What can art teach us about leadership? It’s not a common source for information, but in Coaching and NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) it has brought up abstract and innovative points of view to boost mental skills for daily life that perfectly work for any project manager.
Michelangelo’s masterpiece, David, has astonished the world since 1504, becoming a symbol of the Renaissance.
Five hundred years ago Michelangelo was asked how he sculpted such a perfect human body with its symmetry and detail. He replied that he had not made David, it was already there; all he did was simply remove what was left over from a large chunk of marble.
So what are these artworks relationship to leadership? It turns out that we are also masterpieces, all we need to do is remove what is stopping us from becoming our brighter selves.
Michelangelo used several tools to fulfill his vision of David. Each leader has his or her own vision to fulfill as well, but with the proper set of tools this task can be made easier and healthier, and it can strengthen your relationship with a team. With these tools goals can be pursued with passion and confidence.
4 tools that will help you become a better leader
- Identifying the type of leader you are
- Accept help
1. FEEDBACK, TO REMOVE WHAT DOESN’T WORK
Feedback allows for support from others, by letting them know what we think doesn’t work towards their productivity, understanding that their individuality is neither good nor wrong; rather it can either be useful or it can prevent them from being brighter.
As humans we are not accustomed to being told our flaws and mistakes, so voicing our feedback can help our teammates to change. It might catch them off guard, so instead of becoming aware of needed change, they start building up a wall to protect themselves.
Offering to give feedback can be really helpful, this way they can prepare themselves mentally to receive it. For this reason it is better to be perceived as a leader that provides guidance than a boss that gives orders.
2. KNOWING WHAT TYPE OF LEADERSHIP ROLE FITS YOU THE BESTMichelangelo had a vision which he started working upon, and for each part of David, he accommodated himself in order to achieve perfection. Beyond knowing the definition of leader, it’s important to identify the complexities that need to be covered or supported in any project through leadership. Some of these dimensions are:
- Legal aspects
- Many more
These dimensions provide a vision that can be an useful guide for those who wish to succeed, because it creates a path that allows people to see which are their strengths and weaknesses.
There are 4 different types of leadership that can help you know yourself better. It’s important to recognize the aspects of each one of them in ourselves, rather than label one’s self with a specific one:
- Analytic: they overthink and are prone to be introverted since they have a conversation going on in their minds. They are good at taking decisions but require vast amounts of information so they can feel sure about them.
- Controller: they like to manage everything and are moved by results; fulfilling their objectives makes them measure everything constantly, even people. They desire extraordinary results, and are characterized by being meticulous and methodical.
- Facilitator: they are open so people can ask for their opinions and help. They usually have a caring personality that puts others first, looks for reconciliation when needed, and is understanding of others. They do not always reach their goals, but maintain strong relationships with those around them.
- Promoter: they are the life of the party, empathetic with everyone, good at inspiring, decisive and risk a lot. They need to balance their attitude because their will to constantly start new things stops them from finishing previous goals.
A good leader is one who knows how to adapt to any situation that arises. It is important that they’re able to connect with different types of people so they work together towards a shared goal.
As a project manager, delegating assignments to teammates, merging them all together, and making them work is not as easy as it sounds. Still you can reach your goals. But having an impact on people's lives beyond measurable concepts and imagination is definitely an arduous responsibility.
It took four years for Michelangelo to finish the David and he could never have imagined the impact that his artwork would have on history; each detail mattered for the recognition it acquired. There is a clear passion among artists that engages with their projects even through the toughest of times.
When things do not go as planned, those moments are filled with uncertainty and anxiety which is when leadership is needed most. There is an incorrect notion about being a leader: that he or she must deal with other people’s responsibilities. Each of us has a lower or higher emotional intelligence, but there are boundaries for everyone.
Empathy is recognizing another person's emotions, but one must not try to change them. Instead it is important to take responsible action by:
- Bringing light to the situation
- Accepting reality and taking action
- Non judgement of other people’s reaction
- Recognizing other person's emotions
- Helping them to calm down
We are not taught to deal with people's emotions, so today you can start practicing S.T.O.P.:
- Take a breath
Observing is a practice that is worked on through meditation. It means to not judge any of what’s going and to not waste energy on mental interpretations of the surroundings. It means to fix what can be fixed, accept can’t be changed, and search for a bright side to continue the path.
4. ACCEPTING HELP
Imagine what Michelangelo could have done with sophisticated tools. He was able to sculpt David by hand, sign of the incredible talent that he possessed.
Thankfully, nowadays there are many ways to be more productive, and it does not take you to be a leader to want to reach further; being open to any tool that allows you to do so is a smart strategy.
Be dynamic towards the reception of new ideas, strategies, feedbacks, processes and anything that helps you break through your mental comfort zone.
Being a good leader for a project is a task worth doing. It will improve your team’s relationship and will allow you to face new situations and increase your self confidence to share that light with others. This is a continuous task. It is important to remember that the destination is not the only thing that matters, but the way you get there is where magic happens.