(credit Georgia State University)
A referral is a gift and a terrific opportunity to build your reputation.
As a PR manager you have industry knowledge, high skill levels and a circle of contacts. That’s why sometimes people approach you for a referral to someone in your network. They want your help in contacting an individual who can help them with career advice, an interview, information or with thoughts on a business idea.
Referrals are gifts
When you give a referral you are giving a gift to the person seeking your help by laying open your networks for their benefit. And like other forms of gift-giving a referral has a distinct etiquette – which when followed – can enhance your professional standing by:
- Demonstrating your industry insights and connections.
(credit Georgia State University)
Referrals are terrific tools for PR professionals. Recently a colleague landed a story by asking for a referral to a newspaper editor and a communications start-up is growing by asking others for help.
Talk about referrals often turns to sales, marketing and business development. Today I’m talking about personal referrals where either you ask for help or set out to help others. That can be to source information, get an interview, land a job or get buy-in for a project. There is art and etiquette to referrals which can help you succeed, or if neglected burn your bridges.
Image: Rusty Crawshaw
PR executives may not be responsible for how other leaders perform but we should call out poor leadership, agitate for leader development and model behaviours others can follow.
Biggest ever survey
Last week the Melbourne-based Centre for Workplace Leadership launched the Study of Australian Leadership, the largest ever survey of its kind in Australia.
The Study looked at the state of leadership and management across the economy. And although it has crucial, nationwide implications it received scant attention probably because the Federal Election is absorbing all attention.
Almost 8,000 people in 2,703 organisations and 2,561 workplaces took part in five surveys including CEOs, HR specialists, midlevel managers, front line leaders and employees.
Leaders need to be detached. Which means getting off the dance floor and going to the balcony.
There is a strong correlation between asking for feedback and the overall effectiveness of leaders. But can you ask for feedback without risking your authority?
Sensitive to criticism?
At times I admit to having being sensitive when people critiqued my PR efforts. You may have experienced something similar. Invariably we try our best so when we do fall short, it can be uncomfortable when someone highlights our failures. Yet when people offer feedback it’s a terrific opportunity to improve performance.
PR managers may have substantial authority but they are only human.
Last week I asked 40 communicators to nominate a communicator-leader they admired. The room feel silent and only two people raised their hands. I was stunned. Surely there must be more because PR specialists have leadership skills in profusion.
Recently I presented on the topic of leadership to Australian Government communicators in Canberra. Which got me thinking how PR people in government and business rank when they get the chance to lead. Are PR professionals superior, average or below par when it comes to leading teams and organisations?
Research on the subject of PR leadership is thin. There’s been some American research but scant Australian study.
In 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 media release from Prime Minister Ben Chifley was among the most damaging in Australian history
Recently a strong community backlash forced the cancellation of a scheme to put black-clad officers of Australian Border Force on Melbourne streets checking visas.
The Government reacted by saying it was a big misunderstanding and named the culprit – a poorly worded media release cleared at a ‘low level in the organisation’.
Border Force media release – right thing but the wrong way
This media release did all what media releases are supposed to do. It captured attention. Unfortunately it was the wrong sort of attention and spiraled off into a media and social media storm, street protests and public ridicule for Border Force.
Recent issues surrounding Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s leadership come down to one word and two questions. The word is ‘trust’ and the questions are simple.
After all the unsettling leadership talk can the Australian public trust Mr Abbott and his government to do the right thing by all sections of the community? Can his own backbench team trust him to act in their interests while pursuing a conservative ideology that has alienated many people.
The public airing of these questions comes as the US-based PR agency Edelman has just released its 2015 Australian Trust Barometer. For the past 15 years Edelman has measured the levels of trust that people around the world have in the institutions that make up the fabric of modern societies – government, business, media and NGOs.
For the past 14 years giant PR company, Edelman has surveyed the levels of trust that people around the world have in government, business, media and NGOs – the institutions that provide the fabric of modern societies.
The 2015 Trust Barometer is alarming, revealing trust has hit lows not seen since the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) in 2009. In Australia trust is down for government and business and right now we are seeing the issue of trust play out in the troubles surrounding Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
This 2 minute video summarises global trust levels and what the ‘big end of town’ must do to restore reputation.