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Tackling poor leadership skills in the creative industries

16 February 2012

“The UK has the creative talent required for us to be genuine world-beaters. What we do not have is enough of the right business men and women to back that talent.”
This quote, from Patrick McKenna, the chief executive of media investment firm Ingenious Media, is taken from last month’s Creative Industries Council report. Compiled by the Council’s Skillset Skills Group, it puts forward a number of useful proposals to boost the growth and competitiveness of the UK’s creative industries.
As McKenna’s quote suggests, one of the key problems that the report highlights is how the creative industries score relatively poorly at leadership and management skills.
The report concludes that the majority of jobs in the creative industries are generated by a relatively small number of rapidly growing firms. It says that it is “vital that we recognise and stimulate a new generation of creative business entrepreneurs and ensure that they are equipped with the “hard” and “soft” leadership skills, management expertise and strategic insight to drive growth.”
The report points out that leadership is not a discipline which is generally studied or taught in the UK, outside MBA programmes. “Much more needs to be done to provide the higher-level business skills necessary for growth: research repeatedly indicates that this is major problem, with the CBI reporting that, ‘the lack of entrepreneurial know-how is a serious skills gap within the industry.’”
The fragmented structure of much of the creative industries and the fact that many firms are small has indeed led to a consistent underinvestment in skills.
This is particularly true for “softer” leadership skills. The creative industries are full of talented and driven individuals who have a tendency to believe that people skills are soft and fluffy, and investment in them a waste of money.
So it’s good to see Skillset taking a lead on this. Creative leadership and management is one of their priorities - hence their backing for a new Inspirational Leadership Programme.
Run by regular Televisual contributor and Adsum Consulting director Janet Evans - who has written eloquently on topics such as managing difficult talent, bullying in TV and how to manage a creative team - the Inspirational Leadership Programme runs over four days between April and July and is aimed at those in management positions or aspiring to leadership positions. 
The programme is largely funded by the Skillset TV Freelance Fund, meaning that the cost of the course is £500 to participants - which looks very good value compared to most training courses.
It aims to train up the next generation of leaders in how to get the best from people inside and outside their business, how to create high performing teams, and how to develop their own authentic leadership style.
You can find full details here:

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