Becky Beery (aka @tijuanabecky) posted a couple of great questions last week to the Are You a Communications Manager or a Communications Leader? post. I thought they were big enough to do a whole blog post on on. Which got me thinking… why don’t we pause and just do an open Q&A on the topic of leadership in communications? So, that’s what we’re going to do. Let me kick it off with Becky’s questions.
1) I have to wonder whether or not it’s my right to speak up or lead..some situations you need to be on the manager side while others you can do the leader side.
OK, I guess that isn’t actually a question, but it begs the question, “Should you always be a communications leader or are there times when you should just manage?”
I think it depends on how you define leadership. I think leadership is making the choice to do your communications job in the way that will help your organization best accomplish its mission. Sometimes that means speaking up and challenging the status quo. Other times challenging the status quo would undermine the organization’s mission and the best choice is to do the best you can with what you’ve got.
The key, in my opinion, is you never do anything out of obligation but always take ownership of the choice you have in every situation to either go with the quo or push for change.
2) I sometimes feel that you’re supposed to manage for awhile while you’re earning the right to be heard and be trusted going beyond what you’ve been given. Is that right, or is it always right to lead vs manage?
I don’t know that you need to earn the right to speak up, but I do think you have to get to know the strengths and culture of your organization before you can develop a vision for its communication. That takes some time. I also think the more you prove yourself you can be trusted and know what you’re doing the more receptive people will be to your ideas. That doesn’t mean you have to wait to share your ideas, but be prepared to have them shot down or ignored until you gain more credibility.
What do you think?
Thanks again for your questions Becky!
What other questions do you have about leading communications in your organization?
I’ll be checking in frequently throughout the day to respond as quickly as I can. But don’t let me be the only one who responds to questions. You all have experience and insight and can respond as well.