Posts Tagged ‘employees’


Truths for Effective Leadership from the PRSA Counselors Academy

Monday, June 27th, 2011

Colleen Flood*

On Friday, May 13, I had the pleasure of attending the session, 20/20 Hindsight: Timeless Truths for Effective Leadership lead by Mimi Meredith, Goodness Grows, at the annual PRSA Counselors Academy.

Everyone makes mistakes – particularly when it comes to building and forging relationships. These can be any sort of relationship, but it is equally true for PR and communications professionals looking to connect with their business associates and audiences, as well as great leaders.

Obstacles to Great Leadership

  • Assumptions
  • What you understand
  • Who you understand

Often when building relationships we allow our assumptions to get in the way. We self-project on individuals (“I think therefore you are”). This saves us time, but we never really get to know people. Since we were children we were told to “treat others they way we want to be treated” and it has become the platinum rule for business and employee engagement.

Great leaders don’t equate understanding with agreement. They speak to be understood.  They learn by assessing what people already understand, limit by taking the ‘me’ or unnecessary information out of the conversation, look by checking out body language and test to see if you are getting through by asking “what do you think?” or “what are your takeaways?”

Great leaders don’t treat employees like they themselves want to be treated. They move beyond preconceptions of people. In essence, great leaders allow people to be beyond what we label them.

What do you see as being some the obstacles of great leadership? And how do you suggest moving past them? Please share your thoughts with me and the readers of BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas.

***

*Bio: Colleen Flood has been a sales consultant with BurrellesLuce for over 12 years and is eager to become a more integrated part of the social-public relations community. She primarily handles agency relations in the New York and New Jersey metro-area. She is not only passionate about work, but also about family, friends, and the Jersey Shore. Twitter: @cgflood LinkedIn: Colleen Flood Facebook: BurrellesLuce

Tips for Improving Your Office Attitude!

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

by Jennifer Shtutman*

Smiling business people standing togetherWith the weather drawing colder and the days turning darker, it is clear the yearly phenomenon of the winter doldrums are setting in. People seem to be grouchier and the coffee isn’t working as well as it seemed to just two warm months ago.  With the layering of clothing, there also seems to be a layering of “attitude.” Like yawning, negative attitudes are certainly contagious. Personally, I have noticed that when I have a positive attitude it changes the attitudes of those around me.  

With these thoughts in mind, I have devised several ways that you too can be as “cheery” as possible through the next cold months:  

1. Bring in a box of goodies or a reasonably “healthy” sweet treat. This is one happiness inducer I always found that works on my team. Picking up some munchkins from Dunkin Donuts, for example, is inexpensive and low-maintenance; while at the same time can be a happy surprise for unexpected colleagues.  The treats are sweet enough to give a sugar boost, yet small enough not to cause guilt on our waistlines. 

2. Share positive feedback from clients. When someone gets a really great kudos, or congratulations on a good job, it is nice to show others that our hard work does not go unappreciated day in and day out. Sharing these feelings of good sentiment from our clients can be a great esteem boost for those around us. 

3. Develop an office support system. Whether you’re working in marketing, advertising, public relations or some other industry, developing relationships with team members can minimize stress and lets you know that those around you understand what you are going through.

4. Re-decorate!  Adding new flare and panache to your personal office space can help lift your spirits on those down and out days. Include photos of friends, family, and those people close to you who make you feel great inside. 

5. Place a candy bowl on your desk. This is one of my favorite ways to let my co-workers know I am  approachable, and that they can take snack break when needed. 

6. Keep your personal space organized and clean. You’ll feel as though you are more in control. Employees can gain an easy sense of satisfaction by keeping their things in order. Enhanced confidence and motivation will also stem from this simple change. 

7. Make friends at the office. It has been proven that the happiest people are those who can count on their colleagues as their friends. Finding people at the workplace, who you have a connection with, can really make a difference in your day to day experiences. Ask coworkers about their evenings and weekend plans, also about their families and life outside the office. Catching up on everyday life can lift spirits and help you look forward to coming to work.  Support through your coworkers can make anyone feel better!

As the winter months approach, what things do you do that enhance your day to day activities at the office?  How do you keep from layering on the attitude?  Please share your thoughts with me and the readers of BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas.

***

*Bio: Jennifer Shtutman has been an Account Manager with the BurrellesLuce client services team since 2007.  She is passionate about all things media and enjoys hearing about the latest trends and technologies in our business.  Jenn is an avid writer and editor for the Fordham University academic journal, Perspectives, and is currently working towards her master’s from Fordham University. What she most enjoys about her profession is that she is in the business of keeping people happy. “I am all about maintaining a positive relationship with my clients, and helping them gain the most out of what BurrellesLuce has to offer.” Facebook: BurrellesLuce LinkedIn: Jennifer Shtutman Twitter: @BurrellesLuce

PRSA Counselors Academy: Mark McClennan, Schwartz Communications, Interviewed By Johna Burke, BurrellesLuce

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

Transcript –

JOHNA BURKE: Hello, everyone, this is Johna Burke with BurrellesLuce, and I’m at the PRSA Counselors Academy. And we’re here with Mark.

Mark, will you introduce yourself?

MARK McCLENNAN: Sure thing, Johna. It’s Mark McClennan. I’m a senior vice president at Schwartz Communications.

BURKE: Mark, now, you just gave a session on growing your talent from within. Can you give a couple of the takeaways, for those people that couldn’t be here, of how they can do that at home?

McCLENNAN: I’d be happy to. When you’re talking about growing the talent from within, there’s really three fundamental things you need to make sure you do. From point one, you need to make sure you establish buy-in to the company vision and the power of folklore from day one. Make sure people understand where your company is, where they fit within the company and how they can grow within the company.

Point two is you need to make sure you’re constantly giving them opportunities to fail. I mean, fundamentally, the only way to grow your supervisors, your vice presidents, is you encourage people to make mistakes and learn from them. You know, give them the maximum responsibility at the earliest possible moment. Eighty percent of the time it’s going to work well for you, 20 percent of the time it’s not necessarily going to work as well, and those are the learning experiences. And you need to make that commitment because short term there may be an impact, long term you’re going to get a significant ROI. And that’s how you’re going to grow the people that know your company, know what you need to succeed, and they can help drive things forward.

And finally, you need to make sure, when it comes to training, that you don’t do the work for your employees. You need to give them the opportunities to begin the discussion. You need to–when you get a horrible press release, you can’t rewrite it. What you need to fundamentally do is figure out ways to help them through an…(unintelligible)…process to fix it. Ask them during every team meeting, `What do you see as the trends? What do you think we should do?’ When they come to you with questions, don’t answer the question. The first thing you should say is, `What do you think? How do you think we shoot–we should do that?’ And by doing that, you’re going to have people aligned with the company vision, you’re going to give them the confidence they need to succeed, and you’re going to really help develop the future leaders that will help your agency grow.

BURKE: Mark, that’s great. Thank you so much.

McCLENNAN: Thanks so much.

BURKE: And where can people find you on the web and in social media?

McCLENNAN: Sure. Well, there’s a lot of places there, but basically schwartz-pr.com, and our blog is Crossroads, so schwartz-pr.com/crossroads. And you can find me at @mcclennan at Twitter.

BURKE: Great. Thank you so much, Mark.

McCLENNAN: Thanks. 

Minding Your Manners In An All Too Public Age

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010
Colleen Flood*
Flickr Image: CarbonNYC

Flickr Image: CarbonNYC

After seeing, hearing, and reading all the recent hullaballoo about employees publically quitting their job, I was reminded of how important manners are and how we often overlook them.

Take the case of Stephen Slater, former active employee for JetBlue Airlines, turned possible folk hero. While Slater was treated rudely by a passenger he was providing a service to that day (and he claimed, many other customers spanning his career), I don’t think, and I’m sure many agree with me, that it was necessary for him to so rudely and publicly exit his career. 

Also, I’m sure there were young children on the plane and as a parent of children under 12 I try to instill good speech and certainly don’t want them to “overhear” a flight attendant on a loudspeaker uttering curse words. Never mind having them see a grown man whisking down a safety slide when clearly there was no emergency. 

We were all taught as kids “two wrongs don’t make a right.” Then when we got older, we were taught that “the customer is always right.”  Mr. Slater forgot theses pearls of wisdom. 

Recently, I started following Jodi R.R. Smith on Twitter after reading her article, Gracious Good-Byes – Career Transitions. While Jodi has some great tips on protocol for an exit strategy, she also has periodically written pointers on manners in general, not just for the workplace. These are two that standout to me:

  • Attention Clerks: Customers who took the time to enter your store should be waited on BEFORE those calling in by phone.
  • Politeness costs nothing and gains everything.

To that I would personally add:

  • Everyone’s time has the same value – be punctual and never assume a colleague or friend is less busy than you.
  • Be courteous to family, friends, colleagues and strangers – say good morning; give a compliment; smile at someone on the street.

I also decided to weigh in with a youngster’s take on manners.  While my 10 year old was unaware of the Slater JetBlue fiasco, he did have some interesting responses to my questions on manners:

What are manners?

A. Manners are what you use to be nice to other people and let them know you are a good person.

What is courtesy?

A. This means you are aware of other people and not yourself all the time.

How do you show consideration?

A. Don’t say words that would hurt people’s feelings. Listen to them. Then when they are done you speak and you say thank you if they say something about you that you like.  Also holding doors and asking people how their day is is nice to do.

Do you think adults and kids treat each other with respect?

A. I think most people respect each other most of the time, but, it’s human-nature to ignore someone or say something mean once in your life.

Uh oh…but you apologize right??

A. Yes, you can say sorry and make it up to them with a smile.

So what has happened to manners or at least having the dignity not to act so rashly in front of an audience of onlookers?  Perhaps, the increased acceptance and need to document every moment of our lives via online and social media plays some role. Perhaps workers feel compelled to vent and unleash frustrations publically when they might otherwise have handled the indiscretions privately because they are more likely to get a response from their boss or peers. Or perhaps some aren’t as concerned with their public image as their public relations or media relations counterparts. What are your thoughts? Please share your ideas with me and the BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas readers. 

***

 *Bio: Colleen Flood has been a sales consultant with BurrellesLuce for over 12 years and is eager to become a more integrated part of the social-public relations community. She primarily handles agency relations in the New York and New Jersey metro-area. She is not only passionate about work, but also about family, friends, and the Jersey Shore. Twitter: @cgflood LinkedIn: Colleen Flood Facebook: BurrellesLuce

I Am Not Alone…and Other Things I Learned at the PR News Media Relations Forum

Thursday, July 1st, 2010

Lindsay Nichols brings a broad range of public relations expertise to Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, helping clients build relationships with key audiences and influencers and sustaining awareness about their missions. In her nine year career, Lindsay has provided media relations, public affairs, grassroots marketing, crisis communications, and healthcare communications consulting to a variety of organizations focused on a variety of industries, including social purpose, advocacy, corporate, consumer, healthcare and legal.

***

From left: Johna Burke, BurrellesLuce, Lynn Sweet, Howard Arenstein, Doug Stanlin

From left: Johna Burke, BurrellesLuce; Lynn Sweet, Chicago Sun-Times Washington Bureau; Howard Arenstein, CBS Radio News; Doug Stanlin, On Deadline blog, USA Today.

This post first appeared on the @OgilvyPR blog, Social Marketing exCHANGE, June 29, 2010.

I’m clearly a geek, but I’m going to proudly say it: it’s an exciting time to be in media relations.

I started my career in media a decade ago and as the field has changed, the practice of getting key messages in front of target audiences via the media has only gotten more interesting. From crafting the story idea, to hearing the spark ignite for a reporter, to reading or listening or watching the final story unfold – the entire process is exhilarating. Social media has only broadened that landscape for me – I have more choices than ever to spread my clients’ messages and make an impact with the audiences that matter. And while media relations may seem more complex then the days when I used to thumb through a media directory book to find a reporter’s name and beat, in a lot of ways I find it much more strategic and exciting.

This geeky love I have for media relations was recently nourished when I was lucky enough to attend the PR News Media Relations Next Practices Forum as a guest of sponsor BurellesLuce. I got to hear from some of the best talent in the industry across all walks of PR life including corporate veterans Stephanie Anderson of OSRAM SYLVANIA and Ed Markey of Goodyear; consulting mavens Karen Hinton of Hinton Communications and Andrew Gilman of CommCore Consulting Group; and nonprofit leaders Laura Howe of the American National Red Cross and Glen Nowak with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; among others.

And – I can’t but help but show a little pride here – Ogilvy PR had a great client showing:  Mark Phillips of the USO and Colleen Wilber of America’s Promise Alliance both had wonderful insights to share. The keynote speaker was former Marriott spokesman and current Senior Director of Communications for Catholic Charities USA, Roger Conner, who shared his PR experiences both humorous and humbling.

The knowledge these speakers imparted was too much to share in detail, but some highlights were:

  • Think like a newsroom
  • Use social media to collect real-time feedback on the quality, tone and resonance of a conversation – listen constantly
  • Let others (volunteers, employees, customers or consumers) tell the story for you
  • Don’t script people – just teach them how to use social media tools effectively
  • Don’t tell media what the news is – just tell them what you have and how they can use it
  • Individuals as influencers are becoming increasingly important – never underestimate your audience
  • Say the full message: not just “go online,” but “go online and donate”
  • Mobile media is the next frontier in terms of location, platforms, video, social search, virtual collaboration and cloud computing
  • Before you spend any resources, make sure audience is there; speak the right language and understand who you’re trying to influence
  • Stop trying to control the message – just be part of the conversation
  • You must call media on their mistakes – they are working as fast as we are, and mistakes happen; it’s our job to give them the correct information
  • Claim as much real estate as you can on a TV screen – provide information for the lower-third/crawl, facts, b-roll, bulleted messages, etc.; have your spokesperson hold a prop
  • Your actions must match your words

One of my favorite parts of the forum, the “Media/PR Smackdown,” was a panel of well-respected and much sought-after journalists Howard Arenstein, Correspondent of CBS Radio News and CBS News Radio’s Washington, DC, Bureau Manager; Doug Stanglin, Editor of the “On Deadline” blog at USA Today; and Lynn Sweet, Columnist and Washington Bureau Chief of Chicago Sun-Times. They reinforced the tried and true of the media world – don’t call unless you know the reporter’s beat, you know your pitch fits perfectly with what they cover, you’ve already sent an email, and you have a personal relationship. But they also taught me a thing or two about how journalists have embraced the recent changes to the media relations landscape. Reporters love Twitter. I can’t emphasize that enough. They love it personally, and they love it professionally. Doug Stanglin uses his Twitter as a news aggregator. Reporters also love blogs – their own and others. They no longer have one deadline a day – they have them throughout the day. And they are truly excited about sharing their news on different platforms.

So apparently I’m not the only one geeking out about media relations today.

Above all, the overwhelming message of the forum was loud and clear for me: I am not alone. I heard it from the friends I made at my table and around the room and the speakers who represented so many industries and so many types of PR. We’ve all had great ideas but neither the adequate time nor resources to get the job done well. We’ve all dealt with public crises that we didn’t see coming. We’ve all been met with overworked and under-resourced journalists who can’t (or won’t) hear us out.  We’ve all had to deal with leadership who didn’t understand how the media work and expected us to move mountains with only a spoon to start digging. But we all love what we do. We love shaping stories, spreading our clients’ messages, and entering in the public conversation. We all have a passion for getting it right the first time. And we all have a zeal for where media relations has come from – and where it’s going.

And somehow, just knowing that – that I’m not alone – feels good.

You can find more about the forum on Twitter: @mrf.