Legacy Learning

Royal Conservatory of Brussels

The way I see it

Reflecting back on real life experiences has a way of providing great insight. For those who have read my book, you will know that I wrote about my father when noting his resilience in life, having to give up his career as a professional violinist in order to make a living for his family.

Recently, I remembered him relating a story about his time spent at the Brussels Conservatory of Music in the late 1920’s. He was a young student at the time. His symphony class was practicing in the “grande salle” for a public performance that evening. My father and a few of his friends stepped outside on a break and noticed a middle-aged man standing near the entrance. He was leaning against the wall, smoking a cigarette. They noticed he was dressed poorly and, in my father’s words, looked like a homeless man. Some of his friends jokingly asked what someone like him was doing hanging outside a prestigious concert hall. The man continued smoking and ignored the students. When they returned inside, he followed them in. It was then that he was introduced to the group – he was the renowned French composer Maurice Ravel – his most famous music composition being Bolero. He was going to be their conductor that evening. Needless to say, that was a learning that my dad later taught me. “Never judge a book by it’s cover.”

The way I see it, perception is the lens of leadership in work relationships. Be aware of its power. Our perceptions influence our beliefs, attitudes, and behaviours. Our assumptions always follow misperceptions. This learning most importantly applies to all of our relationships both personal and professional. Be sure to get more information about someone before you jump to conclusions based solely on what you see. And always clarify your perceptions. More often than not, we find that our initial impressions have been wrong.

That’s the way I see it.