Yesterday began a new series that falls loosely in the category of advice for young sound engineers. The first point was, You Don't Know as Much as You Think You Do. Today, we'll build on that.
#2: Attitude Is More Important Than The Mix
Demonstrating a servant's hear and going out of your way to make the band and audience happy will take you a lot farther than focusing exclusively on your mixing chops. I know a lot of engineers (especially monitor engineers) who were perhaps not the most skilled, but had a reputation for doing whatever it took to make the band happy. Those are the guys who never lack for work.
I found this to be an interesting phenomenon; when the sound guy can put the band at ease early in the sound check, the band plays better, the mix is better and everyone is happier. When the engineer gets defensive or argues with the band, the rest of the day doesn't go well.
I've been surprised more than once by a band member telling me they thought the mix was great and they enjoyed working with me. What surprised me was that I felt the mix was anything but great, and I may have been struggling with it all night. But what I did do was take good care of them, and make them happy. The right attitude can make a mediocre mix sound great.