There were so many “hits” searching for “Gareth Malone” that I thought I’d better write something.
Gareth’s series on BBC “The Choir” was so good that I didn’t want to detract from it.
It’s about great leadership.
The thing that stands out for me is Gareth’s vision.
He takes a motley group of military wives. Many of them have not sung in years. A few months later they are performing in front of the Queen at the Royal Albert Hall.
Thousands were there to remember the Fallen at the Annual Festival of Remembrance and millions were watching on TV. It was an incredible thing, moving, beautiful, profound.
Gareth passes the credit to these incredible women. Women who man the home front while their men fight in a foreign field. Housed in isolating communities of services’ families it’s a painful and long vigil.
But Gareth himself makes something very special happen here.
He starts with nothing, ok a good reputation if you know him, but I mean no choir, no professional singers, just plenty of potential which no-one can see except him.
Gareth demonstrates several key aspects of leadership in these programmes. He believes in people without a track record. He spots talent that has virtually no voice.
He nurtures confidence in the troops, individually and as a team.
Reluctant heroines become solo artists in a few months, faltering fears being replaced by strength and self-respect.
But Gareth’s vision is his greatest gift. He sees what could be.
Most leaders have a “vision” even if they think they don’t think they have. It’s where they think the organisation is going.
For some the vision will be ‘staying put’, i.e. going nowhere. Some leaders think you have to keep it from the people, but not Gareth.
Gareth does vision like going up a mountain. Summit after summit is aimed for and reached. It works.
First he gets the military wives to sing to a bunch of blokes. Then it’s to the people of local town, Barnstaple, then it’s to the Royal Military Academy and finally it’s the Royal Albert Hall.
Each mini-climb is attempted one step at a time. Many times they think they won’t make it.
But they do and it was brilliant.
His skill is taking people at a pace they can manage. He doesn’t run too far ahead or give up when the going gets tough.
This was a lot more than singing, although the music was good. This was about inspiring a group of people sometimes one-by-one. It was about showing them what they could achieve for themselves, for their families, and for their country.
It was about spotting potential in every member, nurturing them through tears and joy and finally standing back and letting them take the credit.
I think that’s leadership.