Chapter 1: Introduction
Most managers and staff in the arts will support the notion, that passion led the way to their workplace. However, there is increasing questioning in academia of whether it will be sufficient in the future if arts and cultural organisations try to win and retain their staff primarily through emotions and the promise “to work for the arts”. Or whether, especially in view of the developments on the labour markets and in society in general, a more professional approach to human resources will be needed to keep up with the competition for the best people in the future. In this context, quite a few management experts assume that HRM in the creative sector will become increasingly important. It is in this context, that arts and cultural organisations wishing to work with the best qualified staff on a long-term basis will have to monitor and improve the way how people from different hierarchy levels, fields of work, levels of competencies etc. collaborate – in short, they will have to professionalise their leadership or, more specifically, the leadership skills of those at the top of the organizational hierarchy (i.e. general managers, artistic/creative directors).
Chapter 2: Theoretical Background
One reason for the jumble of terms people within the field of leadership lies in the different theoretical positions. Basically, leadership theories aim to examine the conditions of successful leadership and thus to explain how a leader can support other members of an organisation in fulfilling their tasks. To shed more light into the dark for arts and cultural leaders, scientifically proven approaches from a continually growing number of leadership theories will be presented at a glance. It will be elaborated that the focus of these theories is either on the leader, the leadership situation or the leadership relationship. All of the selected approaches contain interesting evidence for arts and cultural organisations as to how the understanding of leadership has developed over the years and which different variables influence leadership behaviour in practice.
Chapter 3: Factors influencing leadership in art and cultural organisations
Leadership in arts and cultural organisations is influenced by numerous factors. First of all, leadership is affected by external factors such as the labour market situation, influence of sponsors and cultural policy, demographic change or employment policy measures (at this time, the Corona virus is a new external factor with a huge impact on digital leadership and remote work in the arts). Additionally, leadership behaviour and relationships are affected by the internal characteristics of arts and cultural organisations (and the people who work for these organisations). It is in this context, that we will identify such factors as the service character of institutions, the general lack of a broader understanding of HRM and its professional implementation in the organisations, the problems that arise of co-leadership, power asymmetries, personal dependencies, narcissistic personalities, lack of self-management (all typical for arts and cultural organisations) and analyse how these factors influence leadership in arts and cultural organisations.
Chapter 4: Tasks of leadership in arts and cultural organisations
Following the discussion of typical factors influencing leadership in arts and cultural institutions, we will delineate the central leadership tasks for arts and cultural managers. While there is no uniform canon in the available literature, we will analyse different statements and examples from successful leaders in the arts world in order to identify the most important tasks for this sector, such as, for example, goal setting and decision taking. We will pay particular attention in this chapter to what all this means in the new digital environment (remote/home work, zoom meetings etc.) and with respect to the specific tasks of digital leadership. We will then explain why motivating, though often mentioned in the management literature, is no leadership task. Motivation is an intrinsic value and, therefore, it is not possible to be motivated by others. Rather, it is the central task of leaders, especially in the arts (with its often difficult and challenging circumstances ), to create appropriate framework conditions in which it is possible for those led to develop their full potential (such as, for example, enough resources to achieve the goals set, efficient working structures, sufficient hard- and software, trust in the competencies of those led, support and respect, responsible use of power and hierarchy).
Chapter 5: Constitutive elements of leadership behaviour
In this chapter, we will discuss three constitutive elements of successful leadership behaviour and leadership relationships in arts and cultural organisations. First of all, we will examine the effects of leadership style and leadership principles on relationship formation. We will explain how important it is for arts and cultural organisations to focus both on people and tasks/artistic goals (instead of, as it is too often the case, just one of them) in order to achieve organisational goals in a resource-oriented way. By referring to concrete example from arts management practice, we will also explicate how individual leadership principles (which have long been of interest in anthropology and psychology for their behaviour-controlling, complexity reducing properties) can help arts managers to be a better, more authentic and reliable leader. Last but not least, we will speak about power as a very central basis for influence and successful leadership behaviour (and the very real threat of its misuse in the creative sector). After reading this chapter, readers will be able to understand that power must not only be given structurally and formally (through, for example, allocation of resources, decision making power etc.) but also be wanted by the respective leader (which often is, as we will explain, a problem for female arts managers and young leaders).
Chapter 6: Leadership techniques
Leadership instruments are used to influence individual behaviour and actions and to shape the overall framework conditions of leadership in arts and cultural organisations. Against this background, we will make a distinction between primary (direct) leadership techniques with a focus on communication and secondary (indirect) techniques with a focus on coordination. We will delineate that the first group of techniques is effective in concrete leadership situations, the arts leader actively uses the instruments and designs them to a large extent individually (e.g. informal feedback, staff meetings). However, as we will demonstrate, leadership techniques with a focus on communication remain limited in their effectiveness if they are not flanked by indirect leadership techniques with a focus on coordination. The instruments in this second category exist rather independently of specific leadership situations; they are or, rather, should be available in arts and cultural organisations in a general and largely standardized form (e.g. organisation charts, mission statements, target agreements) to reduce the amount of individual leadership. As the quality of leadership techniques in arts and cultural organisations is often rather low, we will analyse the reasons for this and discuss available options to change this.
Chapter 7: Levels of leadership success
If power in arts and cultural organisations is responsibly used, if the direct and indirect leadership techniques are coordinated and support each other, if the structural framework for self-responsible behaviour is created and if all those involved in the leadership situation make their contribution to a successful relationship, then the course is set for a positive effect of leadership. However, this effect is generally not easy to grasp. For example, it is not possible to determine the point in time at which the effect of an arts manager's influence on the behaviour of those being led should (at the latest) become apparent. With regard to the typical mentality of arts and cultural organisations we will examine further that “success” is not just relevant on the individual level of leaders (i.e. reputation of the artistic director, the general manager etc.). Rather, there are two more levels of leadership success that influence each other and need to be balanced (the arts organisation itself with its frequently hazy purpose and challenging framework conditions and the people led with their individual backgrounds, different needs, heterogenous motivations etc.).