

The danger of this leadership style
is that it could lead to a lack of respect.
The danger of this leadership style
is that the leader could abuse the power,
be more of a controller than a leader.

Another danger
is lack of communication.
While the autocratic leader
may have clearly set goals
and have a vision of things,
they often do not share this
with the group they lead.
This can lead to conflict and friction.
People may resist the leader’s request,
even though what the autocratic leader is requesting
is for the betterment of the group.

If this is the only leadership style that is used
a lack of respect
and a lack of communication
will not be the only problems.
It will be hard to motivate people.
And where there is little motivation
there is even less creativity.
This could be death to a choir,
to a music ministry.

don't get me wrong.
This style of leadership
is necessary at times.

I use this style of leadership sparingly.
To be quite honest,
it just isn’t me.
But I must admit,
this style of leadership
served us well
on the day of the Faithfest event.
But an every day leadership style?
Not me.

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