Why Your Leadership Development is the Most Important Thing You Can Do For Your Agency in 2017

By Ken Jacobs, ACC, PCC, Jacobs Executive Coaching and Jacobs Communications Consulting

As an agency leader, what is the most important thing you can do for your agency’s success this year? Provide consistently superior client service? Achieve business development goals? Get closer to best practices in fiscal management and profitability? Build the second-tier? Do a more effective job of marketing to prospects?

The answer is yes. Well actually, it’s the classic “Yes, and...”

The most important thing you can do to drive success in the aforementioned areas is to develop your leadership skills. 

And I don’t mean management skills. 

Managing is about things: programs, processes, budgets, production schedules… getting the train out of the station, as it were. I’m going to assume you’re already pretty good at all of those things, or you wouldn’t have gotten to where you are today.

I’m talking about leading. When we use that term, we’re talking about leading people, both your teams and yourself.

What is leading? For me it’s as simple as this: getting the outcomes we desire, for our agencies, our people, our clients, and yes, ourselves.

Here are five reasons to develop your leadership skills this year:

  1. Most leaders are effective managers. But not all managers are effective leaders. And while you might have some great managers or managers-in-training on your team, your agency needs you to lead it. To create the vision. To state the values. To articulate and remind people about the reasons you all come to work each day, and the quality standards to which you’ll all live up to as an organization.
  2. When you become a more effective leader, you’ll have more success in achieving the goals in client service, business development, and profitability. Why? Because as you focus on motivating, inspiring, and truly leading your team, they’ll be more driven to achieve and surpass the goals you’ve articulated for those important areas.
  3. When you lead effectively, the world of choices opens up, and you see many more available options in every aspect. You play a more active role in your agency’s success. You see what you need to do, and you do it, with clarity and conviction, and on deadline.
  4. People are attracted to confidence. So when we manage our fears and lead from a position of confidence, we get more of what we want: clients who have the faith to give us more work; motivated teams who are inspired by our courage; and prospects who believe we can help them with their business, marketing, communications, and reputation challenges.
  5. When you become a more effective leader, two things happen: you become more comfortable empowering your second tier of leadership, allowing them to do some of the things you thought only you can do, giving them confidence in their own skills. And you focus on the things that, you as an agency leader, should be focused on: agency vision, strategy, and business development. 

Here are four things you can do to become a more effective leader in 2017

  1. Get an assessment: There are a number of assessments available to determine the kind of energy you bring as a leader, and equally important, how your team views your communications and leadership style.
  2. Become a voracious reader of all things leadership: Leading Through The Turn: How a Journey Mindset Can Help Leaders Find Success and Significance by Counselors Academy member and former chair Elise Mitchell is a great place to start.
  3. Hire a leadership coach: There are a number of us who are proud members of Counselors Academy. It’s our joy to help you become the best leader you can be.
  4. Attend Counselors Academy Spring Conference in Seattle in May, and please consider attending the leadership session given by respected consultant-coach George Rosenberg, and me.

Ken Jacobs, principal of Jacobs Communications Consulting, helps communications agencies grow and manage business, improve client relationships, and enhance team performance, communications and leadership skills. Jacobs Executive Coaching empowers corporate and agency PR, communications, advertising and marketing leaders and executives to breakthrough results by becoming more inspired and inspiring leaders. He is also a strategic advisor to the Prosper Group.  You can email him here.