Haydn or Mozart – How do you face challenges?

The names Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Joseph Haydn foremost evoke in us the greatness of music. When we listen to their sublime music, little do we think of their daily lives or challenges they faced in their profession. Being a musician in the 18th century was not easy. Both Haydn and Mozart were mere servants in an aristocratic household. What differed them were their very diverse communication skills.

Haydn was a good-natured, easy-going person who enjoyed an amicable relationship with his employer,Prince Esterhazy. However, a serious rift between them happened when on vacation at the Prince’s hunting lodge. The Prince wanted to prolong the vacation and ordered that all musicians must stay, even though they were seperated from their families for a long time. Haydn decided to challenge the Prince with composing a symphony whereby one by one the musicians ceased to play and left the stage. The Prince was not offended, took the hint and said ‘If they all leave, we must leave too!’

Mozart, a child prodigy was employed by the Archbishop of Salzburg. Their relationship was far from idyllic. As Mozart wrote to his father, he was not allowed to sit at the dining table with the archbishop and his friends, but with the cooks and valets! When he asked for permission to play at a charity concert, he was flatly refused. Mozart’s answer to the archbishop was if kicked hard, he would kick back harder. Their relationship rapidly deteriorated with the outcome that Mozart was expelled from the archbishop’s service very soon.
These two stories show us different management styles and different reactions.

As a leader, are you more Prince Esterhazy or the Archbishop of Salzburg? When challenged are you more Mozart or Haydn?

  • June 2019
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