My name is Michelle Evans. I was born and raised in the Hunter Valley, NSW Australia and work in the area of Indigenous arts, management and leadership. I got really interested in the phenomenon of leadership when I was teaching Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists and arts managers about management in the late 2000's. What I noticed was that when the cohort I was teaching came together as a group, something was happening beyond the learning about management. There were critical conversations about our practice in the Indigenous arts, critical deconstructions about the limiting state-owned funding and exhibiting/performing structures the Indigenous arts sector was working within. The word leadership kept on coming up for the group, and for me, as we worked together.
Leadership is inherently about change. It's a way of working with people; collectively moving towards a shared vision of the future. It's about setting an agenda at a local, state, national or even international level, with like-minded people whereby we collectively imagine how we want the future to look and figure out what's getting in the way of that and what we need to do to make this vision of the future a reality. Sometimes when people hear the word leadership they think of being the boss, or managing groups, being very directive. And, although these ways of leading may suit certain organisations, they do not define the work of leadership.
Tara Grey Coste is a Leadership and Organizational Studies professor at the University of Southern Maine. Her work focuses on refining the training processes that enhance creativity in teams and on teaching business professionals techniques to enhance their leadership abilities in multi-cultural, multi-national environments.