Leadership is a painting by a master artist…

paintingLeadership is a painting by a master artist. It is the thought behind the brushstrokes that mirror leadership. The artist understands the vision of what they want to do with the painting though with each stroke of the brush, the artist often must reevaluate each element of the piece.

The individual colors: Individual stakeholders often understand pieces of the picture and colors as they understand their part of the organization or team they serve.  The employee understand they are an individual shade of blue and understand they contribute to their department as that shade of blue would contribute to an element within a large artistic masterpiece. If you look too close at any painting, you see the individual elements, colors, brush strokes, specks and mistakes. As with many organizations, most individuals only look within their division or department. Their understanding of the organization as a whole is limited and understanding the role of the “flower”, “lake”, “umbrella” of the painting is lost.

The master artist as a leader: It is the role of the master artist to know, understand and appreciate the colors on his pallet. He must consider what colors are complimentary, what colors will enhance the elements around it versus mute others, and how to consider all of the elements to craft a piece of art many would admire. It is further the job of the artist to help pull people back from focusing too intensely on a specific element in order to fully appreciate the beauty from the entire picture.

Human Resources or Public Relations is black and white: While considering this metaphor, it is important to consider a color like white or black that are neutral and can successfully mix with any color or add to any piece of the picture. Human resources or public relations departments are like this color. They work with, assist, and can participate with every part of the organization dependent upon the need. It is the role of the leader to know the power of these colors and to deploy them purposefully to again, enhance the painting as a whole.

Example of a painting: One of my favorite paintings is “A Sunday on La Grande Jatte” by Georges Seurat. It is hanging in the Art Institute of Chicago. The elements of this picture are so separate when you look at it closely. The picture is blurred when intensely focusing on any individual element, but when you step back from the wall, you see the individual dots blending into a piece of art with levels of detail you are blind to while looking at the lake, women, trees, children, umbrellas, etc.

Leadership is a painting by a master artist:


The work of art as a whole:



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