As some of you know, my wife, Nina, and I live in Ashland, Ore., primarily because it is the home of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. It is one of, if not the, largest repertory companies in the U.S., performing 11 plays in a season, with a company of 500 employees.
Bill Rauch, the artistic director, was being interviewed at a recent OSF event. He was asked how he worked with guest directors to make sure that his own vision for the season was followed. In other words, how can Bill, as artistic director, influence a fellow artist without alienating him or her?
Bill said two things that struck me as useful insights for anyone managing others.
-Ask questions to get your perspective across. Be inquiring and the other person will be more likely to be engaged in the dialogue.
-Protect the brand, your overall vision, while providing latitude. The reason you work with others is to get the benefit of their expertise and to get more done than you could have on your own. To keep the others engaged you need to allow them some controlled ability to express their vision--as long as it fits with yours.
Very simple and not too hard to pull off, if you truly respect those you work with.
Having a hard time delegating? Keep these principles in mind and see what happens.