The Leader as Artist

I’m reading a book called Reframing Organizations: Artistry, Choice, and Leadership for one of my graduate courses, and was really struck by a paragraph that I thought was worth sharing. The authors, Lee G. Bolman and Terrence E. Deal, were discussing the lack of imagination that is all too common in leaders and managers, and how important imaginative thinking is in order to tackle organizational challenges.  I agree wholeheartedly with them.

“Artistry is neither exact nor precise.  Artists interpret experience and express it in forms that can be felt, understood, and appreciated by others. Art embraces emotion, subtlety, ambiguity.  An artist reframes the world so others can see new possibilities.  Modern organizations often rely too much on engineering and too little on art in searching for attributes such as quality, commitment, and creativity.  Art is not a replacement for engineering but an enhancement.  Artistic leaders and managers help us see beyond today’s reality to new forms that release untapped individual energies and improve collective performance.  The leader as artist relies on images as well as memos, poetry as well as policy, reflection as well as command, and reframing as well as refitting.”

From Reframing Organizations: Artistry, Choice, and Leadership (Bolman & Deal, 2003)

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One Response to The Leader as Artist

  1. jeremy says:

    Great. I love this.

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