February 10, 2014

Autocratic vs Democratic Leadership

During our date night Saturday, Jrex helped me clarify my thinking in terms of how I see myself as a leader and what my vision is for running a creative department.

We were discussing my recent job interview with Christian Agency. It went fine, but he asked me a few questions that were getting at what my vision is for running a department. I felt like I didn't have one! All my answers were tactical vs big picture (a tendency I have anyway. Too pragmatic...).

As I told Jrex, "I feel like I'm more reactive than proactive in terms of vision. On FB, it's rare that I initiate a hilarious post, but I can be funny in reaction to someone else's post. With clients, I don't come in ready to tell them how it should look, rather I trust that as we talk, we'll find that vision together and then I'll help mold it into a viable solution. For a team, I want us to do the thinking together and then I'm happy to be the one who sells it to the client and comes back to interpret for the team.

Jrex then put it this way, "You do have a vision. However, it's not an autocrat who comes in to dictate the way it should be. Rather you envision a democratic process where the group is involved and then you make the final decision. You don't want to be the one with the vision who then has a crew of robots cranking it out. You are comfortable being surrounded by a strong team and helping to channel their energy and creativity in strategic directions."

I keep selling myself short by thinking that I'm not the big idea person therefore I'm not really a Creative Director. Someone I respect at my current job told me I was full of it, and Jrex agreed. I keep thinking that in order to be a CD, I need to have the big picture (which seems to mean being an Autocrat in my head) and I'm completely uncomfortable with that idea.

Perhaps it's a piece of the old and new overlapping. Old school advertising and marketing was/is driven by a male model for the BIG sell/pushiness whereas I think my generation and younger are more driven by consensus, involvement and authenticity. The current leadership in most agencies is still somewhat informed by the old model, which doesn't fit who I am or how I lead a group.

I'm also thinking that I need to accept the gift I'm being given to regroup, rethink and re-envision what I want to be doing professionally. I've just been trying to get a new job without really considering where I want to end up in 5-10 years. So, it's back to my Dad's question, "If you were guaranteed $100,000/year the rest of your life, what would you do?"

1 comment:

Jack Towe said...

As I have experienced myself, Jrex is a skilled counselor.