The Art of Leadership Unit 2: Part A

What is leadership and what makes a good leader? 

"A good leader inspires people to have confidence in the leader, a great leader inspires people to have confidence in themselves." Eleanor Roosevelt.  

The Art of Leadership  Unit 2: Part A

The Oxford English Dictionary defines leadership as ‘The action of leading a group or an organization.’  According to a recent study by King's College London, however, which looked at leadership in the Arts, it said: “Leaders need to be self aware, with the humility to admit their mistakes and be true to themselves. Leaders need to be flexible in dealing with change, able to handle uncertainty and alter course if things are not working.”  The study also emphasized the need for leaders to be responsible and work in a more sustainable way.

(   Transforming leadership in the arts, museums and libraries.)

Here are a few leadership quotes from famous people:

  • “A leader is like a shepherd. He stays behind the flock, letting the most nimble go out ahead, whereupon the others follow, not realizing that all along they are being directed from behind.”   Nelson Mandela

  • “A good leader inspires people to have confidence in the leader, a great leader inspires people to have confidence in themselves.” Eleanor Roosevelt

  • “The art of communication is the language of leadership.”  James Humes

I particularly like the quote by former US presidential speech writer, James Humes and have decided this is something I will look to develop as part of my Arts Challenge.

1. What qualities do you think a good leader needs to have?

I think a leader needs to:

  • be a good listener
  • speak clearly
  • work well as part of a team
  • explain the task so everyone understands
  • be a good communicator
  • be positive 
  • be a good organiser
  • collaboration
  • skills required to complete the task

2.  What leadership skills would you like to develop in your arts leadership project?
I would like to develop my communication skills and in particular speaking in public. I will also try to improve my organization skills by having a detailed plan and then following my plan. I would like to develop these skills because I hate speaking in public and I get very nervous, but I believe it is a skill which I am going to need as I get older, and I am having to do it more often at school as well.  

Next year I will start my GSCE’s, and everyone I have spoken to has said being organized is the most important thing you can do to help yourself from day 1. Currently I tend to go with the flow but would like to look at techniques to help me plan and organize my time and work more effectively.  By choosing this activity it will give me an opportunity to practice speaking in public and try different ways of organizing my time and planning and leading an activity.

3.  Describe your arts leadership project.  What are you going to do?  What will the overall aims and outcomes be?
The aim of my leadership project is to let people know how harmful glitter and tinsel is to the environment and how they can make their own decorations using recycled wood and pinecones and no glitter or toxic materials.
I will show a group of school friends how they can make eco-friendly Christmas decorations.  
I will get permission from school to carry out the activity on a Sunday afternoon.
I will collect some of the materials and ask school if they can provide paints, table coverings and a room with good light, and enough tables and chairs for everyone.
I will be demonstrating how to make a mini Christmas tree from a pinecone and a tree decoration using natural materials.

I will write a detailed plan and then follow it.

4.  What resources will you need?  Are there any health and safety considerations?
I will need:
 - a room with tables and chairs 
 - paint - red, green, white, brown, black (all colour which appear naturally)
 - paintbrushes
 - water jars
 - lots of small pinecones
 - slices of wood
 - mini pots (or mini jam jars to stand the pinecones in)
 - written instructions for each table with pictures
 - post it notes so people can leave a comment after the activity
 - a photographer to record the event
 - a sign up poster so I know how many people are coming
 - newspaper to cover tables
 - marker pen to write names on the bottom of the pots so people can collect once they are dry 

Health and Safefty Considerations

Things I have considered:

Noise / music:

I will play Christmas music in the background but fairly quietly.  I will also ask teacher (Mr G) to be in the room with me so if things do get too noisy, I can ask for help to get people to be quieter.

Potentially hazardous material:  

As an eco-activity I am using mainly natural things.  Pinecones, ceramic pots and slices of wood with string.  I did think about using holly but this would involve going out and cutting it and it can be quite spikey, so I have decided not to do this.  I also considered making popcorn garlands but decided too much would get eaten and it could get very messy.  As someone with multiple food allergies I also try to avoid using food in craft activities just to make doubly sure and keep the risk to an absolute minimum.  Any paints and glue will be water based and fully washable.

Safe use of electrical equipment:

The only electrical equipment I will be using is for Christmas music.  Participants will not be able to touch - I will ask a helper to set up.

Emergency exists:

All emergency exists are well signposted.  The activity is taking place on the ground floor and if necessary, people could always climb out the window.  I will include a safety fire brief at the start of my presentation.

Safety of children:

There will be a teacher on hand throughout the activity and there is a first aid room in the building with a matron on duty.

5.  What will your leadership role be?  What will you be responsible for doing?
I will write a detailed plan and organise the event; collect the materials; set up the activity; lead the activity; tidy up afterwards and get feedback and reflect on what went well and what didn't.  I will write a speech to ensure I cover all the safety points and give clear instructions for the activity.  This will also mean I am clear, don't waffle and included everything I need to. It will also give me something to hold while speaking.

6.  How will this help you develop your leadership skills?
I will develop my written and verbal communications skills by advertising the event; explaining the problem with glitter and why we aren't using it and giving people instructions on how to make the decorations.  I will also practice what I am going to say as I am unsure with speaking in public.

7.  Will you be working with other people?  What will they be doing?  How does your role relate to the roles of others?
Yes.  I will have 4 helpers. 1 adult will take photos and the other 3 friends will help me set up and clear away. I have also asked a teacher (Mr G)  if he will introduce the event and be around just in case there are any problems.
Header Image Credit: Getty

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Evie Wildish

Evie Wildish

I've completed my Bronze and Silver Awards and am now working towards my Gold. I enjoy art, writing, fashion and would like to become a designer in the future.

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