What does harmony have to do with leadership?

When you think of harmony, what comes to mind? A symphony? A boy band? What does harmony have to do with wine and leadership?

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.

Harmony is one of the five characteristics of a fine wine we are studying for the New Wine Mastermind Weekend in November. What comes to mind when you think of harmony? An orchestra? A symphony? A choir? A boy band?

I think of what I can hear, but how do I associate harmony with something I taste? According to The Idiots Guide to Wine, page 6, “A wine is said to be harmonious if all its elements are in proper relation to each other. The acidity does not overpower the flavor. The body seems right for the other elements of the wine. The aftertaste does not fall short.”

You know when I wine doesn’t have harmony. There might be a strong bitterness from the skins being left in too long or a jammy consistency that sticks to your tongue. When there is no harmony, you stop and wonder if you want to take another sip. If there is harmony, you want more. Lots more!

Can you see the leadership link? All the elements are harmonious in proper relation to each other. This requires self-insight and the ability to see others, respect your boundaries, employ social regulation in a way that does not overpower the flavor of your relationship. The heaviness of the body of the wine is like the heaviness in the room when people don’t act like grown ups. When we operate in harmony, the aftertaste of our meetings does not fall short. Harmony leaves a good taste in your mouth that represents the flavors of trust, honor, and team commitment.

The Idiots, on page 50, provide another reference says, “Harmony refers to the interplay of the wines constituents. Harmony means smooth, flowing, and compatible. When everything is in sync, the result is a balanced wine.”

When all the members of your team are in sync, the result is a balanced and fruitful team. How does this impact YOU. In order for the team to operate in harmony, every member needs to operate from self-insight and other insight — a honed intuition to watch out and care for the other team members. Some people call it love. REALLY? Love at work? All this means is that you take the time to see others, ask about their life, know the names of their kids. It’s basic human operation. People 101.

There’s a guy known for love and his life showed us what it looks like. As a CEO, Jesus didn’t go easy on his tribe. In fact, more than once he’d ask, “Why are you sleeping?” His last and biggest wish for his followers (John recorded this in chapter 17 of his letter) was that they would be one, that they would operate wholly as a team. Harmony is an ancient tradition of leadership. Jesus gave us a formula for harmony: love God, love others, love yourself (Mark 12, Luke and Matthew wrote it too).

Here’s the catch. You can’t even start to love God or others unless you love yourself first. That’s why the next article in the series talks about symmetry.

Watch for my ongoing series on lessons from the grapevine — how wine paints a picture of GREAT leadership. Find out more about my coaching intensive weekend creating new wine in our whole life and leadership at Want to make sure you don’t miss any of this? Get on my mail list at and access the quiz to find out how the wine tastes in your life.

    Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

    You might also like...


    Lead like an elegant wine.

    by Donna Carlson
    By Evgeny Karandaev/Shutterstock
    Work Smarter//

    You Can Save Us From a Leadership Crisis

    by Donna Carlson

    Are you ready to lead?

    by Donna Carlson

    Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

    Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

    Thrive Global
    People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.


    We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.