Building Trust & Relationships
The foundations of any successful organization are built on trust between leaders and followers; however, what is often overlooked is trust among student leaders themselves. Do they trust each other to do their job? Do student leaders follow through with what they say they will do? Communication skills have a direct connection with trust, which essentially is an agreement between two people to treat each other with dignity and respect. Instead of thinking about “me,” trust allows your team to think about “we.” To cultivate trust, directors should aim to teach “win-win” situations as defined by Stephen Covey. When leaders and followers trust one another, they both win. If a leader does not lead through service, it creates a power imbalance, or a win-lose situation. Student leaders must reflect back on their purposes of leadership, their mission and values, and use critical thinking as to how to best communicate with their followers, i.e. to determine how leadership can become a win for all parties. In the choral rehearsal, trust is difficult to establish, but it first must be achieved between teacher and student. Students must feel that they are able to take risks and make mistakes without fear of embarrassment or retribution by the teacher before they can begin to trust one another. Allow for opportunities for discussion to begin to break the ice before doing anything musical. As a whole, students are much more apt to talk than sing, as they are more experienced at doing so. Then, as trust relationships are built, teachers can use the new levels of student confidence to push their singers and choir to new heights of musicianship. But remember, non-musical should be a predecessor to musical.
As trust is built, relationships are strengthened. Do you know your kids outside of choir? What are their strengths and interests beyond singing? When we know our kids as a person, we can inspire them to be better singers through the trust cultivated in the relationship. Perhaps it’s a team, hobby, or just something interesting students want to share about themselves. Don’t be afraid to take a risk and ask…you will be surprised by the responses.