"I don't battle anymore! I uplift motherfuckers!" - GZA
Friday, December 07, 2007,5:51 PM
Wynton Marsalis on Leadership
The July/August issue of Success magazine has an article featuring Wynton Marsalis’ thoughts on leadership. If you don’t know Mr. Marsalis, he is the Founder and Music Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center. He has won nine Grammy Awards, the Pulitzer Prize for Music and was appointed a UN Messenger of Peace in 2001, and my wife’s favorite musician. Since today is her birthday, I’ve decided to do a post featuring Wynton Marsalis.

In a sidebar to the article, Mr. Marsalis presents 15 leadership lessons. Eight of these lessons apply to directly to leadership. The other seven apply to anyone interested in becoming an outstanding performer. As this is a leadership blog, I am posting Mr. Marsalis eight pieces of leadership advice here – as I listen to him on my iPod. You can find the seven pieces of advice to apply to outstanding performance by logging on to my other blog, www.SuccessCommonSense.com.

Lessons on Leadership from Wynton Marsalis

Belief in other people’s creativity allow people around you to be themselves and achieve their individuality. If your staff members have the freedom to achieve as individuals, the returns will be manifold.

Sometimes you have to make tough decisions and many times they are ugly. It’s best to be very direct.

It isn’t my way or the highway. Learn to compromise and be flexible.
When you’re a leader, sometimes you have to follow too. Good leaders know they don’t have a monopoly on brilliant ideas. Be objective and willing to follow insights you may have missed.

Humility inspires people; organization inspires a staff. Always try to give your staff clear plans and goals, but allow they room for self-empowerment.

Respect the freedom of other people and their creativity. Jazz music teaches that above all else. Giving your staff the freedom to improvise opens the floodgates on innovation.

You can’t look at any person and tell whether he or she can play. All kinds of people can play. Some of the best talent can be found in the most unexpected places.

There is a limit to what you can demand from somebody else. Nothing erodes the spirit like a boss who can never be pleased.

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