Leading Leaders: Why PR Pros Need to Sharpen their Leadership Skills in 2016

By Nicole Rodrigues

Let’s face it, being a public relations professional is no walk in the park. Those of us who’ve been in the industry for 15 or more years knows if you’re dedicated to being great in this awesome field, hard work is mandatory and always pays off.

By being good, I don’t mean you know how to browse through your cell phone, call a media friend and get a great hit for a client immediately.

That’s being good in one aspect of our job.

Being good in this profession means you know how to strategically place stories for clients, or your company if you’re in-house, you know when to tell them their ideas aren’t good and can take the reigns when a great strategy needs to be in place.

Being great means you’re not a “yes” man, you’re a thinker and a leader and you’re not afraid to steer the ship in the right direction to help your clients (internal or external) meet their business objectives.

That being said, for anyone in our profession who wants to do well or get better, we know we can’t do it alone. Many of us own agencies, or hold high positions in agencies where we rely on junior employees who are learning to spread their wings.

How do we encourage them to work at their highest capacity?

The answer is simple: We look at them as future leaders in our industry and begin by leading the leaders.

Here are five ways any PR professional who’s leading leaders can be sure they’re headed toward greatness.

Leading Leaders by Example

If you want people on your team to pitch well, build relationships with media, and conduct proper research to be sure they’re hitting the right targets, you need to be doing it too!

Giving them a solid example of what to do with pitches, follow ups, target identification, is your responsibility.

Of course, strategy is important and, yes, we know you’re in charge of that and it takes time, but just think about how much time you’ll be saving when your junior team members are pitching the right way and you don’t have to do it as much because they’re killing it.

As an agency owner, I’m not above pitching and never will be. I will pitch as long as I’m in this industry because, heaven forbid, I lose one of the most important skills all of us should have.

Leading Leaders through Strategy

Your clients aren’t just looking for media placements.

If they are, you haven’t shown them there’s a much bigger picture out there: Strategic media placements, followed by the strategic use of social media and digital marketing to push them further. ‘

Show your team members you know how to think big so they will follow suit.

A great placement is one tiny portion of what we do now. If you want everyone around you to think big, do the same and show them they can do the same.

Leading Leaders through Education

Education is key.

That goes for personal education (e.g. staying up on trends in our industry and sharing those insights with your team members) as well as team-focused education (e.g. inviting guest speakers, media in to talk to your team and teach them important skills to do their jobs well).

We don’t stop learning once we graduate college and jump into PR.

On the contrary, education simply begins the day we get into the industry and should never stop until we retire.

Believe me, your team members will appreciate your focus on their betterment and your own. As the leader improves, so does the team.

Take Their Lead

It pays to be a great leader who accepts the fact there will be team members who do certain things better and/or knows something you may not.

Welcome that and allow those team members to teach you and others. Appreciate their presence on your team and allow them to lead where they have strengths.

How will your sharpen your leadership skills this year?

Nicole Rodrigues

Nicole is the CEO and founder of NRPR Group. She’s a seasoned publicist and social media marketing pro who loves helping individuals and businesses define their brands, and effectively network themselves both on and offline. When she’s not working, networking or spending time on social media channels, she golfs, watches sports, movies, and as much TV/Hulu/Netflix/YouTube as possible.

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