Experiencing Yanni live in concert is an incredible journey of musical magic through sound, showmanship and his dynamic persona. It is also a masterful journey of visibly obvious leadership. Yanni is not only a genius composer but is also an engaging, enabling and empowering leader.
Usually leadership is recognized as a necessity in the corporate world and politics – not music. But Yanni not only brings the music he hears in his head to life but empowers each of the musicians, some of whom have been with him 30 plus years, and brings out the best in them at each performance. It is obvious that his music and personal inspiration lives in their hearts when performing, as audiences – filled to capacity – go uncontrollably wild with joy.
Engaging leadership can be seen, felt and heard. There are at least three obvious leadership skills exhibited by Yanni during his classical contemporary instrumental performances.
Flowing Communications: While the creation, precision and quality of his music resonated in his head as he composed, his communication skills for delivering the final product in concert form through his musicians was delivered by a look of disciplined adoration. A glance, a nod, an arm raised to the sky – all of these actions non-verbally communicated the passion in his heart that flowed through the musicians and into the audience. He not only understands there is a design flow to the composition of music but also the playing of the music, which flows to the ears of adoring audiences. This type of communication comes from building relationships on a conversational level.
Empowering Peak Performance: For Yanni, peak performance is the expected norm backstage, in the sound booth and on stage. It is obvious even to the casual observer that nothing else will do. When a leader not only expects the best and encourages each performer on- or off-stage to do their best, performance levels rise to meet those expectations. Consistency of expectations on the part of the leader empowers the team to excel and reach for peak performance consistently.
Recognition of Excellence: During an April 2012 performance, writer Howie Grapek of The Palm Beach Post’s PBPulse said, “The show was much more than a one-man keyboard show—throughout the evening, Yanni continued to showcase each of the band member’s talents with long solos. Each individual contributor is spotlighted. Yanni loves giving them the opportunity to shine individually.”
The combination of showcasing performers’ talents and sharing audience adoration is inspiring and motivating. Recognizing a job well done is one of the most important tools a leader can use to reward and encourage continued peak performance.
Yanni’s leadership is obvious internationally when performing at historic venues such as Royal Albert Hall (UK), Acropolis of Athens (Greece), the Taj Mahal (India), the Forbidden City (China), the Burj Khalifa (Dubai), the Kremlin (Russia) and the Castillo San Felipe del Morro (Puerto Rico) – his leadership skills triumph over any language barriers. While you may not be trying to influence 65 million adoring fans, you can use some of the same principles of leadership to create encore- worthy performances from your team.
Pat Heydlauff speaks from experience. She works with organizations that want to create an environment where employees are engaged, encouraged and involved, and with people who want to be in control, anxiety-free and confident. She is the author of the forthcoming book, Engage: How to Lead with Power, Productivity and Promise and Feng Shui: So Easy a Child Can Do It. She can be reached at 561-799-3443 or engagetolead.com.