The role of the Artist
This lecture is provided by Edgar Schein at the Academy of Managemet in 2012.
The timeless insights of his talk, is still an important topic for present leadership.
Why should every Leader embrace the artist within?
- Artists see more, hear more, experiment more, what is within us and around us.
- Schein is telling a story where his granddaughter had an accident and they had to go the hospital. The next day he told the story to good friend, Ellen Langer. She asked after hearing the troublesome story: “What else was happening?” Then Schein realised that despite the accident they had a very good day. The conclusion he drew from this event and this brilliant question: Never identify yourself with the immediate feeling.
- Art should provoke, shock and inspire.
- Art expands us because it forces us to do things that we are incompetent of.
- Art forces us to look at our values. The values in respond to something e.g. a movie.
Values don’t pop up just like that. Here art and ethics intertwined. They can lead to an ideal conversation. We express our values in what we do and in what we don’t do. What we don’t do you can see in the context of a broader kind of mindfulness.
- Leaders can learn of lot of the way artist are trained and how they work. E.g. how artist work with the colour wheel, what goes with what, what is complementary, the amount of work it costs to create something.
- An artist is helping us to get in contact with our creative self that is very often not the obvious part of our self.
- Art is all about presence!! It works when you truly know why you are there. (Schein tells us about a conversation he had with a famous actor. This actor told him that the only good performances are the one the actor really wanted to be there. Really wanted to perform in the role. So it is important to be mindful here. If you don’t now yourself why you are there, you cannot teach other people.
- Managers like structure. Chaos in uncomfortable. And it is going to get worse. Teaching is living with the complexity and develop more empathy with this anxiety helps them. The craft here is to have empathy and see that anxiety is a defence routine. Here ethics and craft connect. E.g. from the stories of literature. Only by investing in the artistry of humanism…