{Career Girl: Leading the Pack}

A lot of us work in environments where it is necessary for us to take on leadership roles. Whether this be leading our clients to successful solutions or developing the team around us to ensure delivery of innovative solutions.
A lot of you who read this blog of mine regularly will know that I have two jobs, one as a self employed photographer and the other as a professional office worker. During the hours of 5-8am when I work on photography and my websites, taking on leadership roles are much different to my day job hours. Days spent photographing beautiful weddings, lookbooks, portfolio work require leadership as much as client meetings, team talks, presentations in an office environment. Somewhere between those hours I also fit in a lot of reading, and some of the tips and tricks I have to share with you are probably what you find yourself doing everyday anyway. Being aware of your skills though, means that it is so easy to build upon them and enhance what you have, like Joan Rivers says “If you have it, flaunt it baby.” I wish I had that rough tone to my voice to execute that quote with true effect.
Being a great leader:
*There are a lot of trash talking yuppies in this world with no idea about anything. Everyone around them know that they’re a pain in the ass, so there is no need for you to ever point it out. By belittling people, anyone, makes you just as bad as them. Providing them with specific feedback executed positively though, is a fantastic way to build people up. It’s also a great way to establish positive working relations with people. If a sub contractor to your business, for example, a florist providing me with arrangements for my table at a wedding fare, is not performing to your expectations then structure feedback and cristism positively. Start off by praising them for what they have done to your standards, but then be truthful and honest and advise that you’ve seen their work and know that they are capable of so much more. Empower them.
*Knowing and believing that people are not stepping stones, they are building blocks and it is so important to maintain and support them. Knowing one thing and believing it are two different things entirely. Having great foundations with people mean that relationships are more secure in terms of honesty between parties, and in terms of trust.
*There are a lot of faux mid level type persons who you’ll hear spouting “oh yea yea yea, I’ll get this done and that done” in the end letting people down because they cannot follow their word. I am exactly that person, “oh, I’ll get post written up now” then completely forget about it. I know this is a biggest weakness of mine, but that’s why I have an “I don’t” list.
*I created an “I don’t” list and often update it. Just as I do my daily task lists. The “I don’t” list includes all of the things which I know stress me out and lead to poor productivity. It also contains items which I have approached with my teams and clearly stated. With photography, I have a team of trusted people around me who can help with things like responding to clients, updating twitter, communicating with humans. The point of this being that to be a great leader you don’t have to do it all, know your shortcomings and be familiar with them.
*Delegation. We’ve all tried at some point to do it all. To be that person who gets everything done, works flat out. And I’m guessing we’ve all been that person who’s broken down and failed, burnt out, lost it all. You really don’t have to do it all. You can’t. Delegate, this means having the emotional intelligence to identify the people around you and their strengths and weaknesses. Ask people, prioritise tasks, if it’s important and nearing deadline, make it known. While you know you’re far better than others with your great skill list, the person next to you will be far better than you in other areas. Delegating really does not mean failing.
A lot of the above thoughts and ideas come from personal experience. However as I said, I do a lot of reading, this month saw the following relevant leadership books completed:
The Edge by Michael Heppall
Unlimited by Jillian Michaels
4 Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferris 

All my love, Patricia