Stereotypes and skills gaps

This study from CreativeSkillSet (a skills and training organisation) is about leadership and management skills gaps among workers in the UK’s creative industries. It also talks about development needs and learning preferences among creative workers.

It’s got some interesting if not particularly ground breaking observations in it, and its sample group is dominated by participants in the TV industry.

I notice a couple of unstated underlying assumptions. Both are included in this sentence:”It was widely reported that the transition from a creative role to a leadership position [assumption 1: the two are mutually exclusive, which is something I’ve written about here] involved the development of new skills and the management of creative professionals presents different challenges to managing in other sectors [assumption 2: creatives are a special and tricky breed].”

These seem to be to be stereotypes of a creative professional. In story terms, the character’s traits. It’s a narrative structure about leadership within creative industries which starts from the point of view that it’s a problem; almost antithetical to the sort of person you find working in a creative business.

Still, I liked this bit, from a focus group participant:

“You wouldn’t say to a finance person or to a legal person, ‘actually, now, you’ve just got to go off and write a script and be creative,’ because it would be an absolute nightmare. They would all sit there for about a day, write two lines, and then throw it in the bin. But you do it the other way around. People make assumptions that because people have got this title, that somewhere along the lines someone has sat down and shown them a P&L account and explained it to them.” 

Sounds a bit like what I do!

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