EOT Blog

Leadership Lessons From a Night of Funk with Maceo Parker

David Malter | February 28, 2018

I was lucky enough to go out on a school night this week and see a truly outstanding performance by an unbelievable performer, Maceo Parker. If you don’t know who he is, find some of his music (there is a link at the bottom of this post) or just think P-Funk, James Brown, Ray Charles and other legends. At 75, this man didn’t disappoint and had the audience raptured from the second he got onstage.

What does this have to do with camp? Well, besides being a saxophone virtuoso who can also sing, dance and play the flute (really well!), Maceo exhibited all the characteristics of leadership that we should all aspire to as leaders at camp. You may want to share these important lessons with your Leadership/Supervisors as well.

Recognizing the Band

Maceo is obviously the featured performer and has the pedigree that makes him an absolute rock star. His charisma, energy and talent could easily turn him into a leader who garners all the attention and accolades. However, he was incredibly giving and modest when it came to his band. He gave them each the time to shine as individuals and encouraged them throughout the show to play their best. He mentioned their names over and over and stepped off the stage repeatedly to give them the full spotlight. That doesn’t mean he wasn’t conducting the action, he just valued the individual, unique talents of each member of his team and made sure they were given time to shine.

The Show Must Go On

About an hour through the first set, Maceo paused to let us know he was going to try to hit a high note and his cold might get in the way. Now, up until this point there was absolutely no indication that he was feeling ill and everyone in the room would agree he was giving 100% of his mind, body and soul through his performance. As leaders at camp, no matter how tired, frustrated, sick or overwhelmed we are, it is imperative to put of all that aside and hit the “stage” with high energy, positive attitudes and our best selves.

Spread the Love

One of the highlights of this show was Maceo and the band’s exuberance and absolute joy being in front of a small audience in a venue much more modest than they were probably used to after years of success. The theme of the night was an overwhelming declaration of love: for the audience, the musicians on stage, the crew who helped run the show and, most importantly, love for the world. If we could all bring just a fraction of this unwavering positive attitude driven by Maceo’s grateful nature, our camps would be that much better.

Maceo Parker exemplifies the best in leadership and is a shining example of the power of bringing your best, most authentic self at all times. You set the tone at all times and need to hold yourself accountable to ensure all your stakeholders feel confident in you as a the band leader.

Dave “Professor Dave” Malter is a faculty member with Expert Online Training and a camp enthusiast who works with youth development organizations across the country on staff training, employee engagement and leadership. If you are interested in talking more about developing your team or other staff training issues, please head over to www.professordave.camp and sign-up up for a FREE 30-minute Phone/Skype consultation.

To get a taste of Maceo Parker and his exceptional leadership, check out this video: https://youtu.be/3_0alsFnxwI.


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