Lessons on Leadership in an Irish Pub

From Paula Wilder, senior partner at WilderWeber Leadership Group, a VT KnowledgeWorks member company:

Executive leadership lessons in Pepper's pub On a brisk Wednesday night in early January, 2011, I visited Pepper’s pub in Feakle, Ireland. The traditional Irish music jam started with three musicians.  The leader, Mark Donnellan, a fiddler and farmer, was joined by a singer-guitarist and a teen-age boy on concertina.  They started right in with jigs and reels.   More musicians arrived in ones and twos – an older woman with her fiddle, an American with his concertina, the Mahoney girls.   Within the hour, five more musicians appeared, each grabbing a stool, listening momentarily to the music and then diving in – flutes, harmonicas, accordions and fiddles – high-spirited, toe-tapping revelry.

I couldn’t keep my eyes off Mr. Donnellan’s encouragement of each young person’s delivery of a solo virtuoso performance.   Some young people were nervous, but each seemed to know that they needed to deliver a riveting rendition.  And each one of them did.

What struck me was that he didn’t make time for his own solo or offer solos to the older musicians.   Donnellan is focused on the next generation. That’s a leadership style I can get behind.

Paula Wilder is an organizational effectiveness expert and senior partner at WilderWeber Leadership Group.  WilderWeber Group is a VT KnowledgeWorks member company in  Blacksburg, Virginia.


Learn more about WilderWeber Leadership Group on Inside VT KnowledgeWorks.  A version of this post first appeared on Handshake 2.0.

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