Thriving in today’s workplace as a change leader

Leadership in today’s workplace serves multiple functions and, one could argue, audiences. In an environment where well-educated, bright young workers learn on the job, leadership serves the dual function of coach/mentor.

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When experienced team members contribute decades of professional wisdom and a lifetime of knowledge, leadership offers a guiding opportunity to shape future generations through positive example, thereby engendering new leaders. As Huffington Post suggests, there is a distinct set of characteristics that set the best bosses apart with honesty, precise delivery and composure being among them.

Often in the workplace, whether agency or client-side, leadership is not always in evidence. Lack of direction, toxic behaviors, organizational disarray and lack of streamlined communication among the team are only a few roadblocks.

As highlighted in Psychology Today, many have felt the effects brought on by the “nastiness of their environment” as according to the article, toxic behavior is quite common in the workplace. People often feel pressured to succumb to the volatile ways of those within their work setting exhibiting this behavior however it is pertinent to immune oneself by limiting your reactivity to those individuals.

When group dynamics devolve into this territory, a kind of stasis is created that outside consultants are called in to bridge.

Mitigating deeply ingrained behavioral patterns and solving problems is what smart strategists and creative PR practitioners are hired to remodel, reposition and ideally, to solve.

Harvard Business Review shares interesting insights into evolving the mental model in tandem with the business model. By pushing and encouraging your team to experiment and take risks, a successful leader is able to foster an environment that not only allows failure and mistakes but encourages it this trial and error process.

It is almost always the case that clients within this scenario project their deepest aspirations and desire for success upon an agency.

In repeated cases of transference, these individuals and teams can wildly overshoot their expectations, into the realm of complete fantasy. Repositioning is paramount in these cases.
Conversations may become heated, so it’s essential to cut through the noise to what’s really important. Creating a mutual definition of what success looks like is a start.

Playing the blame game is the opposite strategy to this ongoing workplace challenge. Inc. shares some thoughts on this topic. One of the single most motivating tactics is to grant team members who are deserving, a raise. What happens when this is not financially an option? Instead of allowing the negative news that increased monetary compensation is out of the question, a wise leader offers alternative accolades such as free health-club memberships or tickets to an experience they enjoy as a way to reinforce that their performance is valued.

In these instances it is mission critical for the consultant, agency or PR pro to take a step back, assess the parameters of an assignment or purview, and manage the relationship from a change management perspective. Travis Bradberry, author of the popular book, ‘Emotional Intelligence’, outlines several of the biggest morale killers within the workplace for a team and their leader. By overworking and withholding praise from your teams, nothing but a sense of demotivation occurs.

Fascinating recent studies by Thrive Global among many others, point to the significance of leaders demonstrating successful behaviors through actions rather than words, creating dynamic work cultures in the process. By setting goals that exceed your current capabilities, having a clear and concise target and choosing simplicity over complication it is certain your mindset and behavior will spill over to your team.

Further reading for workplace challenges and skilled leadership solutions may be explored in the new book ‘How Emotions Are Made’ by Lisa Feldman Barrett [HMM imprint 2017].

In conclusion, what makes a great leader impactful and unforgettable? The ability to affect change and as suggested here, lead a team to its full potential takes passion, patience and a collaborative mentality.


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Courtney Lukitsch

Courtney Lukitsch

Courtney Lukitsch is Founder and Principal at Gotham PR, with offices in in New York and London.


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