It was a paid gig in Madigans, O’ Connell Street, Dublin. Hardly a kings’ ransom but we’d make a few dollars and have a bit of fun. The Sunday night of a Halloween bank holiday is lively. Given the location, a big crowd was guaranteed, mostly tourists. An eclectic range of music with a bit of ‘paddy-whackery’ thrown in (“Have we anyone visiting from the USA?”) would do the trick. I was running this particular show and picked a 2-man team from the usual suspects. Step 1: Drive out to Swords & pick up Andy. Step 2: Haul his public address system into the back of the jeep (the speakers wouldn’t look out of place at an open air concert in the Aviva). Step 3: Collect microphone stands in Beaumont. Step 4: Drive to the pub and team up with Ju Ju (his real name’s Dave). Step 5: Assemble all the gear. Whew! No one said becoming ‘famous’ was ever going to be easy.
Breaking News: Mid way through the 1st set, the high E-string on my guitar broke. With that repaired and the guitar re-tuned (about 8 minutes) I was back on track. Then the battery in the semi-acoustic guitar gave up the ghost. Luckily one of the other guys had a spare. Just before the end of the set, incredibly, I then managed to break the D string. Are you getting a picture here of how well this night was going? Most of the punters were anesthetized by that point (“To Arthur!”) and didn’t even notice.
Declining Confidence: As each little mini-tragedy unfolded, I was getting more and more rattled. Playing ‘for yourself’ in the front room is one thing; being paid elevates the stress. The other guys are well seasoned and had a laugh seeing me running around like Inspector Gadget trying to sort out the mishaps. Perhaps it’s the raw material for a new song: (“Don’t give up the day job – Yeah, yeah, yeah”).
Wider Message: It struck me afterwards how easy it is for confidence to unravel. When the outer veneer of confidence is peeled back, people struggle to perform. The question is whether there are people in your organization who’ve lost confidence? And, if this is the case, is there anything you can do to get them back on track?
The simplest definition of a manager is ‘someone who gets their work done through others’. If your staff are struggling, fixing the organization equivalent of broken strings or worrying about historical ‘underperformance’, they are not playing to their future potential. A red thread running through many of these blog posts, is that confidence is not a fixed commodity. Remember the old children’s song There’s a hole in the Bucket? For most of us, confidence leaks and needs to be continually topped up. As a leader, it’s your job to do exactly that. Success is not about what you personally achieve, regardless of how brilliant you are or how many hours you punch in. It’s about your ability to release the talent, energy and capability of the people around you. You can sing that!
PS A lighter moment…
THINGS THAT ARE DIFFICULT TO SAY WHEN DRUNK:
THINGS THAT ARE VERY DIFFICULT TO SAY WHEN DRUNK:
2. Constitutionally speaking
3. Passive-aggressive disorder
THINGS THAT ARE DOWNRIGHT IMPOSSIBLE TO SAY WHEN DRUNK:
1. Sorry, but you’re not really my type.
2. Nope. Not another drop of booze!
3. Kebab? But, I’m not hungry.
4. Good evening, officer. Isn’t it lovely tonight?
5. Oh, I couldn’t! No one wants to hear me sing karaoke.
6. I’m not interested in fighting you.
7. I won’t dance, I’ve no coordination and I’d hate to look like a fool!
8. I must be going home now, as I’ve very important work to do in the morning.
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