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Guiding Your Debut as an Art World Manager: A Beginner’s Journey
Navigating the Way - A Fresh Manager's Handbook for the Art World
Career 24 Oct 2023

So, you’ve landed your first gig as a manager in the art world, and you’re eager to make a positive impact. It’s an exciting step, but it can also be a bit daunting. Fear not! This guide will help you navigate this new terrain, as you embark on the journey of managing your team effectively.

1. Listen Actively and Embrace Ideas

First things first, to be a truly exceptional manager, you need to be an exceptional listener. Your team members, especially those who are newer to the art world, may bring fresh perspectives and innovative ideas to the table. Don’t dismiss them simply because they lack experience. Encourage open communication, actively listen to their needs, concerns, and questions, and always be receptive to their ideas.

2. Prioritize Your Direct Reports

Your direct reports are your responsibility, and they look to you for guidance and support. To foster a strong working relationship, offer them your time. Establish regular one-on-one meetings to discuss their progress, challenges, and goals. Ensure these meetings fit the pace of your team and business, but above all, be present during these interactions. Your full attention will go a long way in building trust and rapport.

3. Act as a Connector & Advocate

You’re not just managing your team; you’re also a bridge between them and more senior stakeholders. Enable your junior team members to showcase their talents and ideas to higher-ups. Give them the visibility they deserve by facilitating opportunities for them to present to senior stakeholders. Ensure their hard work doesn’t go unnoticed.

4. Support Development Without Micromanaging

While it’s your responsibility to support your direct reports’ development, remember not to micromanage. Find the delicate balance between being supportive and allowing them to tackle challenges independently. Encourage their growth by providing guidance, resources, and constructive feedback, but let them take ownership of their projects and decisions.

5. Be Their Shield

In any team, things can go wrong from time to time. When they do, remember that you’re all part of the same team. Don’t throw your team members under the bus. Instead, support them in rectifying mistakes and be the bridge to senior stakeholders when necessary. By taking collective responsibility, you foster a culture of trust and camaraderie.

6. Authenticity Matters

Last but not least, always be authentic and genuine in your interactions with your team. They are not just employees; they are people with their own aspirations, worries, and dreams. Be approachable and empathetic. Show that you genuinely care about their well-being, both personally and professionally. Building these authentic connections will lead to a happier, more productive team.

Managing in the art world is a unique journey that requires a blend of leadership, empathy, and authenticity. Remember to be an active listener, prioritize your team, advocate for their development, and be their shield when needed. By following these guidelines in a casual and human tone, you’ll pave the way for a successful journey as a manager in the art world. Embrace the opportunity to nurture talent and watch your team thrive.

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