BUILDING LEADERSHIP SKILLS

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IF YOU LEAD THEM THEY WILL FOLLOW

A DIRECT UNCENSORED AND IN YOUR FACE GUIDE TO REAL WORLD LEADERSHIP

By: Bart Towler June 29, 2016

 

 

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By definition leadership takes on many roles in our day to day lives and when leadership skills are used properly they can help you achieve certain goals with the help of others.  Leadership is not for snowflakes or cupcakes so put your big girl or big boy underwear on because this is going to be a bumpy and humorous ride.

In some cases leadership, or lack thereof, can also be the downfall of the task at hand.  And it is up to you be able to understand without going overboard and coming off as a total dick in front of your crew or the client.

Lets start off with some important things to remember.  I will go into more detail about each one as this article progresses.

  • Your fate is defined by the questions you never asked.
  • Acting professional does not make you a professional. 
  • Dressing up instead of Dressing Down
  • You will gain respect when you open your damn eyes & ears. 
  • Learn to get your hands dirty before you delegate.
  • Be prepared for failure.
  • Leadership is based on the support and energy of those you surround yourself with.
  • Know your place and don’t be a twatwaffle.

YOUR FATE IS DEFINED BY THE QUESTIONS YOU NEVER ASKED

To gain true leadership skills one must ask a lot of questions before assuming the role of a leader. You should take those answers and formulate a game plan to help you become the best leader that you can be. Not asking questions will only lead you to catastrophe and a loss of respect from your peers, team members and most importantly the client.

PROFESSIONALISM

…or lack thereof is something I see almost every day.  Sometimes it makes me laugh, sometimes it makes me cring.  Sometimes it makes me think “Wow what a great job,” but more times than not it makes me want to take the so-called professional off to the side and tell them they should have had a V8.

Being a professional means communicating with your client and others so that they understand the goal that needs to be achieved. Standing around barking orders to your crew just to make yourself look good in front of the client usually ends up with everyone running around like chickens with their heads cut off and nothing gets accomplished.  Plus it makes the client second guess their choice in hiring you.

Always have a game plan. Take the time to plan out how you want to approach your goals for you, your crew and the client. Once the initial plan is in place, have a couple back-up plans just in case the others fail. When all of those fail then you move on to THINKING ON THE FLY to get the job done.

A true professional is calm, determined and collected at all times.  If you feel that urge to throttle the hell out of someone, then it is time to walk away for a few minutes to have a smoke or a soda to get your shit together and get the job done. DO NOT BE WHINEY.

DRESSING UP INSTEAD OF DRESSING DOWN

Your crew can make you or break you. There are times you need to keep them motivated and then there are times you may need to call an individual out when they do something wrong.

Rule #1 Dress them up:  Motivate them with positive re-enforcement in public to their peers when the end goal is oh-so-near and they need some encouragement to get them over that hump or they have performed a task meets or exceeds your expectations.

Rule #2 Dress them down:  When a crew member messes up there is never a need to call them out in a public forum.  At the moment it happens get off your ass and help them get the task accomplished.  Use positive re-enforcement while getting the job done.  Afterwards you take the individual aside in private and address the issue at hand.

Do this in a calm manner and reiterate your expectations of them and come to a common ground so that it does not happen again in the future.  Also calmly state that there will be consequences if it happens again.  You will gain more respect from not only them but also your crew for handling a situation with professionalism.

GAINING RESPECT BY OPENING YOUR EYES AND YOUR EARS

One should never expect their crew to respect them right off the bat.  Respect is earned by way of your actions and how you present yourself.  Pay special attention to their response when given a task.  If there is a “deer in the headlights” look on their face, then it is up to you to clarify the objective to them and assure them all will be well in the kiddie pool.  If they still have doubts, help them along until they gain the confidence to get the job done on their own. Do not push them away or you may find yourself doing this.

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Listen to the ideas of your team and utilize them whenever possible.  It may not work on that particular event but that idea may come in handy down the road.

GETTING YOUR HANDS DIRTY BEFORE YOU DELEGATE

Part of leadership is being the first to get your hands dirty before delegating tasks to your crew.  As a leader it is your job to know how to do the tasks that you are going to ask someone else to do just in case they happen to fail at completing the task.

DO NOT be a lazy ass. Lead by example.  If they do not know how to get the task done properly take it as a teaching moment and get in there with them and show them how.  But when doing so remember to use positive re-enforcement.

BE PREPARED FOR FAILURE BECAUSE SHIT HAPPENS

We all want to succeed but there are times that everything you may do just does not work. As part of your leadership skills you need to realize this and take responsibility for the failure to become a true leader.

Don’t start throwing out excuses to take the heat off of you because you fawked up – especially to a client.  Suck it the hell up buttercup.  State the facts and only the facts then apologize your ass off to the client if need be.  Use the experience as a learning tool and in the back of your mind think to yourself, “If I am lucky I am not going to fuck up gigs that are bigger than yours but I am sure it is going to happen”.

If it was an issue with the crew, you wait until you are off-site and in a team meeting to address the issue in a private setting where nobody else is around. Be calm and use the feedback from your team so that the incident never happens again.  If it is a safety issue you freaking stop everyone and address it right then and there.  Remember no yelling as this makes everyone tense and makes you look like a total dick.

LEADERSHIP IS BASED ON THE SUPPORT AND ENERGY OF THOSE WHO YOU SURROUND YOURSELF WITH

Being a true leader takes a lot of hard work on your part.  It is up to you as a leader to sit down with your crew as a whole and determine their strengths and weaknesses.  This is also a time to find out what interests they have that can be beneficial to helping everyone achieve greatness.

If a crew member is interested in the technical aspects of audio or video, then dammit encourage them to study up on it, help them find the resources to get them to the next level and while you are at it, learn how to do it with them if you don’t already know how.  Remember, if they see that you show interest too, it will point them in the right direction to strive and become more beneficial to the crew – especially if you are right there beside them learning it too.

Another very important thing to learn while dealing with members of your crew.  There is no such thing as a disability.  People who have so-called disabilities can be some of your best crew members as they have had to work very hard to relearn and overcome obstacles so that they can continue to lead productive lives in society.  Sure it can take a little more time and patience to get them where you need them to be but the end result is well worth it for everyone involved I promise.

KNOW YOUR PLACE AND DON’T BE A TWAT WAFFLE

I have lost count of how many times I have run into individuals who are in a leadership role that never know when to shut up.. They ramble on and on, you can’t get a word in edgewise while time on the clock ticks away. I have a special name for these types of people:  I call them BLABBER MOUTHED TWATWAFFLES.

Case in point: While out on tour I was the head lighting technician and crew leader of 12 lighting and staging techs. During our set up, we worked closely with the video technicians and I noticed one of the new video techs had rigged the video wall using damaged equipment that should have been thrown away.  As they were getting ready to raise the video wall I alerted the head video technician.  I got 4 words out:  “The rigging will fail…” before the head tech went into a rambling montage about how he and his crew knew what they were doing. I tried to explain what was going on but he would not shut the hell up. So me being me, I walked away slowly and pulled all of my guys from the deck and stood safely in the wings calmly as the video wall was raised into the air to trim height.

After about 10 minutes, we all watched a $100k video wall come crashing down onto the stage.  I slowly walked over to the obviously now-frazzled video tech and said, “You should have shut the fuck up when you had the chance dumbass”.  After the mess was cleaned up, the show went on without a video wall and the technician was dropped off late at night at a truck stop and told to find his own way home.

Using this example, please know when to shut up and listen to others. If you happen to pull this kind of stunt with a client you will never be hired again.  If you do this to your crew members they will quickly lose respect for you and move on to bigger and better things while leaving you pissing in the wind.

TO BE CONTINUED