History Museum Leadership TodayPosted: December 9, 2013
The dominant view of leadership is that the leader has the vision and the rest is a sales problem. I think that notion of leadership is bankrupt.
– Ronald Heifetz, Professor of Public Leadership, Kennedy School, Harvard University
At the core of every museum is leadership. No matter an institution’s age, size, location, or discipline, its focus, tenor, and tone come from its leadership. Leadership frames intangible values and underpins its tangible assets. Leadership comes in many guises—proactive, reactive, or benign, it can drive an institution forward or bind it to the past; it can be a lightning rod for change or preserve stasis. It can move mountains or set a museum back a decade. Good, bad or indifferent, leadership drives everything, yet in theory and practice it receives little direct attention or support for its development. Largely an untapped resource, it is a potent antidote to the malaise afflicting the museum field as a whole and history museums in particular.