The Soundboard Sensei
Many of the lessons I learn in life are stumbled upon when I least expect it. As a volunteer learning the in’s and out’s of a sound board, I was blessed with the opportunity to work with my Soundboard Sensei, Nate Dogg to some, and Nathan Hall to most. During my time of serving under his leadership, I learned all sorts of amazing things about mixing sound but even more about relationships.
This is a gift he may not have realized he was giving, yet one that I hold dearly in so many situations today.
For example… there once was a sound tech that was frustrated with some leadership issues. This person grumbled quietly but you could tell there was real hurt as a result of decisions made. So I, in an ugly and inappropriate fashion, spoke the blunt truth to Nathan about the hurt he’d inadvertently inflicted.
My Soundboard Sensei could have blasted me for the way I’d spoken to him. As someone serving under him, he easily could have written me off and ignored the situation (and me) but he didn’t. Dude jumped in with both feet, came to me speaking the truth in love and said we needed to have a face-to-face conversation about what had transpired. Dude showed up at my house not long after that phone call and in we jumped to deal with the mess at hand.
Did you catch that? He didn’t just ditch me because it’d gotten hard. He seized the opportunity to lead bravely and show his genuine interest in me as a person. He came to my house to figure it out. He wasn’t about to let me hide behind a snarky, frustrated comment. He didn’t send and e-mail or text where so much could be misinterpreted or lost in translation. He engaged in the ugly, determined to get to the bottom of it. He graciously called me to the carpet and to this day, I’m so thankful for that.
His heart to disarm my prickly response and find the truth in what I was saying is a lesson I hold close. In this one instance, he chose to be comfortable having an uncomfortable conversation and portrayed the importance of me serving effectively on the team, and ultimately the importance of our friendship.
Leadership is not always pretty or doesn’t always line up with the chapters in the books some study. It can be hard and ugly and a beautiful mess. But in the end, the ability to be brave in leadership may teach a lesson that might otherwise be missed.
Be brave in your leadership. Be intentional in your conversations. Be gracious with your friendships.