Spot the difference between a PR leader and a PR manager

leadershipIn late April I’m speaking at a Canberra conference for Government communicators about what makes a good PR leader.  And how to develop the skills and characteristics you need to lead.

It’s a subject everyone in the room is sure to have an opinion on. By nature PR people are very perceptive continually assessing the people around us in senior positions.

While the academic and HR worlds abound with definitions, leadership is a word you normally don’t associate with the PR profession. I have always taken the approach that in the communications environment the difference is easy to spot.

A manager arranges. A leader inspires.

There is no doubt a PR workplace needs good managers: someone to schedule tasks, set and oversee budgets, task and keep the team on track and report progress. This is not condescending. Management skills are necessary but rarely  enough?

A leader on the other hand, is that individual who holds a special key in his or her outstretched hand. That key – forged from experience, technical mastery, vision and empathy – can unlock the talents within communications professionals and reach into their hearts to release their passions and energies for what lies ahead.

Over the years I’ve met many managers who are technically very competent yet fail to inspire. And leaders able to  motivate and enthuse but who neglect the detail required in a busy workplace. Both sell their teams short.

When you encounter a person who can do both – lead and manage – they stand out. And they’re the people, the rest of us in the profession, strive to be around and work with.


Share your thoughts and help me prepare for this upcoming conference.



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