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Promotional ideas and technique. Always radio, always positive.

Be yourself, but with skill

This evening I was lucky enough to join four media and advertising leaders to discuss leadership and management in the advertising industry. What makes a good leader? Why are leaders different? Are we born leaders? A fascinating insight into leadership within such a unique and powerful industry.

The session was an exciting evening, that offered advice from a wide spectrum of leaders with a plethora of experience including Rob Forshaw (CEO of Grand Union – full service digital agency), Daren Rubins, (CEO of PHD media agency) and Stevie Spring (ex CEO of Future Publishing and Chief Exec of ClearChannel). The panel was hosted by Debbie Klein (Cheif Exec of Engine – marketing and communications company).

While each of the panelists explored some of their career routes and delivered nuggets of personal stories to try and examine how to find the leader within; it was clear that there’s no set route to being the best and leading an organsation within media.

Leaders are created – not born

What was clear however, is that there’s no way of learning how to be a leader. You can learn how to edit and produce radio programmes, you can learn how to sell a radio promotions – but leadership is something which can’t be learn. It can be enhanced – but not learnt. Rob Forshaw stated “There’s no qualifications in leadership, leaders are created, not born.

Be Yourself

The inspirational Stevie Spring said that leadership is about ‘being yourself more – but with skill’. Great advice and very relavent. She went on to celebrate that there are different types of “leaders” and that each and every type is relevant. The ability to flip between leadership styles is ever so important but without being fake about your main style. People ‘buy’ into leaders and they buy into your persona and natural way of being – being yourself. Daren echoed that line of thought with saying that “Leaders are authentic” and that is what drives their success. He continued with “Everyone is a leader – they’re just leaders in different ways”.

Daren also stressed the importance of being yourself and being authentic by saying “put the human touch in everything you do”.

Gut Instinct

Debbie Klein gave some really frank examples of times in her career where she used her gut instinct – putting her neck on the line as she went up the ladder, at the start of her media career; citing ‘telling the chief executive to stop having a chauffeur’ and ‘advising the board not to pitch for the Armani brief before being overruled – however, the pitch brief clearly stated that celebrities are NOT to be used – then during the pitch George Armani dismissing the whole pitch because celebrities weren’t used!’. Being yourself but being skilled with your decisions is also a second-to-none leadership trait.

Why be a leader

Leadership in media is something some people (including myself) thrive from while others are happy to just take the back seat and get things done. Leadership often comes with additional pressures, stresses and complexities but at the same time can deliver amazing job satisfaction, the opportunity to inspire others and the forum to lead from the front and portray vision’.

If you want to be a leader – the key advice I took was to “Be Yourself More – but with skill”.

I’ll leave you with two other leadership quotes – however, these scholars weren’t present at tonights event!

Be yourself, everyone else is taken (Oscar Wilde)

Always be a first rate version of yourself and not a second rate version of someone else.(Judy Garland)

The event was organised by NABS – the National Advertising Benevolent Society – who’re holding monthly events with key figures in the media industry as part of their Partner Card programme.

Image (C) http://www.flickr.com/photos/chasblackman/