The Up-Front Fallacy

My lovely wife and I visited Red Rocks Amphitheater last night to see and hear Michael McDonald and Steely Dan, thanks to my coaching client Ronald Lewis and Michael's manager. We sat 9th row center, and thoroughly enjoyed the show.

However, a few things I observed got me thinking...

The first one was that a 48-or-so year old guy--like the one a few seats down from us--really shouldn't be tokin' on a pipe. With age should come wisdom, after all. And did he ever look foolish! I'm not sure how that relates to leadership, but I bet it does somehow. From the looks of him, he could be a senior executive by day... What do you think?

The second one was while I watched Michael's drummer, Yvette "Babygirl" Preyer (find out more from Michael's site) sing and rip her kit. I was reminded of a "leader" who believed the up-front fallacy.

Some years ago, a fine drummer was hired as a new worship leader for a growing church. He was an exceptional drummer, and brought a real sense of skill and excellence to the band. But, he felt that as the "leader" he really needed to be in front of the band. So, he had learned to play the guitar. As you probably expect, for a guitar player, he was only average. He tried hard, bought a decent guitar, and "led" from the front of the stage. But the overall sense of precision and quality dropped dramatically. After a relatively short period, he was on to other roles in other places, but never really matriculated to the level that he could.

So, what happened?

Simply, he feel into the trap of thinking that he as the "leader" needed to be up-front and clearly "in control."

Think about the best leaders that you know. Do they do this? Now, think of the more difficult "leaders" that you know. What about them?

What do you think is the truth behind all this?