As planners, we tend to share a love for creative control, management and oversight — traits that all lend themselves to leadership positions. As a professional in the wedding planning space, if you’re not currently in a leadership role, it’s likely that your long-term goals involve ending up in such a role at some point. But, you can’t be Beyoncé without the support of the bees (or, beyhive, we should say). Today, then, we wanted to break down six super important tips for landing that leadership role you’ve always dreamed of. So, get your sketchbook out, because you’ll likely be brainstorming ways to decorate your crown once we’re done with you.
We won’t go all Aretha on you (we bet you’re already humming the tune), but there’s a reason respect is at the top of our list. Without the trust and respect of others, you can’t lead. And, as the old adage goes, the only way to earn respect is to show it. Be generous with your time and demonstrate that you respect and value others’ contributions and ideas. Along with respect, of course, comes humility. Be humble, because no one respects arrogance.
Asking questions is the new black. People are often scared to ask questions, as they fear they’ll look ignorant, but quite the opposite is true: inquisitiveness goes hand-in-hand with intelligence. After all, people who seem to have all of the answers got them from somewhere — peers, books, articles, co-workers. Along those same lines, ask for feedback. It helps to show that you value the opinions of others, and you’re likely to learn things you wouldn’t have had you not asked. Don’t be afraid to look outside of the box for inspiration and answers, either.
Valuing the input of others is important, as is collecting feedback. But, there are times when a leader simply has to make a decision on her own. Don’t let that frighten you, but rather, embrace it. Do your homework and be prepared. That way, when you do need to make a quick decision, you’re able to do so with confidence. Along those same lines, stop starting your sentences with “This may not work, but…” or “I don’t know if this is right, but…” Be decisive in your input and stop prefacing it with disclaimers that show your hesitation.
This can be the toughest one, as it can be such a challenge to see beyond the world we’ve created in our minds. Think of your work as a picture hanging in an art gallery and remember that you are very much inside the frame. Challenge yourself to step outside of the frame every now and then. After all, how else will you see the entire picture? This means opening your mind to solutions, opportunities, challenges and ideas you wouldn’t normally think of. Listen to what others have to say and, when appropriate, let their thoughts inform your decisions. Remember to also be observant of others. Know when you’re asking too much of someone and know when you can challenge them by asking more.
Why is it that the Golden Rule is so often the easiest to forget? Say it to yourself ten times a day each morning: “Be kind.” Remember that you attract far more bees with honey than with vinegar. Mentorship falls in line with this — take people under your wing who need it and help them grow. Be a teacher to those who need guidance and listen to those who need to be heard. This doesn’t mean you should be afraid to criticize — just make sure you’re doing so in a constructive manner.
There’s no better way to wrap up our list than with gratitude. When you appreciate the efforts of others, they’ll want to continue to share their efforts with you. Show your gratitude by giving your team positive feedback as often as possible. After all, as a leader, you’re only successful if your team is.
We hope these simple tips have inspired you to grow into the best (and most effective) leader possible. Any major ones we forgot? Share them with us — we’d love to hear from you.