In The Trenches

Be The Drummer

Published on April 9, 2018 Back to blog
Band Playing Gig

As a drummer, I’ve gotten used to taking a backseat to other people. At most gigs, my primary view is that of the butts of my band mates. And, as the photo of a gig I played this past weekend shows (above), I am typically hidden behind amps, guitars, cymbals and everything else on stage. Everyone in the crowd knows that I am there, but they are generally paying most attention to the talented people in front of me. However, with all that, it’s one of my favorite places to be. 

In many ways, I’ve come to view my role as a CEO similar to how I see my role as a drummer. And, today, I encourage you to take a cue from the likes of Ringo Starr, Charlie Watts, Steve Gadd and Vinnie Colaiuta – and be the drummer. (I know – you’ve never even heard the last two names, but I guarantee that you’ve heard both of them play thousands of times.)  

Here are five ways for you to be the drummer at your organization:

1) Set the tempo/mood – Perhaps the most important job of the drummer is to get everyone into the groove. It’s your job to set the tempo, the volume and the overall feel. Lead your organization the same way. 

2) Elevate those around you – A leader doesn’t always need to be on center stage. Often times, the role of the leader is to stand behind their team (or, in the case of drummers, sit on your throne behind them) and help make sure they shine. 

3) Listen closely – It’s critical that the drummer be paying attention and listening to everything that is being played at every moment. In doing so, he/she can help make sure the right parts are being pronounced at the right time. It’s the only way to truly orchestrate the team.

4) Make good great – Whether it be writing new music or performing on stage, the drummer is responsible for bringing everything to the next level. Constantly look for areas of improvement, provide direct and honest feedback to your band/team-mates and work with them to identify ways to take everything to the next level.

5) Take a solo every once in a while – You don’t need to be out in front all the time, but sometimes you just have to get it out of your system. That’s what drum solos are for. Or, in my case (and Ringo’s), it means singing “A Little Help From My Friends.”

So, while being out front can be lots of fun, I encourage you to take a moment to be the drummer every once in a while. In my opinion, it’s the most rewarding place to be. Give it a try at your organization and enjoy the groove.

Jeff Freedman
CEO/Managing Partner
Small Army | Finn Partners