The longer I continue to work in a PR agency with small, close-knit teams assigned to each account, the more parallels I’ve been able to draw from my passion for baseball.
And as my beloved New York Yankees picked Ty Henlsey, a hard throwing right hander, in the recent Major League Baseball draft, I couldn’t help but think about how important it is for a PR agency to pick the right players for the right client. When leading a team, it’s imperative to really look at what success means when working with a small group. And when I’m put in charge of a team to lead a new account, I always try to put myself in the position of a smart winning player/coach/manager.
So, here are a few ways to look at how to lead a team to success:
Attitude – The New York Yankees epitomize what it means to win. Captain Derek Jeter, a superstar, has always shown, both on and off the field, that no one player is above the team. The pressure to get to 3000 hits? Questions about his fielding ability? Jeter will always tell you none of it matters unless the Yankees win.
It’s important, as a team leader, to take that same approach. Spread the love. Empower other team members to get a clutch hit. Then trumpet their accomplishments. You’ll get more out of your staff and it will take the pressure off of you and get the job done every time.
Play To Your Strengths – This is probably the most important aspect when divvying up important tasks. Just like any championship team, each member of an account team should have a role that plays to their strength. Bret Gardner’s job on the Yankees is to get scrappy hits and steal bases. While not viewed as “sexy,” Gardner’s role has been critical to the Yankees’ offensive success. Stealing a base at a critical moment, or making a diving catch, could be viewed as even more important than a homerun.
As a team leader, make sure team members know how important their individual role is to the account. From keeping meeting agendas and reports accurate and up-to-date to securing a top media placement or a high profile speaking opportunity, each job and task contributes in important ways to the overall success of the account. As a team leader, it’s important to recognize those who steal bases as much as those who hit the home runs.
Coach Each Other – Whenever the camera pans into the dugout of any Major League Baseball team, I always see the players helping each other out, talking on the bench about tips and insights into the game. I’ve seen veterans help rookies and vice versa.
It’s no different in the PR world. All your team members come with unique experiences and things they’ve learned along the way, regardless of age and years in the business. If you see a team member doing something wrong, speak up. If you’re struggling with a pitch or a press release, be open to suggestions from your colleagues.
If you infuse your agency work with the team-first mentality you’ll quickly discover how this kind of team-work breeds engaged staff, PR success and ultimately happy and long-lasting clients.