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Top Effective Leadership Styles For Artist Managers

As with other managerial positions, there is no one ‘right’ way to be an effective artist manager. Here we break down some of the most effective leadership styles for artist managers to help you in deciding which one works best for you.

Guest post by Randi Zimmerman of the Symphonic Blog

There are many different types of management styles that artist managers use while working with their clients. Some managers are strict, some are more laid back, and others like to combine a bit of both. But which management styles are the most effective? In this post, we’ll break down a couple different management styles out there to help you decide what’s right for you.

Most Effective Leadership Styles for Artist Managers


  • Someone who works with a visionary management style is someone who is very charismatic, motivational, supportive, and inspirational.
  • Managers who utilize this style provide a, “Come with me on this amazing journey…” type of vibe to their clients.
  • They focus on motivational connections and offer a less strict hand in the day-to-day management process.

A big benefit of this style is that it inspires artists to work towards their goals and aspirations with confidence. It can help your client feel more positively about their efforts and more committed to doing their part. When it’s time to implement a new vision or a bold project, this method works wonders. However, this method tends to work better with experienced clients, as newer artists may need more direct guidance.


A coaching management style is just like it sounds. It uncovers your client’s strengths and weaknesses by combining their long-term, professional objectives with their personal ones. Just like a coach, this type of manager prioritizes personal development. This method is one of the lesser-used ones because it requires more one-on-one mentorship, which can be incredibly time-consuming. However, if you have the industry experience and the time, this management style is incredibly constructive and yields great results.

  • If you’re managing someone who is reluctant to more personal introspection, this management style may not work for them. Your client must be open-minded and eager to adapt to change and connect with you on a personal level.


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“Laissez-faire” is French for “let do”, a phrase that this management style fully embodies. This laid back style encourages artists to do as they please. It encourages innovative and creative ideas and lets the artist take control.

  • With this method, the manager would only step in when things go awry, when small details need ironing out, or when additional assistance is requested.
  • This style only really works with mature, self-motivated artists.
  • Artists who are new to the game or are not familiar with managing their own image may need a firmer approach.


A democratic management style is all about consensus. This style is based on the philosophy that two heads are better than one and that everyone deserves to have a say.

  • The artist gets to actively participate in the decision-making process, which helps managers be more realistic in terms of what can be achieved and what can’t.
  • Managers get access to more diverse, creative ideas that they wouldn’t have come up with alone.

This management style also helps them gauge the artist’s level of spirit and personal concerns, so managers can adapt and relate to situations and be able to fix them as needed. A democratic leadership style helps the artist feel valued and heard. By asking for their input, you’re effectively encouraging them to think for themselves and to take on more responsibility for major decisions and their outcomes.


Authoritative management is on the other end of the spectrum when it comes to the other styles we’ve mentioned in this post so far. It’s strict, the manager dictates exactly what needs to be done, when and how, with little to no input from the artist. It seems harsh, but under very specific circumstances, it can be a very necessary, temporary approach. The trick is using it for the right reasons at the right time. The clearest time to use an authoritative management style is in a state of crisis.

  • For example, if the artist you work with is controversial or has maybe just gotten some really bad press, utilizing this management style gives you complete control of the situation.

For this approach to be successful, however, your clients need to fully trust that you have their best interests at heart. Building this trust takes time and patience, so we recommend using this management style only when completely necessary.

In Conclusion…

The key to being a great manager lies within knowing when to use each of these approaches with which clients. Some management styles suit certain situations better than others, so it’s your job to be able to adapt to meet your clients needs. But with these skills under your belt, you’ll be ready for anything.

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