Monday, April 12, 2010

Band, Bullies and....Bosses?

By Mark T. Burke

As a rather backward kid growing up, Band was my refuge. I could count on the time I spent in Band being free from the torments and name calling of school bullies. Back then, I always thought the security came from all the Band members being "alike", kindred spirits even.  I guess as kids, it's easy to have utopian thoughts.  The reality is, Bands are made up of incredibly diverse individuals, just as diverse as a school's general  population.  In fact, even Bands have bullies among the members. But there IS a difference. What makes Band a safe haven for those who are normally ridiculed, a place where even the spirited bully steps back in line? And what can adults, those who are leaders (Bosses) learn from Bands? Let's take a look.

Band members are committed to the TEAM, the collective effort.  Within the ranks, they recognize, appreciate and EMBRACE the fact that Band members can be both strong and weak, timid and bold, confident and shy, older and younger, creative and analytical. Band members by nature step past a concern regarding all the differences between members and immediate chip away at how they, as a group, will achieve success.  They enter into their challenge to be the best GROUP they can be by assuming the difference will add to their collective abilities rather than distract from them.  Band members coach each other, support each other, lift those that struggle more often than succeed and count on those who excel. Those who have to work hard, learn to work hard. Those who jump to the front as leaders, learn to lead, give others confidence and push them toward a new standard.

Take that entire paragraph and add the words "Bullies don't" to the beginning of each sentence. This new paragraph explains why bullying is a behavior and NOT just a person. In Band, bullying is not rewarded. Why, because the behavior goes against everything I said in the paragraph above.

As we get older though, our "Band" changes into the workplace.  At the workplace, the rules would seem to be different.  It's sad to think that as we grow, we forget about the really valuable lessons we've learned from our youthful experiences.  In many offices today, right now in fact, people are being bullied.  How?









Their bosses :
  • Have forgotten their responsibility to commit to the TEAM and the collective effort.  
  • Do not recognize, appreciate and EMBRACE the fact that Staff members can be both strong and weak, timid and bold, confident and shy, older and younger, creative and analytical. 
  • Have not fostered an environment where Staff members step past a concern regarding all the differences between members and immediate chip away at how they, as a group, will achieve success.  
  • Have not created a culture where Staff enter into their challenge to be the best GROUP they can be by assuming the difference will add to their collective abilities rather than distract from them.  
  • Have not fostered the self management of the Staff to ensure they coach each other, support each other, lift those that struggle more often than succeed and count on those who excel. 
  • Have not supported initiative in those who have to work hard to learn to work hard. 
  • Have not allowed those who can jump to the front as leaders, to learn to lead, to give others confidence and push them toward a new standard.
Band, Bullies and...Bosses?  We can learn so much from being in Band.

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2 comments:

  1. I love this article. It says so much about the community of musicians in every part of our nation. There is so much to be said for a group of people doing something together as a team for the good of all involved. I believe it (involvement in musical ensembles) has the potential to mold us into more complete human beings.

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  2. Thanks Becky - we need a band at every company ;-)

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