Great Church Choirs and Great Teams

July 5, 2011 by Wally Bock

My father was a Lutheran Pastor, and so I grew up around and in choirs. I didn’t realize it at the time, but in addition to being exposed to the workings of some wonderful music, I was also learning lessons about teams and stars.

Great church choirs have a balance of voices. In the great choirs there are sopranos, altos, tenors, and basses. If you have a good balance of voices, you can sing a larger repertoire and do a better job on the standards. The magic, as often happens, is in the mix.  How’s the balance on your team?

Great church choirs usually have a star or two. Every choir I’ve ever been part of has included one or more individuals who were accomplished singers. Those stars got their special solo moments to shine, but, more importantly, they helped the whole choir sound good.

I’m an enthusiastic singer, but I’m not very good. For me the safest place to be is next to someone who sings the same part (bass) but well and strongly. Weaker singers, like me, get strength, confidence and direction from other, better singers. How much do the stars support other team members on your team?

In great church choirs, every part makes a contribution. The sound that great choirs deliver doesn’t come from one or two stars, it comes from all the members singing in harmony. Great church choirs work at working together. How much does your team work on teamwork?

A lot of the discussion about hiring asks the question of whether you should go for stars or go for great teams. If my experience with church choirs is any guide, that’s the wrong question. The greatest success doesn’t come from the bright stars or hiring for fit, instead the greatest success comes from hiring stars that can make teams better. It’s not stars or teams. It’s stars and teams.

Wally Bock is a coach, a writer and President of Three Star Leadership.

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  • I totally agree with your conclusion and like several points here. Stars can really raise the bar for the team’s performance and provide great motivation for people to do their best. Also consider that a great choir director recognizes the talents of each of their choir members, finds the right projects for the choir, and balances out the sound for the best performance. It takes us all working at our best to produce the best result. thanks, Wally, for another great lesson.

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