Working in PR is challenging.
There is a lot to learn, no two days are alike, and, like it or not, you have to be on call 24/7.
Whether you landed your role in PR by accident or you have pursued it relentlessly, you are in it for the long game.
You don’t stay in PR unless you love it with all you have.
It may sound like a bad soap opera cliché, but it is true.
There is something bigger than yourself that keeps you going and doing your best every day.
It used to be you got a job, usually entry level, then worked your way up the proverbial career ladder.
When you got a promotion, managed a team or two, you could begin developing and practicing your leadership skills.
After all, you couldn’t expect leadership from an account executive, could you?
Today, things are much more simple and faster.
You don’t need a title to show leadership.
Moreover, you can practice leadership beyond your title.
Here is how you can show leadership in PR, no matter your title or role.
Leadership Tip #1: Invest in Yourself
Showing leadership begins with investing in professional development.
You can’t be a leader if you’re not up-to-date with what is happening in the industry and don’t see the big picture.
So, make a deal with yourself to pursue continuous learning.
From business skills to learning PR metrics, from customer service to learning the financial side of a business, the sky is the limit.
Your career is your business. Keep growing it and don’t ever stop.
Leadership Tip #2: Practice Excellence
In everything you do, no matter how small or big the task, commit to practicing excellence.
Here is what I mean by that.
Whether it’s an email you have to answer, a pitch you have to send, or a white paper you have to write, make the habit of giving it your full attention and your best.
Put yourself in the receiver’s shoes.
Would you like to receive an email or a pitch like that?
How would you feel when reading that white paper for the first time?
Does it speak to you?
These are just a few examples, but you get my point.
Practicing excellence in everything you do sets the stage for becoming a leader.
Michael Jordan once said,
You must expect great things of yourself before you can do them.
Leadership Tip #3: Lift Others
There is something about helping others that make us feel invincible.
Help your colleagues become better whenever you can.
Actually, scratch that.
Make it your mission to help your colleagues whether you have the time or not.
I am not saying you should neglect your job to help others.
But helping your colleague finish that pitch or project when he or she needs it most is showing you care.
And the most basic rule of leadership is to show you care about the ones around you.
That’s what being a true leader means.
Leadership Tip #4: Stay Informed
True leaders make it their mission to be informed with what’s happening around them.
They know who needs help, they foresee a problem before it’s happening and they are ready to jump in and help.
How can you stay informed about what’s going on in your organization?
What if you work in a corporation?
You can’t know everything that’s going on, right?
It’s true, you can’t know everything, but you don’t need to.
You just need to know the essential.
And to do that, you have to use your skills as a PR pro and build relationships in key departments in your company.
This way you will learn what’s going on before it actually happens.
You will be able to jump in and help where you’re most needed.
Or if you can’t actually help, you can share your opinion and vision.
And that does not go unnoticed.
Leadership Tip #5: Be Proactive
You can’t grow beyond your role if you’re not proactive.
Remember your job is not your job description.
Your job is what you make of it, regardless of your title.
You are the project manager of your job, and how you handle the project called you, makes all the difference.
Leadership is not about the title you have on your business cards or the signature on your emails.
It’s about choosing to make a difference, choosing to learn, choosing to embrace challenges with a smile and determination.
That’s how you become a leader.