17 Tips for Effective Leadership in Any Field

Ardene Shafer, who “plays in Peoria” as well as teaches violin at a private school and works at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria, served as MENC’s assistant executive director of member programs and publications from 1999 to 2005. She offers the following ideas for being a better leader, whatever your profession:

  •  Be compassionate.
  •  Have a good sense of humor.
  •  Stick to things until you finish them.
  •  Show enthusiasm.
  •  Have high expectations of people.
  •  Be willing to work hard at first, smart later.
  •  Have patience.
  •  Don’t let little things bug you.
  •  Love what you do.
  •  Credit your people.
  •  Give responsibility.
  •  Accept blame for problems.
  •  Be fair.
  •  Cultivate generosity.
  •  Trust your people.
  •  Get and stay organized.
  •  Be a good listener.

Resource for your students:  Whatever profession your music students ultimately pursue, they would benefit from perusing the Stephen R. Covey book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People (first published in 1989). A subsequent book lists an eighth habit: “Find your voice, and inspire others to find theirs.”

–Ella Wilcox, originally posted June 11, 2008, © National Assocation for Music Education (www.nafme.org)