Andrew Taylor made an interesting video/post about dominant arts management styles on his blog recently. I am always wary about personality type tests and categorizations, particularly because so many are based, developed and administered using questionable methodology. I do think they can be useful as a tool for self-reflection and consideration if they are subsequently discarded and not used to define oneself.
In this particular case, Taylor is applying Ichak Adizes’ PAEI management framework to arts managers. PAEI stands for Producing, Administrating, Entrepreneuring, and Integrating. Taylor is careful to note that this frame:
“…is not to suggest there’s just four kinds of people in the world or the working world. The purpose is to suggest that each of us brings a dominant concern to the work; a dominant way of paying attention; and a dominant understanding of what it means to be productive in the workplace.”
Because everyone employs a mix from each of these areas, to get a sense of what your dominant approach is, Taylor says you might look at how you react when you are under stress and things around you are going poorly. Also, if there are things other people do in a work environment that drive you nuts, they may be operating in a mode opposite to your dominant approach. He gives the following examples of how each of these styles might manifest in practice:
Do you double down and get the work done that’s in front of you? Are you a producing energy?
Do you pause and think about what’s the better system to manage this process? Rather than getting it done now, let’s get it done right? Making you an administrating energy?
Do you focus on a distant future and say, Well, maybe what is in front of me now is really not the useful thing. Maybe there’s something bold and new and different I should be thinking about?
Or is your impulse to check in with others and your team and see how they’re doing and what they’re doing and how they’re finding focus in their own energy in this moment?
Taylor says that the extreme of each of these can be very damaging for an organization: The Lone Wolf Producer that moves forward with the work without concern for whether it serves the needs of the organization; The Administrating Bureaucrat that focuses on things being done according to the rules and best practices, halting progress; the Arsonist Entrepreneur who consistently burns everything down in order to create something new in the ashes; the Super Following Integrator who focuses on serving whatever needs the group expresses today.
I am skipping over quite a bit here, but the video and accompanying transcript are really relatively short so if your interest is piqued, it is worth the time to check out his post and ponder the insights you may receive.