April 9


6 Insights to Leadership – Artist Business

By Patrick Turner-lee

April 9, 2019

6 Leadership Aspects for the Developing Artist

Continuing on a journey into Joe D Batten we now look at six more points in further detail.

I am an artist and trying to take my art practice to the next level, therefore I need to strengthen my mindset.

If you are tired of reading articles and want to see a human being I have a Youtube channel.

It is our mind that decides where we are heading. In this article, I would like again to apply leadership advice to our personal projects

So, let’s look at some more leadership tools. 

The references are from Tough-Minded Leadership written in 1963


“Leaders seek the involvement of their people in developing their goals and plans, not only because they want to use all the talents within their organization, but also because they know that people will be more committed to meeting these objectives if they have a part in determining them.

Continually looking to include all the different aspects of our own self in the development of our art practice is becoming increasingly important in building a foundation for myself. I am discovering various aspects that I could describe as distasteful.

This could be for many reasons and the crucial point is that I can no longer dismiss them. This could be the same for you. Maybe you are planning a great project, when in a particular state of mind and then look at it another day and wonder what the hell you were thinking.

What is the outcome? No more plans? Self-Sabotage in some form or other? Perhaps an addiction rises to take the place of the project?

To be able to become sustainable in our approach I am becoming aware that the need to stick to some plans and not others is really helpful. So involvement is staying with the seemingly negative feelings. Then our perspective will begin to shift.

Consequently, our plans start to employ positive wisdom based on most of the different views of our own lives. Gradually the resentful part of yourself opens up and actually begins to contribute in an effective way.

Tolerance of mistakes.

Leaders have the courage to let people make mistakes. They even encourage it! They recognize that people learn by doing and so if they do anything they are going to make mistakes. By recognizing this, they also delegate better.”


Making mistakes does actually bring out my worst and most destructive states. Even though as an artist I can easily advise anyone that there is no such thing as a mistake in a painting for instance. Always I learn something from a so-called mistake.

My weakness kicks in and I get so cross with myself when something goes wrong. In fact sometimes this is really out of proportion. It is really hard isn’t it? When you are endeavouring to make something and you use the wrong tool or paint or something breaks because of using it in the wrong way.

This is so helpful to understand that if I can lead myself in a determination to embrace and indeed enjoy making mistakes. It really helps to be able to share our struggles with others and then be pleasantly re-assured that this is normal human behaviour.


“Leaders realize values should be precision instruments that inspire, unify, and stretch. They believe that leaders who are value driven are not leaders at all; they are pushers. True leaders are value led.


Values if we take them to be our guidelines towards our overall art practice can be really helpful when we return to them. We can experience the pushing when we blindly go ahead with plans without reflecting deeply whether they are in fact based on our values.

I find this interesting in relation to making mistakes. We can create our own values and instead of constantly reflecting and perhaps striving to develop a deeper understanding, we just plough on. We lose track because our values have not been fully integrated into our long term goals.

All of these guidelines link together kind of interweaving and coming back to mindset.

Phsycological wages

“Leaders provide for a psychic as well as a real wage for their people because they recognize psychological as well as physical needs. Their focus is always on the whole person.”


Looking at this as we build an art practice is so valuable in the process of self-evaluation. Are we really valuing the work that we do? How do we price our work in relation to the amount of time and expertise that we employ in executing the work we make?

Lets think of our life and what we are worth. If we have a tendency to lack self-worth then most likely our products will be under priced. Conversely if we have an inflated view of our abilities then probably we will ask for an unreasonable amount when we engage in selling.

A lot of artists may prefer to hand over the pricing of their work to others. This is good practice, however understanding where we stand in the spectrum is important whatever we choose to do.


“Leaders constantly strive to make the complex simple. They know settling for a complex solution is settling for second best. they have the ability to deal with complexity, ambiguity, and uncertainty. they prefer the simple and tough to the complex and easy.


We can make everything we do incredibly complex if we choose to. When I make a painting there is part of me from the onset that decides that I can’t possibly do it. This is partly because I have done it before, strangely. A new project can always seem daunting. This is a good thing for many reasons.

One way that we can avoid doing a project is because we look at the complexity of the task rather than approaching it with a “let’s have a go and see” attitude. Only then can we truly evaluate whether it may be possible.

The art of painting is a wonderful example of this idea. In the process I have developed I tend to make some marks and then surprise myself and decide that yes I can do it. Only to discover a couple of sessions later that it is still really tricky. By this point I decide to continue and bolster up the courage to overcome any obstacle to completing the work.


“Leaders guard their time preciously and allot it to key areas where it will produce the greatest impact. Since there are so many stretching goals to achieve, they concentrate their time and energy on doing one thing at a time and doing first things first. They set priorities and stick to them even if it means secondary things do not get done at all.”


Another illusion is time. Our mindset can definitely influence the way we feel about time. We all have experienced each second seemingly taking a minute to pass. At the same time when we are engaged in something we love to be doing time flies past so quickly.

To endeavour to use this illusive time effectively is a source of interest for everyone. To be able to engage in activity and become more aware of our own responses is important. Then we can over a period determine when and what is the best thing to do in different states of mind.

I am getting better at this since setting myself a work routine. My immediate problem is not having a tough-minded approach. As I sit down to write a blog I can just not be able to do it. So what else can I do that we contribute to my work. It is great to listen to yourself. Many of us have been trained to follow orders no matter what. Consequently we can lead ourselves down a blind alley

I do hope you have found some of these insights helpful,


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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