Friday, September 20, 2013

Beware! The Seagulls have Landed

In my last blog; I discussed the positives and negatives of different leadership styles. I’m going to continue that discussion. When running a business no matter how large or small, leadership is key to success. Whether your employees are relatives or part time helpers, your leadership provides direction, policy, and consistency.

Small business owners and entrepreneurs develop their own leadership styles. Several years ago, the term “Seagull management” became jargon for a boss who rarely made an appearance, but when he or she did, they “flew in, shit all over everyone, and then flew out.”

I’m sure we’ve all had bosses who fit that description. Rather than being helpful and open to suggestions, they dominate, make an appearance, and criticize and complain about what’s going on, even though they are never around to supervise and keep things on track.

We can laugh at this and appreciate the humor, but we must make sure that this isn’t us. The people we work with deserve to know that they are appreciated and needed for their efforts. It is far better to create a team that works together for the good of the business than an isolated group of people who feel at odds with one another.

Several years ago, I had a boss who was abrasive, domineering, and critical. No matter how hard I tried to be a good employee, he found fault with everything I did. He’d bark if I walked into his office while he was on the telephone, even though the message I quietly laid on his desk was important. He’d question my decisions and my work. I was constantly berated in front of others.

I must admit, I wasn’t singled out by any means. He barked and grumbled at everyone. He was absolutely the most disagreeable and bombastic person for which I had ever worked. After a year, I found another more suitable job. The poor man couldn’t keep employees, and he couldn’t seem to change.

Creative professionals require isolation in order to produce. They become team players in order to further their own self interests knowing that networking is paramount to their success. Even though creatives compete on some level, they also need each other to stay abreast of changing trends, to research information and interview people, to learn about new venues and opportunities, and to retain objectivity in their introverted profession.

We are all leaders. Whenever you represent your business, your product or your style, you become a leader. The traits of good leadership will build lasting relationships, increase sales, and validate your professionalism. Good leaders are also good followers. Flowing easily between the two roles is vital in building a network of friends, clients, and mentors.