Leading without pressuring others to change

“This was all about changing without seeming to change. It’s about steadily and insistently improving without seeming to exert pressure or anxiety to do so.” I wrote recently about Imperfect Harmony: Finding Happiness Singing with Others, by Stacy Horn. This quote comes from John Mclay, the director of the Choral Society of Grace Church in New York, where Horn has been singing for 30 years. Horn describes the way Mclay came in and started changing things, making new rules such as “no tapping your feet,” and stopping the chatter during rehearsals. She says, “John didn’t yell or scream. He very simply and calmly informed us all that from now on, if he was rehearsing another section we were to sit quietly and listen.”

It’s hard to stay calm when we are seeking to encourage change. We want so badly for things to be better — whether it’s a choir rehearsal, a worship service, a board meeting or a youth group. Mclay’s example is a great illustration of how to patiently keep the pressure on, without getting too caught up in people’s reactions. I love his words: “This was all about changing without seeming to change. It’s about steadily and insistently improving without seeming to exert pressure or anxiety to do so.”

How have you find ways to work toward change without anxiously pressuring others?

 

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