3 particular traits that make every leader an artist

What do you think seeing a dancer on the stage? What do you think looking at an oratorical speaker? Have you ever wondered why they draw your attention?

They are both charming for sure, but there must be more to distinguish exceptional leaders and great artists from their ordinary counterparts. The most successful artists are those that establish the strongest emotional bond with their audience, just like the most successful leaders are those that most effectively communicate their message and motivate their co-workers to achievements instead of impotent actions. Here are 3 fundamental traits that we can easily relate these two definitions:

1 Power of attention

Like a dancer when she claims her hot spot on the stage, a leader always appear prominently wherever they are. That presence is hard to describe. You know when someone is present, and you know when someone is not, but it can be difficult to describe exactly what characteristic a person have to possess to show up with the presence of a leader.

Artists have styles like leaders have skills. The so-called ”Intangible Aura of Leadership” is different for everyone and it can be learnt. I’ve always admired Richard Branson for his humorous, humble sharing shown in every blog posts and interviews. Steve Jobs chose to embody his charisma and confidence to lead and he’s successful. Leaders and artists all have their strengths and stand out in unique ways.

2 Intentions to actions

Communication is today’s most important skillThe fundamental purpose of art and leadership is to communicate a message and motivate the viewer/ audience to do something. 

With a good piece of design, the designer’s exact message is understood by the viewer. If a design communicates a message other than the one it’s intended to be, and the viewers go and do something based on that other message, then it has not met its requirement. If a leader cannot steer his team to one single direction, he fails to lead. To succeed as an artist, a leader must orchestrate his team’s activities to achieve a goal together.

3. Focused observation

I still remember an incident when I started my first job three years ago. My manager, Annie, was going on vacation, she needed to set up the auto reply message for her email account and the IT technician somehow could not figure out how to do. I stepped in, solved it after 5 minutes. The story would have ended if she did not ask me to help booking the flight tickets. I was so confident with this easy task, buying all her tickets without insurances like I usually did when travelling. After the itineraries were settled, she tapped my shoulder and explained to me she would have done differently and I should learn to slow down and observe the surroundings (in this case was her decision).

Annie and I kept in contact after I quit my job for studying, but she had proven to me a point that instructional leadership can grow through focused observation. I wouldn’t have learnt any thing if not for her acceptance of my mistakes and her patience in advising me to improve in the future. The way people learn has a major impact on their job effectiveness. The best way to learn music is listening to it. The best way to improve leadership is observing carefully and listening actively.

And you, what do you think about this connection?