PR Start by Nick Lucido

How to start in the public relations industry.

On Leadership

If I asked you who to define what a leader is, how would you do it? Would you say it’s the person in the corner office leading your company? Would you say it’s a member of a professional organization you’re involved with? Would you say it’s an intern in your company?

When I think of what I leader is, a lot of qualities come to mind — dedication, knowledge, attitude, aptitude — and these are probably some you would agree with. However, one prerequisite a leader does not need to have is a title. That means no matter what position you have within a company, whether it’s an intern, assistant or coordinator, you can be a leader.

Here are some tips for effective leadership, especially for students, interns and new professionals. Sure, these might sound like general career tips, but being a leader in the workplace is an entirely different mindset. Check them out and see how you can apply these principles in your office.

Attitude is everything

When you walk into work every morning, you can be a leader by motivating and inspiring with your attitude. Don’t let challenges get you down and look at new projects with a positive attitude. Hopefully, your attitude will be contagious and people will look to you for a pick-me-up when they need it. This creates a great work atmosphere.

Earn respect by doing what you say you’ll do

How many times have you offered help to a coworker and not followed through? I’ve done it before, and I know it doesn’t help with your credibility. Be honest with your coworkers and mean what you say — this will help you earn credibility and trust with your coworkers, and these are two traits leaders have a strong command of.

Learn and understand when to say yes — and no

There are only so many hours in the day, and at a certain point you can only take on so many projects. If you’re already swamped and can barely get through your daily to do list, it probably isn’t a good idea to take on a new project. That said, don’t be afriad to push yourself to do more. The point is there is a fine balance of doing a lot at work and not being able to get through your work. If you can demonstrate your ability to know the difference, you will definitely impress your coworkers and managers.

Give compliments a lot

You really can’t go wrong telling someone you think they did a good job or how much you appreciate their work. This is especially true of your managers and supervisors. Don’t be afraid to give a high-five to your boss if they did a good job. Chances are, your bosses probably don’t get praised for their work because they standards are higher, so go the extra couple of yards. Again, it goes back to attitude.

Promote teamwork, especially among those who don’t know each other

I didn’t realize it, but I let the e-board of MSU PRSSA formulate into pairs who always worked with each other. Looking back on the past year, I think a more effective approach would have been to encourage teams with the members who didn’t know each other as well. Also, you can take the initiative to get to know other people in your company. You never know who might be sitting next to you tomorrow.

Find ways to learn and grow with everything

As a young professional, you’re going to make mistakes. In fact, as you progress with your career, you’ll probably still make mistakes. In most cases, it’s not what you do, it’s how you react to the situation.Value professional development and always learn. It’s a great way to give more value to your company and your coworkers.

For more on effective leadership techniques, check out this slideshow from Andy Hanselman. There are some great tips in here for everyone:

So, what do you think? Can young professionals really be leaders?

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Filed under: Internships, Professional Development, , , , ,

Breaking Down the Walls

For me, 2009 is going to be a year of breaking down the walls. I’m talking about changing the traditional college paradigm that has resulted from the increasingly competitive job market. 

break-down-the-wall

More then ever, students are pushing themselves through difficult curriculums, taking on leadership positions in student organizations and getting a job or two. The days of going through college and getting a sweet job are over. Hopefully there is no one out there that honestly believes that.

As a result, college is competitive and stressful. The college setting is meant to test and prepare us for “real world” situations, so the question then becomes is the real world as competitive and stressful? 

As students, sometimes we get caught up amidst the competitive atmosphere. We’re all competing for the top internships, the best grades and ultimately the best jobs. Too often we forget about our peers and their own professional pursuits. I was always taught to treat others the way I want to be treated. Just like in social media, cultivating relationships with your colleagues takes time and work, but it pays off in the end.

Here are my goals (note: not resolutions) for breaking down the walls this year:

  • Build my network and share it. I love networking and meeting new people. My friend puts it best: “I can’t keep my PR legs closed.” This year, I want to connect the good people in my network with the other good people in my network.
  • Improve this blog so that it does help people. I like to share what I learn, who I meet and new trends with you guys because I learn from you. I hope to continue to product worthwhile content and please let me know if I start going senile.
  • Look beyond the short term and always look for the long term. Questioning old practices and replacing them with new, more effective practices is what I’m going for. 
  • Connect Michigan PRSSA students with each other. I’ve been in contact with some really great people at other Michigan PRSSA Chapters and we all share in similar pre-professional pursuits, so why not help each other out? I had dinner with Jared Bryan from Wayne State University and Stephanie Scheer from Eastern Michigan University and I’m looking forward to working with them over the next couple of months.

This past year, a friend and mentor of mine, Jennie Ecclestone, who happened to be the MSU PRSSA Chapter President at the time, nominated me for a Central Michigan PRSA award. Typically, the award goes to a senior who has dedicated him or herself to their PRSSA Chapter and made a dramatic impact. Even though I and a couple other people nominated Jennie, her recommendation that she probably put a lot of time and effort into got me the award. This completely selfless action taught me more about leadership then any conference or book. Jennie was breaking down the walls and she will always have a friend and colleague with me. 

When it comes down to it, people make the difference in my life. I’m lucky to be surrounded by such dynamic, dedicated and funny people. They keep me sane and drive me nuts. But because they have help me so much in my career, I would do anything for them. Public relations and other industries are often based on who you know, not what you know. I hope I will be able to repay the favor to Jennie somehow.

This year, I challenge you to break down the walls in your own pre-professional career. Ask yourself, “why the hell not?” Value honesty and listen to your peers. And most importantly, don’t forget your friends and colleagues. 

Photo by rulosblack on Flickr. 

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