March 22


3 Leadership Tools for Artists

By Patrick Turner-lee

March 22, 2019

Leading oneself in a healthy way

Leadership can conjure up an idea that we are lead by, or lead someone else.

I am an artist and trying to develop my practice. Already I am getting an insight into many things. Mindset is a recurring theme.

Let’s look at some quotes from Joe D Batten. He talks about the many factors that help to make a great leader in business. These qualities are useful and can help us develop meaningful relationships.

It is our mind that really leads the way in whatever we are doing and we can spend hours making a great plan, only to lose our way.

When you take the first step with any endeavour there may well be a period where you are full of energy and ability to make progress really quickly. As you go deeper into the tasks this can change.

So let’s look at some leadership tools. The tools are reflecting on truths on a level that we may not on a general basis. Many of these examples investigate what it takes to lead a team. Besides the different aspects of our personality are like a team.

The references are from Tough-Minded Leadership written in 1963

1.Openness and emotional vulnerability.

“Leaders let other people in and let themselves out. “


For me to really be able to make art, I find it far better to be open and vulnerable. Therefore, as an artist that makes progressive work, there is a need to manifest openness and vulnerability. Most importantly, this is becoming increasingly relevant in my relationships with the people around me. Easier said than done.

Valuing the person in front of you is no easy task. Often I want to curtail the engagement and get back to work. If we let people in are we listening?

“They believe that the absence of defensiveness is an indication of strength and management maturity.”


Defending my own castle can become a real inhibitor. Feeling uncomfortable in groups of people or even in the company of just one is a frequent issue. This is a use full experience and allows me to get to know myself better. There doesn’t need to be a solution, just some insight.

Therefore the best action I can take is to work consistently at my painting. By doing this I develop an assurance and resilience needed to deal with criticism in a healthy and proactive way.

My first emotional response is often defensive. At first, it was so painful that it almost persuaded me to give up. I just don’t like feeling defensive. Does anyone? Probably not.

I can understand why many creative makers prefer not to be public. Besides, the benefit of connecting with others, in the long run, is the cultivation of a richer sense of self. Also, as my life expands I can see it is in direct relation to my efforts to connect and create value for others.

Defensiveness is counter productive

“An undue concern for safety and comfort reverses growth and creates apathy.”


The feelings of defensiveness are very revealing. What are we defending? Perhaps we have moved out of a comfort zone?

Another way of looking at this is to imagine an obstacle like a wall and the other side of the wall to be the place we want to be. Why defend the wall when we could show people around instead


“Leaders reach out to people; they do not simply sit back and wait. “


Relationships and the way we take responsibility for them will have an impact on our art practice. Hence, we can take an active approach to lead the way and build connections with those around us. Furthermore, this can enhance our creative life.

Our heart or mindful self becomes better equipped as we interact and share our experience. Also, if you get into the habit of sharing your story, quite quickly it feels as if everyone must know it by now. Consequently, the power of our story grows when we choose to revisit in on a regular basis. Also, Our story enables us to understand the ebbs and flows of life.

“They demonstrate caring and concern. Their voices and manners project relaxation and positive concern.”


What is caring and concern? Do we care for ourselves?

These quotes are linked to running a team of people as a leader. So the perspective of caring concern is primarily looking at the people on your team. It could be helpful to think of all the different aspects of your own life and consider it as a team. Sometimes I am full of energy and get locked into to creating a painting.

I feel invincible and forget my minor pains and distractions. I understand this as Masculine energy. Then when I have finished my aches and pains can return and my energy levels shift.

As a result, becoming more aware of this and caring about myself is important if I want to sustain a flow of productive creative work.


“Leaders meet commitments, keep their word, and can be relied upon. They expect the same from others.”


We can take these point on internally as a goal or target for our own practice. Working on our own on any project can be daunting and difficult to continue until it is completed. Keeping a track and becoming accountable to yourself takes time. Above all the caring and concern for oneself in this process can be challenging

In our engagement with others, commitment is so important, isn’t it?

If you don’t show up then you can’t be relied on. When we build strong trusting relationships a foundation for future development is possible.

Just one missed appointment or deadline can destroy this trust in a stroke. We expect the same from others after all don’t we.

So these points unearth areas of weakness for me. Defensiveness and caring are particular themes that recur in my life.

It is also useful to praise the areas where you have strengths and acknowledge and develop our weaknesses. We can learn from those who turn up on time and deliver on their promises.

What is their approach? Do they have any tips?

I will be covering some more points in the next few articles that I hope are helpful to you in your journey.


Patrick Turner-lee

About the author

Reveal the Artist within Inspire yourself and then others Sustain a consistent creative life Connect with those around you

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