The magnificent “Tribute to Vienna” concert at the Walt Disney Hall in Los Angeles is an unlikely place for a leadership lesson. However, within the spectacular venue, a wonder to behold with the acoustics better than I can appreciate, an Intentional Leadership Lesson is what I had.

The orchestra was exquisite, as were the graceful dancers, and singers with voices that filled the massive hall. However, it was the conductor that fascinated and held me mesmerized thro

This conductor's conduct was music to my ears.

This conductor’s conduct was music to my ears.

ughout the performance. He is the Maestro of the Vienna Philharmonic, Neils Muus, an Intentional conductor.

The energy, acrobatics, enthusiasm and power of Neils Muus’ leadership was as beautiful to me as the performance it inspired. He used every part of his face and body intentionally—including his eyebrows! The impact was full-bodied, rich and unquestionable leadership

Some examples of Intentional Leadership I observed from the Intentional Conductor:

  • A small railing was behind him as he faced the orchestra and periodically, he would lean one hand on it while sweeping the other in a full 360-degree arc.
  • Other times he would jab his baton almost in the faces of the violin players or dip down to squatting position—and then leap up with both arms cajoling his performers to swell the sound coming out of their instruments.
  • When he wanted quiet, the entire concert hall was hushed. We knew by his body language, whether he was facing us or the orchestra, exactly what he wanted—and he got it from us, audience and artists alike!
  • At times, he would turn towards the audience and lean on the railing as he gazed admiringly at the beautiful dancers and singers performing at the front of the stage.
  • Not infrequently, he burst into a huge grin, his whole face lighting up–and we grinned and lit up with him.

What do you as a leader do with your hands, arms, and eyebrows? If you don’t know, you are missing an incredible opportunity to impact your followers. If you do know but are not intentional in how you manage these vital aspects of how you communicate, you may be missing an opportunity for excellence.

Thank you, Maestro Muus, for a thrilling performance and another reminder of how intentionality is the foundation for exceptional leadership.