We hear a lot of talk about the coming leadership transition in the arts. Baby Boomers are nearing retirement age, and Gen X’ers and Millennials are itching to take on increased responsibility. Both for the good of the arts as a whole and for the individuals involved, we need to make sure that, when the time comes, the people getting behind the wheel will have had some experience riding shotgun first. Hence our conversations have frequently centered on professional development, training, networking, and mentorship as strategies to better prepare our young(er) drivers.
It’s important to recognize, though, that the conversation isn’t—or shouldn’t be, at any rate—solely about passing the keys from one generation to the next. That’s something that has been happening since time immemorial, and is part of the normal cycle of nature and humanity. What’s so newsworthy about that, really? Naturally, there are lessons about leadership to be handed down from the elders to the newbies – and our conversations on ArtsBlog have boasted some elders’ generous attempts to do just that. Every so-called “emerging leader” who knows what he or she is talking about acknowledges that there is much to learn from those who came before, and that we would be foolish to pretend that we already have the answers. After all, the calls for mentorship are coming more from the younger generations than it is from the elders. Read the rest of this entry »