The Illusion of Leadership: Directing Creativity in Business and the Arts


People need a degree of free choice for creativity and change to happen. But they must also have boundaries. At one level this is what politics and business are all about. Too much of the wrong sort of control and the system becomes bureaucratic or tyrannical, too little and it becomes arbitrary and chaotic. What we are looking for in business or in politics, is a process for directing the creativity of complex systems with a right balance between control and freedom; between clarity and mist; between fecundity and death. Managing these paradoxical forces is what artists do.

Artists know that in making a vision manifest in the real world, it will change and adapt. Paintings, books and plays are made - they are not designed and implemented. Along the way there is room for continual adaptation and openness to the continuous possibility of a better manifestation of the vision. And in the collaborative arts, there is a wealth of skills, practices and tacit knowledge for performing this complicated balancing act between getting creative innovations and staying in control of the project.


"Ibbotson explores the wider implications of applying artistic ideas in the world outside of the theatre. This is the most powerful contribution of Ibbotson's work - he affords us a new perspective upon leadership - as seen from the theatre director's chair. Ibbotson's book is a must read for anyone interested in directing creativity - from the theatre stage to the corporate arena."

Nick Nissley, Ed.D.Executive Director Leadership Development at The Banff CentreBanff, Canada


"Interesting, original and thought provoking."

Dr. Leonard Waverman Dean Haskayne School of Business


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Palgrave Macmillan