The second step in the self-directed learning plan I posted a couple of weeks ago was “discovering your real self,” in other words taking an honest assessment of your strengths and weaknesses. This is a constant process for good leaders. I saw a list about leadership development on a leadership blog that shows the same emphasis on self-assessment:
- I see my personal development as one of my highest priorities.
- My calendar reflects the high priority I place on the pursuit of wisdom.
- I invest time on a regular basis with people who help me grow.
- Self-evaluation and reflection play an active role in my pursuit of wisdom.
The core quality of leaders with wisdom is they seek wisdom.
How do we self – evaluate as choral conductors? The best tool is a video camera. I remember Dr Greg Gentry at ASU (he is now at U of Colorado Boulder) telling us graduate students that we should always have a video camera “at our hip” ready to shoot every chance we have to be up in front of a group. He was partly talking about getting footage to use for job applications and such, but the same holds true of being able to evaluate ourselves. It works so much better to step back and take a look at yourself – even though it can be a bit painful.
One summer I was really hoping to go to either the Oregon Bach festival with Rilling or the Cannon Beach workshop with Eichenberger, but found out that I wouldn’t get any podium time at either place. I decided that it wouldn’t be worth the money to go if I only got to observe (I’m sure I still would have learned something, but with the hefty price tag of participating in these things I felt I couldn’t justify it in my family’s budget to only go and observe). So I started taking video of myself and listening more intently to the recordings of my choirs at Pierce College Puyallup. I was a little surprised that my groups didn’t sound as good as I remembered them sounding in concerts and rehearsal. I started making lists of what I wanted to work on and I’m pleased to say that I feel I’ve made great progress toward my goals. I hate watching video of myself conduct – but it makes me better.