How singing in a choir can make you a better leader

Posted on: December 21, 2017

I’ll never forget my choir’s first flash mob. I was sitting in an Italian restaurant on Valentine’s Day, surrounded by romantic couples, with a friend I had tricked into thinking he was just coming out for dinner. Little did he know that the opening bars of Love Shack were my cue to stand up and belt out a medley of love songs to the unsuspecting diners.

His face was a picture as he went through a succession of emotions from total bewilderment, gradual dawning realisation and finally delight as he realised what was going on. For five minutes time stood still as we serenaded the diners and entertained them with our love songs. They were transfixed by our performance and we left the restaurant on a high, thrilled that for a brief moment we had created a connection.

Afterwards I realised how being part of the choir enables me to be braver and bolder than I ever am on my own. I would never normally dare to stand up and sing impromtu to a whole restaurant, and the exhilaration of overcoming my fears is huge.

Here are some of the things I’ve learnt:

  • Nearly everyone performs better in a choir than they do solo – having the security of other singers around you makes you more confident about singing boldly and helps you find your note. Find a good team to be part of and you’ll do far more than you could ever do on your own.
  • Performing a flash mob is a “random act of kindness”. The crowd are offered a gift of entertainment they were not expecting, and a chance to pause and share a moment of joy with others, before the performers melt back into the crowd, asking for nothing in return. In business and leadership if you are generous with your time, wisdom and knowledge, sharing it freely, it will come back to you in spades.
  • Being a choir member is a great opportunity to be a follower. If your day job involves being the leader and making stuff happen, the great thing about a choir is that you just have to turn up, learn the songs and be a good team player. It’s great to practice followership for a change and have the experience of being led.

If you’re looking for a life and leadership enhancing hobby – especially if you’re one of those people who think you can’t sing – then get yourself along to a choir.