After interviewing Dr. Marianne Barrett, my thesis director and Cronkite’s Associate Dean, and Jill Johnson, Barrett, The Honor’s College’s Downtown Phoenix Senior Advisor, as well as reviewed other media, I’ve pin pointed four important skills I like to use in personal leadership style.
1. Keep your constituents passionate and motivated. Anyway you swing it, employing and maintaining employees who are working for you “because they want to” and not just because they have to or because you’re making them, creates the ideal working environment (Tracy, 2010). In general, people who are encouraged and happy about their job will not only work harder and smarter, but they’ll also produce far superior content than done by a rundown and careless employee.
2. Lead by example, especially when bad things happen and you need to stay strong. When you lead by example, not only are you challenging yourself to work at your peak, but you’re also challenging your followers to work at their peak. As a follower, judgments and work ethic are directly related to the decisions and styles of the leader, especially when things go wrong. Author Brian Tracy suggests a very important skill, “one of the keys to calmness and mental clarity is to refuse to spend a single second worrying or becoming angry about something that you cannot change” (Tracy, 2010).
3. Be mindful of your physical movements and characteristics. From my senior thesis, “Trust me. I’m ‘fill in the blank here,’” I learned about the impact physical characteristics have on first impressions. Of all the garnered facts in my literature review, one struck me the hardest and proved to be true in my experiment: “A key study (Willis, & Todorov, 2006) found that 100 milliseconds, or a tenth of a second, is enough time for a person to make accurate judgments of another person’s trustworthiness, likability, competence, attractiveness and aggressiveness” (Timm, 2011). Especially in the journalism field, these are important traits to master. Regardless of the situation at hand or any impeding decision deadlines, it’s important to stay calm and collected. Establishing and maintaining a calm attitude shows and tells your employees and clients that you are still in control of the situation and it can and will be handled effectively.
4. Lead by being led to build trust, and admit to faults when you’re wrong. Leaders need to know their faults and admit them when needed. Warren Bennis writes, “leaders never lie to themselves, especially about themselves, know their faults as well as their assets, and deal with them directly” (Bennis, 2003). The ability to stand firm in your own decisions is an important one for a leader, however, there are times when leaders need to learn from their constituents, too; often lending the team to a stronger sense of trust and unification.
Bennis, W. (2003). On becoming a leader. Warren Bennis Inc.
Timm, E. (2011). Trust me. i’m ‘fill in the blank here.’. Phoenix, AZ: Barrett Honors College Press.
Tracy, B. (2010). How the best leaders lead: Proven secrets to getting the most out of yourself and others. New York, NY: American Management Association.
Willis, Janine, & Todorov, Alexander. (2006). First impressions: making up your mind after a 100‐ms exposure to a face. Psychological Science, 17(7), 592‐598.