I remember my days in Junior High choir (no, I wasn’t any good) first trying to learn to sing harmony. The choir director would patiently try to help us stay on track, but often appeared frustrated at her lack of progress, especially with the guys. Though it seems easy, harmonizing is not what it seems. You might think that once you learn the words and music, you’re all set. Not true! There is much more to singing harmony than meets the eye (that is, ear). To sing harmony well, you must:
- Learn your own words and music (e.g., you need to know your own job) – the first and foremost requirement for a harmonious team is that every member know their job and do it well. If anyone fails to hold up their end of the bargain, the others simply cannot always make it up. Before you focus on others and the work they do, ensure that you are doing your own job well first.
- Learn to listen closely to those on either side of you (e.g., communicate with your team) – a critical requirement for harmony in music is that you listen closely with those around you. You have to hear and feel how you are blending in with the others. You cannot simply do your own thing without regard for your teammates. Learning to listen is a critical skill in harmony.
- Learn to blend with others around you (e.g., combine your efforts with those on your team) – not only must we listen to our neighbors and teammates, but we must blend with them. We must not sing too loudly or too softly. The rule of thumb is that unless you can hear your neighbor, you are singing too loudly. That holds for teams, as well. Unless you can sense that your efforts are blending, not over- or under-shadowing others, you cannot achieve harmony.
- Learn to follow the leader for direction (e.g., follow well to achieve the best overall result) – doing everything else, but failing to follow your leader can still doom harmony. To sing harmony, you must follow the direction of the director/leader. Failing to do so, will result in disharmony.
When done well, harmony can be beautiful. When done poorly, the attempt at harmony is painful (my Jr. High School experience). It works the same in a work team or in a family. When the members know and do their part, listen to those around them, blend for the best result, and work for the common goal or good, great things are possible. When individuals fail at any one of these, harmony is not achieved. But, when it works well, it might even sound/appear as terrific as it is here in these two examples:
Thanks for all you do! Let’s have a terrific day today!