Orchestra conductor and manager, the same leadership?


This is a theme often mentioned in management books. Also, we naturally propose you to discuss this subject because the 2m2C, meeting point between the world of music and business is a place conducive to these crossovers.  Created more than 45 years ago to host professional events in order to extend the high tourist season, the 2m2c has since enriched its reception and service services by turning into culture and quite naturally to music. Thus the world of business and music come together on a daily basis within this unique structure, an opportunity for us to question the close ties that exist between a manager and an orchestra conductor.
The manager is often identified as the orchestra conductor. They both practice the art of managing people. In terms of communication and team management, their objectives have many correspondences, which are frequently included in management publications.
First of all, it must be noted that the function of orchestra conductor and company director (or manager) is a management function involving leadership and charisma. They must be both guides and principals. They are the guarantors of the realization of the project and the satisfaction, or even the exceeding of the expectations of the customers or spectators. To do this, both must give their teams the means to implement and develop their skills to reach their best level through listening, advice, mentoring but also through rhythm.  Indeed, the parallel between music and management highlights the importance of the rhythm that any organization needs to get moving and breathe. The latter allows the implementation of missions or scores while promoting coordination and team cohesion.
In both cases, we also find the notions of rigour and rigour is necessary to achieve the objectives of these two human leaders. As well as their ability to communicate enthusiasm and support for the collective project. Similarly, the manager and the orchestra conductor may not be the best technicians or musicians, but they are the best referents because of their experience and general expertise. These managerial skills make it possible to create a climate of trust, conducive to the development of skills, team cohesion and collective performance.
Yet, despite all these undeniable commonalities, some have reservations about their similarities, highlighting the fact that the orchestra conductor's mission is not as broad. For example, he is not in principle responsible for recruiting his musicians. Its mission is often reproduced and programmed by the score, whereas it is the responsibility of the company manager to constantly create, innovate and decide in changing contexts.
Therefore, while this comparative approach is interesting, it should be kept in mind that these are two distinct professions. This type of exercise is nevertheless enriching and allows you to have a different and complementary perspective on team management. The same applies to the analogies between management and military command. They make it possible to approach management from a different angle and identify its main drivers and values: vision, commitment, facilitation, listening, federation and mobilization of stakeholders.
Thus, approaching management training courses through a comparative approach with music makes it easier to understand and assimilate concepts thanks to associations with a simple organizational model known to each of us. A bit like when you learn a language with pictures.
Many famous authors have used this metaphor in their books, such as Chester Barnard in his book "The Function of Executive - Harvard University" (1938) or Peter Drucker in "The Effective Executive - Harper and Row" (1967). It is also, when it comes to describing the job of manager, frequently included in specialized magazines and journals.
 In addition, we can observe the creation of professional bridges between its two professions, illustrated in particular by the career paths of two men.
- Michel Podalak, orchestra conductor turned management consultant
- Guy Perier, Manager then orchestra conductor and Consultant
As an orchestra and choir conductor, Michel Podolak has been trained at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris, at the Sorbonne, as well as in the United States and various European countries. Mr. Podolak has performed in many orchestras such as the Orchestre Pasdeloup, the Orchestre de Bohême or the Orchestre national d'Ile de France. After travelling in many countries and devoted his life to music, his meeting with Jean-Marie Becq, a personal development consultant and passionate music lover, will mark a turning point in his professional career. Now convinced by the existing links between music and business, he will lead numerous conferences, meetings and team building activities for companies, allowing him to both expose his thoughts on these two worlds and share his passion for music.
Conversely, Guy Perier, before becoming a conductor and management consultant, was Director of Marketing and then Head of Human Resources at L'Oréal. It offers team building workshops that illustrate the construction of leadership through musical exercises.  According to him, what is interesting is the establishment of a collective intelligence and not the exercise of absolute authority.
Thus, after studying the subject, we were able to realize that there is nevertheless a difference between the manager and the conductor. In today's society, the manager must no longer have absolute authority over his employees. He must listen to his employees and act according to his environment. Indeed, the stakes are far too high to be wrong. On the other hand, the orchestra conductor will always impose his authority. He will decide if there will be any changes or not during the concert. The musicians have no power and have no opinion to give on a performance.
To make you aware of this or make your own opinion, we invite you to the Stravinsky Auditorium of the 2m2c during the 74th Musical September where the greatest Russian orchestra conductors reveal their talent and passion.

Alexis Blanpain - 2m2c - 06.19.2019