Here is a little topic of discussion for you– Does having a boss that is an arts industry insider make for a happier work environment than working for one that comes from outside the arts?
In Harvard Business Review, researchers found that having an insider for a boss made for a happier environment.
Using these three measures of supervisor competence, we found that employees are far happier when they are led by people with deep expertise in the core activity of the business. This suggests that received wisdom about what makes a good boss may need some rethinking. It’s not uncommon to hear people assert that it’s a bad idea to promote an engineer to lead other engineers, or an editor to lead other editors. A good manager doesn’t need technical expertise, this argument goes, but rather, a mix of qualities like charisma, organizational skills, and emotional intelligence. Those qualities do matter, but what our research suggests is that the oft-overlooked quality of having technical expertise also matters enormously.
When we look closely at the data, a striking pattern emerges. The benefit of having a highly competent boss is easily the largest positive influence on a typical worker’s level of job satisfaction. Even we were surprised by the size of the measured effect. For instance, among American workers, having a technically competent boss is considerably more important for employee job satisfaction than their salary (even when pay is really high).
Moreover, we saw that when employees stayed in the same job but got a new boss, if the new boss was technically competent, the employees’ job satisfaction subsequently rose.
I am sure we can all think of personal experiences that reinforce or disprove these findings.
Something I was wondering as I read this article was what category to use when define deep expertise for a non-profit arts executive. Is it “arts” or “non-profit”? I have noticed that if they didn’t come up through the ranks in an arts field, non-profit arts executive directors and presidents often seem to come from the healthcare field.
Since the job description of non-profit CEOs seems to focus so much on fund raising these days, the non-profit category is probably the defining characteristic for the financial health of the organization, but what impact, if any, does that have on work satisfaction in the organization? (Obviously, I mean when the leader comes from any non-arts non-profit. I am not picking on healthcare.)
We often hear rumblings about the arts being too insular and needing outside perspectives. Is it really the case that arts people don’t have the capacity to innovate in their approach or is it the case of received wisdom akin to engineers not leading other engineers?