What terms come to mind when you think of Louis Armstrong? A great musician, a very peaceful honest person, or perhaps a leader. His music is definitely among some of my favorite and if you’ve ever read about Louis Armstrong, you would know that he has some of the key building blocks to being a great leader. Through his music, he has inspired many.
A favorite quote of mine by Duke Ellington comes to mind when thinking of Louis Armstrong. “He was born poor, but died rich, and never hurt anyone along the way”. To everyone around Louis Armstrong he brought a deeper meaning of life them. Through his numerous contributions to the people he defended and helped he would go down in history as a legend.
At this point I bet you’re asking yourself what does Louis Armstrong really have to do with leadership? He was not a president, a king, a religious icon, or world peacemaker.
I was going through some of my music collection the other day, when I ran across his greatest hits CD. I tossed it in the CD player and quick turned it to “A Wonderful World“. In the beginning, he talks about how people have been coming up and telling him that this world isn’t really great but Louis did not let that get him down. He says, “It would be a wonderful world if only we would give it a chance.” He also says, “If lots more of us loved each other, then we would solve lots more problems”. Personally, I believe that these are two of the greatest leadership quotes that could ever be conveyed.
The first quote really applies to leadership because if you’re assembling a team and there’s just one weak link (who might have a bad outlook on the task) the team’s performance will be greatly reduced. Most often, people are affected by the moods around them. If every person in your group is not on board with a positive outlook about the task at hand, then it will make it that much more difficult to reach your final goal. It is a leader’s job to make sure that everyone on the team is ready to work with one another, and that they are passionate about the task that the leader has given them.
The second quote is slightly similar to the first quote, but it touches a little bit more on everybody working together, instead of having just one weak link. You see, great things are accomplished when everyone puts aside their petty differences and takes an active role in accomplishing the same goal. Everyone in the team has to have an understanding and an open mind to other team members’ ideas. It is a leader’s job to establish peace boundaries within the team.
One of the greatest examples of a great running team is the International Space Station. I believe this helps contribute to global peace, as each country has put aside their petty differences and are working together towards the same common goal. There are people from all walks of life, from all over the world, that make up this flawless team. This team has set an example for the rest of the world to follow. Imagine what we could accomplish if the world would work together.
Leadership can be found in any aspect of life. Lois Armstrong is a great example and we can learn a lot from a simple musician’s outlook on life. We just have to be open to it.