Another is to give praise when praise is due, both in private and in public, at staff meetings or wherever appropriate. True and honest recognition of a good job — not empty flattery — will usually inspire people to continue their good work. These common courtesies not only elicit better performance, they serve as an example of how to deal with others that everyone in the organization — from ticket-taker to artist — can follow.
Some executives take this a step further and say thank you in a more formal way. Employees at a public television station love the perk that comes with being named employee of the month: a VIP parking space. And there are plenty of other ways to express gratitude.
Similarly, a major repertory theatre has a program for trustees which offers them an in-depth look at a particular production. Trustees who have participated say they have found it an enriching and enlightening experience that has given them a greater appreciation of the artistic process, made them better informed as board members and strengthened their ties to the theater.
Effective executives also understand that as much as their employees might love their work, a thank you, whether formal or informal, goes only so far. To be blunt, money talks. And in these times of tight budgets, so do humane working conditions, fairness and equity.
Making a workplace fair and equitable should mean creating and administering pay and benefits even-handedly. Finally, great leaders know that their own approach to the job, day in and day out, can do as much as anything else to make the people around them feel valued. These leaders bring the same passion and creativity to the board and the rehearsal hall; they give equal energy to the annual capital campaign and the program selection meeting.
All of these measures require some effort, but the pay-off is worth it.
The executive who listens encourages a staff and board whose members express ideas and make contributions. Great ideas might not be forthcoming all the time, but an open-door policy creates a level of comfort for the sharing of these ideas when they do come. The executive who cultivates an open and interested style will be rewarded with a staff that is brave enough to share both good news and bad. This executive will hear the new and creative ideas and be alerted to potential problems early on.
An open style will reap powerful ideas and solutions; it will also reveal areas of disagreement. The most effective leaders understand that strong, healthy organizations can weather debate. They do not fear a free exchange of information, but welcome it with the understanding that open dialogue will result in better decisions for the organization. The executive director of a complex of four museums instituted a major organizational change with an open approach that brought immeasurable rewards.
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She wanted to centralize aspects of the educational work of each museum in order to provide the public, particularly parents and teachers, with still more innovative programming. Instead, she met with the head of education of each museum separately in order to understand their unique issues and programs and then arranged for a day-long meeting with all four of them and their staffs.
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The meeting was run like a professional seminar, with plenary meetings interspersed with small-group break-out sessions. Opposing points of view were aired and vested interests and fears about the proposed changes were respectfully examined. This was possible because the executive went into the meetings without a preconceived idea about the outcome.
She did not take a defensive posture; nor did she impose her ideas on the group. She listened carefully and showed that she was open to new ideas. The result was a plan for action that refined the initial concept and rallied the staff to make it work. It represented their thinking as much as hers, and suggested new and exciting opportunities, which although they required some restructuring and changes in job responsibilities, have been implemented with success and enthusiasm.
In cultivating openness, these executives do not shrink from exposing their own thoughts to scrutiny. They work at developing humility, offering up their ideas and showing that they are open to discussion. They also cultivate habits of self-scrutiny and self-criticism, and take pains to acknowledge and learn from their mistakes. This sort of openness and honesty should not drag down the atmosphere into solemnity and gloom. A sense of humor and a light touch can just as easily create the kind of openness that strengthens an organization. A shared laugh can create a happy, creative environment, defuse a tense discussion and stimulate productive brainstorming.
The new CEO of a large science center brought a new vision that resulted in many changes in the institution. His attitude and management style fostered an atmosphere in which the staff felt comfortable enough to develop a skit that dealt humorously with the general institutional uncertainty and their own anxieties. That is, they manage risk.
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They know that without risk there is no progress. By contrast, some executives are averse to any uncertainty; they believe their charge is to maintain their foothold. The most effective executives assess risk from all points of view. What are the possible consequences of the proposed action?
‘Increasingly high’ risk of burnout among arts leaders | News | ArtsProfessional
What are the ramifications of not acting? At one theatre company, the artistic director wished to stage a play by an infamous foreign playwright, that would be, for its audiences, extremely controversial. It would be quite risky. It might lose a substantial amount of money. In fact, it had the potential to be a financial and public relations disaster.
But once proposed, the idea became irresistible to both staff and board. And so, the managing director came up with a plan to produce the play outside the regular subscription season. The production played to capacity and won universal praise from the critics. It even made money. The two executives had had the courage to act on their vision, to take the risk — and to temper that risk with good sense and creativity. They must accept responsibility and they must be prepared with other plans. A few weeks before casting was to begin, the playwright informed the artistic director that he would be unable to complete the play as promised.
In the arts and cultural sector, in common with other areas of work, people with all levels of experience lead in different ways, we define leaders as people who:. You will also need a statement of support from your line manager or, if working as an individual sole trader or in a small partnership, your referee.
Your line manager or referee is someone who can tell us why you are ready for leadership development and how they can support you. Leadership Development Programme. Who is this course for? You will be a learning and engagement professional in the arts and cultural sector in the West Midlands who is either active as a leader in your field or aspiring to be so, who wants to: Be more influential in your current work and make a bigger impact. Build confidence in your own leadership potential.
CFA recognizes that artists and creative thinkers need practical preparation for a life in the arts. As natural problem-solvers, artists are already well suited as agents of social change and possess the potential to also be dynamic leaders. The Arts Leadership minor provides students with the tools and skills to put ideas into action.
Weekly guests will share experiences with the class. In addition to guest speakers, students will focus on leadership skills and exercises through readings and case studies. The goal of this course is to introduce students to pressing issues in the art world, to gain leadership skills, and to provide insight into career direction. CFA FA Career Development for Artists This course is designed to help students identify and develop methods to apply their creative abilities in practical ways.