TED Talks Have Incomparable Value

This video is a TED Talk by Itay Talgam. In the video, Talgam discusses orchestras and their conductors in terms of leadership abilities. Talgam, while he does not outright use the term “self-leadership” describes the very essence of the concept through his comparisons of leadership skills and the conductors’ behaviors.

Around 3:16 is one of the first parallels Talgam makes to the concept of self-leadership. Talgam says of a conductor which he has just shown, “And I think the happiness, the important thing is this happiness does not come from only his own story and his joy of the music. The joy is about enabling other people’s stories to be heard at the same time.”

This comment is largely important to self-leadership because the Talgam is saying the conductor is recognizing the fact that others value the expression of stories through music and for the conductor to think that only he found joy in such expression would be excluding the values and needs of others. This example is a prime example of other-awareness, as the conductor is cognizant of his musician’s deeper values, desires and abilities. It is also an example for self-awareness because he is recognizing the fact that the conductor is experiencing joy from the expression of music as well.

At 10:39 Talgam quotes the great conductor Karajan, “Yes, the worst damage I can do to my orchestra is to give them a clear instruction. Because that would prevent the ensemble, the listening to each other that is needed for an orchestra.” Karajan is exhibiting both other-awareness and other-management. This is because Karajan is cultivating the musicians in his orchestra by allowing them to feel and hear the music in their own independent ways, because he understands that each of the musicians will interpret the music depending on their own experiences and abilities.

The refreshing part of this TED Talk is that it allows the viewers to dive deep into the concepts of leadership without actually having to get confused in the jargon. Furthermore, it is a great example to see how these concepts can be applied, and in more ways than the traditional office work space.

Self-Leadership, as demonstrated in this video, is a concept which is applicable in many different environments. This is one of the reasons that it is such an essential aspect of leadership. It can be transferred across disciplines and built upon to shape the most productive “leader” for a given situation.

Just imagine, though, that a conductor did not understand that each musician in his orchestra had different values, skills and experiences. Wouldn’t the magic, the individuality of each composition be taken away, and replaced by only what the conductor heard?

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