I was blessed with the opportunity to attend a leadership cruise this week and I can hear the waves breaking behind the boat as I type this blog post. There is a consistent rhythm in the rear of the ship where my room is, like a peaceful song looping repeatedly – offering instant joy and inspiration. I was hesitant to attend my first cruise amid a growing to-do list and never-ending obligations at home, however, I was convinced by my wife and our two hosts that the time was important for my wife, my marriage, and my own mindset. After watching a few scenes from the Titanic and searching “Cruise Ship Disasters” on YouTube with my daughter, I sailed away on a colossal boat that has no business floating.
On the flip side (hopefully, no pun intended), this ship is full of positive energy, and I have really enjoyed meeting and speaking with leaders from all over the U.S.. There is a palpable feeling of greatness and humbleness that I was surprised to experience. My phone barely works, I have only looked at any timepieces on very few occasions, and there has been plenty of time to read and write as I please. I’m also enjoying the freedom that I rarely experience with my wife. The stress I experienced for weeks leading up to this vacation was a product of my own negative outlook. My ‘life song’ was out of tune and playing at an uncomfortable decibel level for most of October. It was only a few days prior to departure that I fully submitted to the experience and was able to sync with the instruments in my life and start playing a song that I knew well. I believe this is the song that God has intended for me, and it is obvious to my family and myself, despite my stubbornness to play it my way at times, that this is the melody that should echo and project anywhere I go. Thanks be to God for breaking down that wall I tried to build and for allowing me the opportunity to step away for reflection and fine-tuning for a few days.
The Sound of Leadership by Jules Glanzer was a very solid read and perfect for this trip. I was inspired by Leonard Sweet’s Overture and read most of the book in a day. Sweet opens with a famous line from Nikola Tesla that many of us are familiar with, “If you want to find the secrets of the universe, you must think in terms of energy, frequency, and vibration.”1 I have felt incredibly connected to that quote for years and have often metaphorically attempted to explain God’s Plan (for all of us) as a beautiful song called Life. This song is played every day, and everywhere. I believe it is our job to stay in tune so that our Life Song or Leadership Song can glorify him with honor and beautiful harmonious progression.
Glanzer does a nice job of outlining his view on leadership through the references to sound. He paints a picture of Godly leadership that points to Jesus that I believe we can all connect with. This sound (or song), conducted by the Spirit, played accurately (or at least with an effort of humble faith), is a powerful and somewhat multifaceted symphony that inspires followers and leads to trust. As leaders, I believe we can fight the song and push or grind through a specific goal or task, however, our song may be out of tune like mine was these past few weeks. Glanzer says on page 44 that “the loudest or most passionate voice is not always the right voice.”2 The more I grow in leadership, the more I am noticing this to be extremely accurate. If the ‘song’ the “leader” is singing, or the sound of his/her leadership is flat or out of tune, it makes it hard to follow and easy to lose trust. As a musician myself, I struggle when I hear things off-key. Even during church service, I notice myself disconnecting when something in the music breaks down. I have learned to be more patient over the years, but it is almost impossible to ignore it completely.
I resonated with one of the opening quotes in Chapter Two that is attributed to Max Lucado, “A man who wants to lead the orchestra must turn his back on the crowd.”3 Although I feel like the Spirit is the true conductor this statement is still powerful. In Christian leadership, the Holy Spirit moves through us and through the corridors of organizations and inspires teams to achieve their full potential in Jesus’ name. It begins with the confident cadence of a leader’s voice, conveying not only authority but also empathy, as they articulate a vision that ignites passion and purpose. This harmonic blend of communication, both verbal and non-verbal, fosters trust, collaboration, and a shared sense of direction. The sound of leadership is not just words; it’s the melody of actions, the rhythm of accountability, and the harmonious chorus of a team moving towards a common goal. In essence, the soundtrack drives success and leaves an indelible imprint on the hearts and minds of those who follow.
1 Tesla, Nikola, quoted by Leonard Sweet in the Overture of The Sound of Leadership, by Jules Glanzer, 12.
2 Glanzer, Jules; The Sound of Leadership, 44
3 Glazner, Jules, The Sound of Leadership, Quote from Max Lucado, 33.