The idea of hundreds of people filing into a building and watching the project your organization has worked on for months and years is a bit nerve-wracking to say the least. This is just one part of their daily grind at performing arts organizations.
Leaders in the performing arts faces unique challenges, but ultimately rely on many of the same managerial traits any organization can utilize.
Tobie S. Stein, author of Leadership in the Performing Arts, provides insight from some of the top performing arts industry professionals, giving readers an insight on what it means to lead in these organizations and how to develop these valuable skills. Some of the important leadership traits Stein highlights are:
* Mastering the subtle qualities of quiet determination and confidence;
* Enabling their senior team members to “share ideas and thrive within their organizations;” and,
* Engendering a leadership style that is collaborative and inclusive.
Quiet determination relies on subtle qualities that others might not immediately see. While American society might place a high value on big personalities, leaders with quiet determination get the job done. “I don’t always have to be the loudest person in the room,” said Harold Wolpert, managing director at the Roundabout Theatre Company. “My strength is my quiet determination, my collaborative nature; I am often the calm in the storm.”
Resisting the urge to follow sudden impulses in hectic situations allows a leader to make thoughtful choices for the future of their organization.
When a leader bonds with employees, collaboration becomes second nature. “There’s nothing I will ask my staff to do that I wouldn’t be willing to do myself, including shoveling the snow outside of Ford’s Theatre,” said Paul Tereault, director at Ford’s Theatre. “We all need to pitch in and shovel the snow sometimes.”
Leading by example and creating a team mentality creates a positive experience for all involved and allows for the creation of unique solutions that could not be developed by one person alone.