Report advocates ‘flatter, facilitative and more diverse leadership’ 10/10/2018

King’s College London has published ‘Changing Cultures – Transforming Leadership in arts, museums and libraries’, the third work commissioned by ACE towards its next ten year plan. It explores how leadership in the cultural sector is changing, with a move towards flatter hierarchical structures, a more facilitative approach aimed to build consensus and allow a range of staff to show leadership in particular areas. Even so, the need to take ultimate responsibility remains an important capacity for good leaders. Topics covered in the report include:

  • The characteristics needed by a leader, which are identified as problem solving, networking, collaboration, mentoring, stewardship and research.
  • The frequent need to blend social and commercial leadership and particularly develop entrepreneurial skills.
  • A detailed overview of the leadership courses available, how these help and where there are gaps. There are also statistics on the tendency of the cultural sector to offer leadership development opportunities only when a career is already relatively advanced.
  • The importance of a more systemic approach to producing more diverse leaders.
  • It offers examples from other sectors with similar challenges of ‘acute external scrutiny, constrained resources and an ambassadorial role , with case studies including NCVO’s course for charity leaders in the 2020s.
  • It explores how to be clear-sighted in evaluation and consider whether leadership development programmes are being effective.

The report captures the sense that leadership is changing, within and beyond the cultural sector. Jonathan Reekie, Director at Somerset House Trust comments “I suspect the form of leadership we’re talking about will have radically changed or may not even exist in 10 – 20 years.ACE