By: Pam Golden, President, GLA Communications*
In many companies, the typical path to leadership is to do outstanding work and perform well at your current job, so you are promoted to the next level. And, you succeed at that level, so you are promoted and it continues. Eventually, you are managing a team, which is exciting and challenging. But, leading is far different than doing and requires a different skillset. Critical to leadership success is learning how to motivate and guide your team to achieve the best results.
AmyK Hutchens, a respected business strategist and dynamic speaker, kicked off Day 2 of the 2017 PRSA International Conference with an engaging and inspiring keynote, sharing thought-provoking insights on how to “Ignite Brilliance in Your Leadership.”
So how do you ignite brilliance in your leadership? There is no magic bullet, but two key takeaways that resonated with me are: raising the quality of critical thinking and setting your team up for success.
AmyK’s statement that the job of a leader is to raise the quality of conversations and the quality of thinking inside our companies is spot on. For PR professionals, critical thinking is one of the most important skills, not just in our day-to-day work, but also when managing a team. To raise the quality of thinking among your team, AmyK challenged us to ask bigger, broader and bolder questions and to have problem-solving discussions rather than data dumps.
A challenge facing many leaders is how to get the best results from team members. Even if you have a team of superstars, there are times when people struggle. As AmyK stated, we tend to perpetuate the focus on the problem. Instead, she recommends aligning brilliance by identifying the person’s strengths and what’s working, and then connecting those positives with objectives and payoffs. Of course, this is a continual process and requires ongoing conversations and tweaking, but this concept of using engagement, buy-in and commitment to solve problems is compelling.
As one who has founded and led a PR agency for more than 30 years, I agree with AmyK that our number one job as leaders is to set up our team members for success. This requires a commitment by the organization to expand the skillsets and show the path to growth, as well as providing the tools needed. Her question “what are we doing to develop the leadership pipeline?” is one every company should be focusing on so that we can create outstanding and successful leaders of tomorrow.
*Pam Golden is president of GLA Communications which she founded in 1986. Her expertise has helped fuel many successful communications campaigns including the launch of home satellite TV, DVD and HDTV. Pam provides high-level strategic and tactical counsel to GLA’s clients, bringing the benefit of more than 30 years of experience in creating and executing effective campaigns that deliver results. Pam is an active member of the Public Relations Society of America and serves on the executive committee for its Counselors Academy sector, where she is also chair of the programming committee. In April 2017, Pam was named as a finalist in the Leading Women Entrepreneurs “Brand Builders” category, which celebrates communications professionals who excel in brand innovation.