Benevolent & Demanding Leadership


Didier Marlier

April 07, 2023

From Disruption to Engagement

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Each time Nick McRoberts, a long time companion in the Enablers Journey and a brilliant conductor and composer or I (more modestly;) tell the story of those two highly respected artists (conductors Riccardo Muti and Leonard Bernstein), showing these tokens of their talent, the answer to our question, “Would you like to be led by him and why?”, attracts a rich engagement from the leaders in the room (or on line). Starting with Riccardo Muti, first:

People recognise the Passion, the Drive, the “Embodiment” demonstrated by the Italian conductor, when interpreting Beethoven’s fifth, they feel that there is “a captain on board of the plane” but quickly, some dissonant voices start to emerge: “He seems scary, distant, almost dictatorial, no experimentation encouraged, no mistakes allowed” and, little by little, participants settle on the fact that Maestro Muti, just on the basis of that clip, comes across as a very demanding and exceptional conductor, but that something might be missing.

Then comes, one of the most unorthodox geniuses of classical music, Leonard Bernstein… The clip represents a very special moment of his career (the last minutes in fact), in company of the World’s best orchestra, the Vienna Symphonic Orchestra.

There is no need to report to you about the preference people express between Muti’s “High Challenge/Low Support” style and Bernstein “High Challenge/High Support” way of conducting. People know that Leonard Bernstein was very demanding, placing high expectations on his orchestra, but was equally caring, warm-hearted and… fun.

Short article this week, as too many words would spoil the impression and conclusions that should be yours to draw. It is such a privilege to team-up with artists, coaches & advisers at the same time, such as Claude (helping people project their true self), Idriss (musician), Julio (star dancer and choreographer), Jimmy (samba school) or Nick (conductor)…

Enjoy your Leadership Journey!


  1. DYE Vincent

    When you are lucky to have a professional team … then you can act as Bernstein and all have a great pleasure to play together !

    Isn’t the true challenge of us all ?
    Get the pleasure to do things right, together ?
    Then Fun is shared and obvious on all the musicians / actors and only then , all can make Great things they had never thought possible !
    Enjoy a peaceful Easter weekend !
    ( better than just saying long weekend ! )

    • Didier Marlier

      Thank you, dear Vincent… wise words. I am so pleased that you liked the clip.


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