The Art of Leadership: How Pointillism Is Key To Collaboration


(Image courtesy of The Art Institute of Chicago. Image depicts A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte 1884-86)


Recently, I was scrolling on Tik-Tok and saw a video discussing George Seurat’s A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte. This piece holds a special place in my heart as it is a part of a scene in one of my favorite movies (Ferris Bueller's Day Off) and the subject of my first A in graduate school. The assignment discussed leadership, and I thought, what better way of discussing graduate school than by letting you read the piece.



(Video courtesy of Paramount Pictures 1986 film Ferris Bueller's Day Off written by John Hughes starring Matthew Broderick and Jennifer Grey. Video link found on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RbkRmGUGSEU )



According to Braden Becker’s HubSpot blog post “The eight most common leadership styles & how to find you own,” my leadership style is strategic leadership. Strategic leaders are highly effective individuals who consider everyone’s thoughts and opinions prior to making a final decision.[1] This result was a pleasant surprise for me because I thought that I would be an autocratic leader. The autocratic leader provides direct instructions, gives explicit feedback, and respects an organization’s rules and guidelines.[2] Upon further inspection, I realized that my professional, academic and personal life aligns with a strategic leadership style.[3]



(Image courtesy of The Balance / Theresa Chiechi. Image is found on https://www.thebalancesmb.com/leadership-definition-2948275)

As a professional strategic leader, I understand that an employee’s work environment is key to their success.[4] For employees to feel that they can contribute to the overall company’s success, a strategic leader allows people with different strengths to work together to create a finalized product.[5] I recognize that they are people in my field with more time and experience in particular areas. People need to work with individual strengths rather than their collective weaknesses to get the best possible product.I have seen aspects of strategic leadership style in my academic and personal life.



(Video courtesy of Disney's 2006 film High School Musical starring Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens directed by Kenny Ortega. Video is found on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BlRvE9dKWQc)


In graduate school, I try asking other students in my ZOOM breakout rooms for their thoughts and opinions before discussing my own on any given topic. By creating a collaborative environment, students more reserved than me can freely express their views without subconsciously feeling the need to conform to group thought. In my personal life, strategic leadership allows me to see the world like George Seurat’s A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte. This piece of art is a prime example of pointillism, an art movement that uses tiny dots to create a unified picture. As a strategic leader, I can see how the dots create the big picture and how the individual dots (issues, problems, ideas) make all the difference in someone’s world.











[1] Braden Becker, “The 8 Most Common Leadership Styles & How to Find Your Own,” HubSpot Blog, February 7, 2020, https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/leadership-styles. [2] Ibid. [3] Ibid. [4] David Rooke and William R. Torbert, “Seven Transformations of Leadership,” Harvard Business Review, July 16, 2015, https://hbr.org/2005/04/seven-transformations-of-leadership. [5] Ibid.

Me on my first day of graduate school

Rachel Huss

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