JOB KURIER, Magdalena Vachova, 8 May 2018 – Translated by Julia Schöllauf

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Strange sounds, no sense of beat and all the tempers in the team are playing forte? Conductor and consultant Lorenz Huber says: disharmony in a team is not always bad.

The manager is standing in front of the orchestra. He is supposed to lead the team to the joint upbeat, send a clear message with his glance and body language, dictate the dynamics of the team through his acting and, thus, show who sets the tone in this.
And what is the good man doing? He is sweating, struggling, looking doubtfully at the group and hesitates exactly at the point where the team strongly needs his gesture. Not everybody is born to be a conductor. Some have to learn it. For example with conductor Lorenz Huber.

The executive in front of the orchestra is a fictitious one in this case. But their behavior is like the one of the executives Huber coaches in his Leadership Orchestra workshops. In companies, HR officers in charge have noticed that the management can adopt a lot from conducting, and that is why they have their best staff members sensitized to strong gestures.

The background is simple, though highly relevant: “Inconsistent acting of executives is one of the most common factors regarding conflicts in a team,” Huber said. For example, when they say A and their body indicates B. The direction remains unclear and the staff members are at a loss.

Executives having difficulties in taking decisions get their teams into a predicament. “The staff members are stressed to find orientation. All of a sudden, the team must fend for themselves and make their own decisions. This, in turn, leads to a situation in which single persons want to carry their arguments home. And then reach a joint decision? Most of the time teams are not able to do so,” Lorenz Huber explained. By implication, if the manager communicates well, the team is fine.

Harmony in a team is what then emerges from good leadership. “For most people this is desirable at first sight. But it is not ideal,” the conductor stated, because harmony creates weak teams. “In music, harmony is the resolution of dissonance. Without dissonance, a piece of music would only be played in its basic key. There wouldn’t be any tension. This motivates neither the musicians nor the audience. Tensions and dynamics are essential for the productivity of a team,” explained Huber. This also applies to business. Weak teams – without tensions, contrasting opinions and debates – create laziness and wipe away pungency. Bad for productivity and bad for excellence.

The crucial part is to keep a balance between the different tensions – to conduct. Where do we need more power and who should hold a little back? “Executives should also inspire dissonance, if necessary,” said Huber. But always with the overall plan in the back of their minds, never oversteering. Messages should be economic, though clear. “An executive who is constantly poking around irritates the team and causes them to come to terms themselves.”

Actually, not only weak leadership causes conflicts in teams. Particularly personal sensitivities and unclear processes let the tempers play forte. “Also in such situations, the people involved are not able to sort that out on their own.” A strong steering personality is needed. Not struggling and doubtful but swinging the baton clearly for the purpose of better interplay.

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