I have always thought of myself as a leader; whenever I work with a group, I am always the one to step up and take charge, as well as to find ways to work together the best. However, after reading the articles on leadership and collaboration that were given in class and seeing the different kinds of collaboration undertaken by artists, I realized that there were many different ways to approach leadership and collaboration, which all depended on the relationship of the group. Through the readings and examples given in class, I was able to start creating a better leadership style and, with my group, figure out the most efficient collaboration style for us to use while creating our public art piece Rooted.
Throughout the duration of the project, it seemed to me that my group moved from collaboration type to collaboration type until we found one where we could most efficiently and effectively get the project done. The whole group almost unconsciously did this. There was never one person who pushed a certain type of collaboration. My group finally settled on a collaboration type resembling the one that I saw modeled in the film on Womanhouse. The mix of divide and conquer along with several group meetings to make sure the whole group had an idea of the big picture worked well for us. In this way, what had initially started as an introduction to different types of art informed my group’s collaboration process.
Furthermore, the types of leadership that I observed when looking at different art pieces and the articles about the types of leadership also helped the whole group to combine their different leadership skills. The emphasis placed on leadership types also led me to reflect on the way that I had done leadership in the past, and determine the areas of leadership that I needed to work on. After reading the articles that we were given, I was able to adapt my own leadership personality to fit better with a large group. I no longer took full control of the project; in contrast, all members of my group got chances to lead, and we helped fill in holes in other’s plans. (For example, if one person forgot something then another member of the group would step in and assume control over that element of the project.) While there were still some voices that were louder than others, this reflection on leadership styles made it so our project was a collaboration.
The emphasis placed on how collaboration led to art was also very helpful for me because it showed me a more concrete example of how my group could go about creating Rooted. The pieces of public art that we looked at in class, such as the Vietnam Memorial and Free Nelson Mandela, also inspired my group’s piece to look the way it did.
This project was the first step in reinventing my own leadership style into something that can be better utilized in the future. In the past, my leadership style has been a little overbearing, but with this project I noticed that the sense of being overbearing lessened, without my impact as a leader lessening as well. Also, the different types of collaboration and leadership that we learned about will also help me work with other groups who have a different relationship than my group did. The ability to adapt to different groups will be very useful in the future.
In conclusion, the different types of collaboration and leadership that we talked about in class definitely were useful in helping me find a way to collaborate the most efficiently. Furthermore, the leadership styles that we learned about also helped me start to reform my leadership style into one that is just as effective but more adaptable to group work. The ways that the class approached collaboration and art directly informed the manner in which my group and I collaborated and created our art piece Rooted.