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?


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

The Right Way to Take Time Off

If you had to leave work early today, could you leave and know that your stuff would be taken care of? What if you had to take tomorrow off, too? What if you went on a world cruise and took a week off? A month?

For the next two weeks, I’m going to be multitasking like I never have done before. During this time of year, I’m normally working at The State News, gearing up for another semester of MSU PRSSA and doing that whole school thing at MSU. At the end of my summer internship, I was asked to come back to John Bailey & Associates and be the NAIAS intern in between school semesters. Could I turn this down? Heck no. Can I stay away from my work at the State News for more than, um, two hours? Heck no.

Thus, I had a dilemma. I knew having two jobs was possible, but I also knew I needed some major help. After asking a co-worker and some major preparation, I’ve been able to stay semi-sane and still be able to stay on top of other things.

I’ve come up with four principles that have helped me have two jobs simultaneously. For those of you who have no desire to have two jobs, you can insert “vacation” or “personal time” where I love to express my workaholic tendencies.

  • Delegation. Used correctly and properly, delegating tasks to the right people will not only take the load off your shoulders, but it will also have your co-workers learn and grow with you. Used incorrectly and improperly, you can seem like you don’t care about your work and will give it to whomever. Make sure you have a concise list of daily tasks that need to be completed and that it’s not too overbearing for one person. Interns – try to get your hands on some of this work! It’s a great way to step up and take on more responsibility.
  • Communication. There’s some people that are out of the office and are out of the office. If you’re the second type, you better hope you have all your bases covered. For most people, it’s a lot more practical to be out of the office while still aware of what’s happening in the office. It’s important to respect the people who are back in the office doing your job. Taking 10-15 minutes out of your personal time to make sure they have a clear understanding of your projects and assignments can probably save them a lot of time. Keep lines of communication with the person that’s helping you out.
  • Cooperation. Don’t be afraid of these new challenges – generally, you want to be the one that’s helpful in the office. It’s not always easy to take on new tasks, so do the best you can with what you’ve got. Reach out to the client and your supervisor – communication and explanation can go a long way.
  • Return the favor. Show the love with a token of appreciation. Taking on a crappy assignment from your helpful co-worker is great. If you went on vacation, bring something back for that person and help them out with their work. Come up with some other creative ways to say thanks. Also remember to return the favor when they need help.

I’m not saying that I mastered this on my first try. In fact, this is pretty much a list of the things I should have done better during my two weeks out of one office and in another. But, on the whole, I’m able to keep up with two jobs, school and PRSSA mostly because my friends and co-workers have been helping out. I because I have a “support group” of sorts. My good friend and co-worker Gina is doing an incredible job of doing the crappy part of my State News job – scheduling, routing cards and solving production issues. She makes me look good to my clients. Thanks, Gina.

There’s probably some jobs out there that are individualistic in nature and don’t require team work, but I’m quickly finding out that what I’m doing is not one of those jobs.

What do you think? Any advice?

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