The demand for real leaders in the business world is at an all-time high. I say “real” because there is a literal sea of conferences, webinars, books and articles on “leadership” that people are flocking to, searching for that magic set of ingredients that is going to make them successful leaders. They promote attributes like “emotional intelligence” or “infectious optimism" in order to give you more “confidence in your corporate relationships,” and promise if you practice this specific variety of go-getter attitudes and maxims, you will be a conducive candidate for leadership roles.
But leading people isn’t like making pea soup. There is no cache of easy fixes or techniques. People are different, unique, and tend to resist when someone tries to squeeze them into a mold. Clients and colleagues have needs and preferences that are going to affect how they interact with others, how they perform their tasks, and how they respond under pressure. You do, too. You can’t control every aspect of their work or all areas of their professional life, but you can control your own.
My role at Beck & Stone is a client-facing one. I receive input from the client and distribute it to the internal team. I then receive output from the team and manage the presentation of it to the client. Account directors and project managers are the traffic cops in the agency world. We stand at the busy intersection of people rushing to get their viewpoint heard, their work done first, their objectives prioritized, and we make sure there are no accidents. We keep things moving.
There are two tangible expectations that come with such a leadership role. First and foremost, the client and agency expect me to communicate. Second, that I will properly plan. An adroit leader will not waste their words or their time.
Concise communication does away with wordsmithing to inflate your worth or flattery to curry favor undeservedly. People should respect and reward you for your results and your responsibleness. This is business, not a beauty contest. And in business, promptly responding to issues, succinctly wording explanations, and gently interacting with others who might be struggling to understand or even hostile towards you is a challenge. Disciplining yourself to communicate in such a manner shows respect for the client, the rest of the team, and yourself.