Look beyond the next issue

By Jerry Bellune

I once worked with a publisher who cut me a lot of slack and gave me a powerful incentive.

“You focus on tomorrow, next week and next month,” he said. “I’ll focus on next year.”

I had not known anyone who thought that far ahead. It got me to thinking far ahead as well. If you’re not looking beyond the next issue of your newspaper, you’re making a mistake.

And you need to encourage and train your people to be thinking ahead, too. That’s real Leadership with a capital “L”. That was one of the important lessons learned at the first session of the SCPA Leadership Academy. Bill Rogers asked me to facilitate the morning session on assessing your personal leadership style. I did a smart thing and had the 10 attending the academy teach themselves about leadership. They got a lot more out of it and I mostly sat back and learned, too.

Here are three other principles we learned that you might take to heart and put into practice yourself.

1.  Look to great leaders and model their behavior. All of us have worked for some really fine leaders. We’ve probably worked for some stinkers, too. Remember what the stinkers did and don’t do it. Remember what the real leaders did and copy their example.

2. Remember you are always on stage. As a leader at your newspaper, your people are constantly watching what you do. It’s how they learn real leadership. Never forget that they hear your every word and watch your every move. You are always on stage and what you do is constantly evaluated. Make sure it’s a good evaluation. I’m impatient and hot headed by nature. Those are two weaknesses I have to control. You probably have some weaknesses, too. None of us are perfect. Work on your weaknesses. If you don’t, your weaknesses will do you in as a leader.

3. Develop the leaders around you. These are the people you need to groom to take your place when you move up. How do you do that? You start by teaching them the basics of leadership. You talk with them about it. You ask for their opinions about it. Everyone has a picture of what a leader is. You correct them in private and encourage them to do the same with their people. You praise in public everyone who does something outstanding. That teaches them the behavior you favor. Your people learn by your example. Make it a great example to follow.

© The Bellune Co. Inc.

Jerry Bellune and his family operate their own book and newspaper publishing companies. For details about his weekly Advertising and Marketing Letter, e-mail him at Jerry@JerryBellune.com.

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