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Tens of thousands of Zambians were gathered in a stadium.  The choir and orchestra that was more than three thousand strong sang and played to create a wonderful atmosphere for those in attendance and those watching over the internet.  All of us sat in rapt attention to the speaker, the leader of our church denomination, deliver a powerful message to a global community of believers.

The entire experience had a profound impact on me, and weeks later, the cymbal player in the orchestra, on the final piece, is who and what I’m still talking about, thinking about and being inspired by.  I was led by someone who wasn’t the leader of the orchestra, leader of the church or even playing a particularly desirable instrument.  As my friend Matt, who is a high school band leader, said, “the cymbals are usually considered boring by most kids.”  Watch the video and then examine the 7 ways you can lead from any seat.

The seven lessons from the cymbal guy (his name is Tim Chirwa) on how lead from any seat:

  1. Leading from any seat means doing what you do with joy and enthusiasm – If Tim is anything, he’s joyful.
  2. Leading from any seat means taking so much pride in what you do that you know the work intimately – Tim not only played the cymbals, but he also sang along.  Both were done without music.  He clearly knew the words (and the music).
  3. Leading from any seat means following well and putting yourself in the hands of the one leading – Tim’s eyes were fixed on the conductor.  He didn’t have a separate agenda.  His agenda was only to play his part in the piece and follow his leader.
  4. Leading from any seat means being fully engaged.  Not just the parts of you needed to execute the job but your commitment, passion and effort too – Tim’s whole self was engaged.  It was in his eyes, his body and the manner in which he crashed the cymbals.  It was far more than just his two hands bringing the cymbals together at the appointed time.
  5. Leading from any seat means not making your work or your leadership about you – The event on May 24 wasn’t about Tim, nor did he make it about himself.  It was about receiving a message of hope, honoring God and being in fellowship with the believing world.  Although Tim was an inspiration, it wasn’t about him.
  6. Leading from any seat means willingly doing the “dirty” work or work that is seemingly beneath you – I’ve learned that Tim is an accomplished musician who plays many instruments; however, on this day he played the “lowly” cymbals.
  7. Leading from any seat means serving as if no one is watching – The camera man chose to focus on Tim.  He didn’t serve the way he did because he knew people were watching or that the camera was on him.

How will you lead today from the chair you’re sitting in?

Who has inspired you when they led from their seat?

Jeff HarmonJeff Harmon is the president of Brilliance Within Coaching & Consulting which specializes in developing servant leaders while helping them translate their strategies into actionable plans that drive business results. Jeff is the author of “The Anatomy of a Principled Leader.” Jeff has been developing leaders for nearly 20 years and has led the execution of over 100,000 hours of business strategy for information technology, financial services and non-profit organizations.

What People Are Saying

Diane Doderer   |   03 June 2015   |   Reply

Loved being reminded of the “cymbal -guy” from Pentecost. It truly inspired me to feel the joyful closing song through Tim’s excitement. I am truly energized by this in my soul. This experience reminds me… “it LOOKS like something when we are filled with the Spirit”. Yes!

Jeff Harmon   |   04 June 2015   |   Reply

Thank you for the comment Diane. Go forth and lead from whatever seat you might find yourself :)

Terry Ullrich   |   04 June 2015   |   Reply

Jeff, I am from NAC Milwaukee – Love Love LOVE this article! I am printing it and posting it on my board at work- this so applies to our daily lives, as well as our spiritual lives. You are so right about Tim (aka “cymbal guy”) Really became a focal point and in such a positive way!

Thank you again,
Terry Ullrich

Jeff Harmon   |   10 June 2015   |   Reply

Thank you Terry. I wish you all the best in your leadership journey. If you like this article, you might like some of my other blogs. To stay in touch, use the form on the home page to get notices of new blogs and leadership resources.

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