Julia Hood was the keynote speaker at the PRSSA Leadership Rally in Scottsdale, Arizona in late May. As the executive vice president at Haymarket Media, she shared important advice with more than 100 upcoming student chapter presidents sitting in the room, eager to hear how to improve their leadership skills.
To guide her speech, Hood displayed the results from the Plank Center Leadership Report Card, which showed the large gap between how leaders rated their performance and how their followers rated it. According to the Plank Center, “Leaders received high marks for ethical orientation and involvement in strategic decision-making but earned lower marks for their vision, relationship-building skills, and team leadership capabilities.” In preparation for our upcoming leadership position, Hood highlighted three key points that would help to bridge this gap.
- Don’t become a brand. Create your own statement of values, and speak and write like a human. Hood discouraged use of the words “network” and “contact.” Instead, she encouraged us to find five people to connect with and work to maintain a relationship with them.
- Don’t lie to yourself or co-workers. Know what steps to take and if not, then ask for help.
- Bring others along with you. Leaders need followers; without them, there is no leader. Hood played a YouTube video that showed a young man dancing my himself among a crowd and slowly, one joined in, then another, then eventually the whole crowd. Although somewhat silly, the video provided an important lesson – you must be easy to follow. Like any cause of action that has taken place in history, there is no movement without the first follower.
- Just because you are a leader, it does not make you smarter. Collaborating with people who are smarter than you gives you the right tools for success. Therefore, it is only right to give credit where credit is due.
- Being constantly busy does not translate to success. It’s better to do two or three things very well instead of a broad range of things. Take time to think, write and watch.
- Make time to get out and talk to new people in new places. What do you want to share with people? What would you say?
Author: Lauren Taylar
Lauren Taylar is a digital marketer and blogger. She is a graduate of the State University of New York at Oswego, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in public relations. When she’s not volunteering her time with Make-A-Wish, you can find her reading a travel magazine and sipping a glass of hard cider or wine.