Artists vs. engineers...is that really all there is? What if I relate to neither? I NEVER FIT IN ANYWHERE!!!
But on the reals, even if we transform this dichotomy into a spectrum, it is highly likely that any given manager will fall closer to either one end or the other. In essence, while any given manager may behave as an artist in some respects, he or she may exhibit more characteristics of an engineer and would therefore technically (#punintended) be more engineer-esque. Or I suppose some managers may perceive themselves as being 100% engineer or 100% artist and that's cool too.
Basically an artistic style of managing--the style not so subtly endorsed by Bolman and Deal--involves management that is more expressive and encouraging of creativity and interpretation. Engineering style is all about a rational-technical mind-set endorsing certainty and control. It is ironic that Bolman and Deal advocate ambiguity yet neglect to highlight many of the positives of the manager-as-engineer-lifestyle. I'm sure there is at least one self-proclaimed engineer out there who is insulted at the clear lack of respect for his or her managerial lifestyle choice. Engineering can be an art form too people!
But if I had to place myself on this spectrum, I would probably put myself closer to artist because I want to be like...Bolman and Deal. Also, though, I love ambiguity and the idea of re-framing any and everything. And I respect the individual. However, since art is only supposed to enhance and not replace engineering, I will retain my favorite aspects of the engineering manifesto. Namely control.
But before we can learn to control others, we must first learn to control ourselves. Hope this helps: