Why is Museum Hack Talking About Leadership?

Carly Syms - Team Lead for Marketing & VIP Customer Service

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What do an ancient Egyptian pharaoh, a Chinese pirate, and an English queen have to do with leadership? Funnily enough, quite a lot. If you are a modern leader or a new leader striving for greatness, join us for Leadership Bootcamp and find out how history can help you refine your skills!

What is Leadership Bootcamp? At Museum Hack, we believe that honing your own individual leadership styles, improving self-awareness, and cultivating critical leadership skills are the keys to making great leaders. That’s why we crafted Leadership Bootcamp, a one-day intensive workshop focused on leadership training inspired by the Museum Hack methodologies of persuasion and challenging the system. We take inspiration from old masters and show you how we actively disrupt a museum experience to inspire you to disrupt your own.

To delve deeper into the basics of our leadership training and help you get to know the workshop, we sat down with Kate Downey, our Creative Lead and Project Champion, who has been working on Leadership Bootcamp from the start. Keep reading to get a glimpse into the birth of Leadership Bootcamp, the highlights of the most recent workshop, and how a training session like this can help transform your leaders.

Kate leading a workshop.
Kate leading a workshop.

MH: How was the concept of Leadership Bootcamp created?

Kate: We’d been doing so many Storytelling Workshops for corporate teams that wanted their sales teams or marketing teams to reimagine the image of their own products and organizations for outsiders. We realized that the skills we’d learned through guiding groups through a complicated organization like the Met and presenting the relevant information to them was incredibly useful in the corporate world as well! But it’s hard to gather everyone together all at once for training. By holding these sessions in the museum, where we can get a group of peers together, like we’ve done for museum professionals, we figured we could bring this training to many more people over time.

MH: How does Leadership Bootcamp work?

Kate: Companies send us managers or people who are looking to improve their leadership skills. It’s a diverse group from lots of different sectors, about 12-15 people. As a group, we spend the entire eight-hour day in the Museum with a team of Museum Hack guides.

They begin the day with a one-hour Museum Hack tour themed on great leaders through history. Through this tour, each participant is identified with a leadership style that corresponds to one of the great leaders from history (they’ve taken a quiz before attending the workshop to determine which style they are). The tour include games, photos, and competitive activities, true to Museum Hack form. After the tour, we break down every element of the tour and how it was designed to be relevant, effective, and entertaining.

We lead participants through a series of workshops for the rest of the day, anchored by our 5 Elements of a Hack Storytelling Workshop – a structured system for quickly building engaging, relevant interactions. Throughout, we pause to debrief and identify the takeaways and practical application of all the concepts and activities.

MH: What are some highlights from the first Leadership Bootcamp?

Kate: I had a high level executive ask me to come coach her so she could “just be like you.” I loved hearing from these managers the specific ways they could incorporate these skills immediately into their work, by using the 5 Elements to create a presentation, using language in a different way to get people’s attention in an email or during a meeting, etc.

MH: What did you learn from the first Leadership Bootcamp?

Kate: That the skills people use to lead groups, communicate information, and create experiences for their staff are, at the core, identical across all fields. It’s the human side of business, and if you can identify the best way to communicate information and create experiences, the rest of the work gets done in a much different way.

Also that being aware of your own strengths, weaknesses and styles as a leader is super important.

MH: How do you think great leadership affects the workplace, staff, environment, productivity?

Kate: When a leader is both self-aware, and aware of the people around them, they can create a supportive, positive and authentic environment to get the best, most exciting work done. If they can inspire, engage and access their team’s personal connection to the work, they’ll unlock some powerhouses that can’t be stopped!

MH: How did you put together ideas for Leadership Bootcamp?

Kate: Last year I wrote a tour called Badass Bitches of the Met – a tour based on the work of the Guerrilla Girls, revealing the under-representation of female artists in the Museum, and celebrating the stories of amazing women through the art. When I was first putting together the Leadership Workshop, I kept running into frustrating statistics about gender disparity in corporate leadership. I decided to infuse some of the Badass Bitches activism into the Workshop, hacking the corporate leadership structure just like we hack the Museum. The workshop starts with a 45 minute tour of the Museum, visiting art related to kick-ass leaders throughout history (who just happen to be women). Each person in the workshop has taken a quiz that matches them as 1 of 4 leadership types – as we visit each leader from history, we reveal which leader each attendee matches with. They get a personal connection to an awesome female leader from history, along with a breakdown of what their leadership type means, and what their strengths are.

Join us to upgrade your leadership skills! Check out this Leadership Bootcamp page for details, send us an email at [email protected], or give us a call at 1-800-210-9676 for more information.

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