Part of ongoing series: Paparazzi in the Hands of an Angry God: Servant Leadership in an Age of Self-Promotion.
Catalyst was conceived as a Next Generation Leaders Conference in 1999 by Andy Stanley, Reggie Joiner, John Maxwell, Lanny Donoho and several young leaders. Catalyst was able to meet that demand by creating a conference specifically focused on leaders under the age of 40. In October of 2000 in Atlanta, GA, Catalyst convened 1500 church leaders for this inaugural experience. With a unique approach to programming and learning, defined by a fun, dynamic attendee experience, leaders were personally challenged to become “change agents” within their organizations, churches and communities… even and especially Artists and Musicians..
Leading Artists and Musicians
Okay, so alot of us who run organizations, or manage teams, or have staff direct reports, are leading those who consider themselves to be ARTISTS of some sort.
Whether it’s musicians, or designers, or writers, or entertainers, or worship leaders, or those who sketch/paint/draw, I’m going to lump them all together for the sake of this conversation and my thoughts on how to best lead them.
Here is a disclaimer… I’m not so sure I’m the best at this. Specifically leading artists.
Disclaimer #2…. we are ALL artists. In regards that we all are called to create things of excellence. Some of us are way more “Artistic” at our core than others. That is who I’m talking about here. You know who they are on your team. Guaranteed.
I’m also VERY INTERESTED to hear from you on how you best lead/manage artists. Please comment below and share your thoughts.
Here are a few of my thoughts:
1. Start with reality. Artists are different. Not in bad weird way. But in a great weird way. So just begin with this, and it will help tremendously.
2. Lead, don’t manage. Share vision, inspire, and let them loose. Managing an artist type like you would an accountant, or a project manager, or a typical hard charging type A, is not a good idea.
3. Be very specific on areas that most think are ambiguous. Most leaders think that because artists are spontaneous and spatial in their thinking, that they don’t want specifics. So alot of leaders will be totally ambiguous in their interactions with artists. But just the opposite. Most artists need and desire very clear, focused and specific direction.
4. Give them room to dream. This might mean they need to spend an afternoon at a coffee shop or in the park or at the lake. Let them do that.
5. Allow them to decorate and make their area “their own.” Their office or cube or space needs to reflect who they are. Otherwise, finding inspiration could be tough in the office.
6. Release them into their areas of greatest strength. Don’t burden a great artist with tasks and responsibilities outside their strengths. If it’s a money thing, pay them less but let them do what they are great at. Most artists care way more about doing their “art” anyway.
7. Aggregate artists in “pairs” and team lead them. I like to always have at least two artists in a meeting, on a team, working on a project, sitting together, and ultimately working together. It gives them more energy and allows them to vent to each other. Also, if you have personality conflicts with artists on your team, then “team” lead them. Don’t take it personal, but figure out the best way to release them and inspire them. It might be that you are not the best person to do that, and it’s okay that someone else on your team is.
Since inception, over 100,000 leaders have made the annual trek to Atlanta to participate in the Catalyst Conference experience, and this October, once again over 12,000 young leaders will gather to experience Catalyst up close. In addition, over 3,000 leaders will gather for the Catalyst West Coast experience in Orange County, CA and 3,000 more will gather for the first ever Catalyst in Dallas.
Leadership has been the topic of focus for the Catalyst brand since inception and will continue to be so. Catalyst and the annual Conferences provide a wide cover for addressing a variety of topics specific to Next Generation Leaders, including organizational leadership, personal leadership, integrity, character, relationships, and teamwork, among others. Over the last eleven years, Catalyst has grown in influence and reach, now offering three annual events on the East and West coast and in Dallas, regional One Day events, multiple resources, a dedicated online magazine, online community, the Filter content program, a bi-weekly podcast, and many other tools for young leaders. Catalyst has only just begun to go deeper with the Catalyst Community in taking them beyond a conference experience and into a relationship that provides ongoing support for growth and continued learning.