By Meghan Fintland, PRSA Silicon Valley Board Member
This year marks my 20 year anniversary of working in PR. Wow, have times changed!
Over two decades, I’ve been fortunate to work at agencies and corporations, both large and small across the technology, healthcare, automotive, and financial industries. I’ve experienced many events outside my control that have been critical to the PR profession and overall economy—the Dot com turned to dot bomb, print to online journalism, the 2008 financial crisis and today, the threat of the Coronavirus, to name a few.
One area that continues and must evolve due to multigenerational workforces as well as past, present and future events is leadership. I’ve been part of many trainings, some boring, some fascinating.
Today, I am fortunate to be working at a company that is investing in its leaders through a brand new Leadership Development Program (LDP). I am part of a program that is discovering, redefining, expanding, and accelerating its leadership. Through online and in person sessions, I have joined dozens of other leaders as well as C-level executives— including our CEO—in participating in exceptional learning opportunities.
My biggest surprise thus far is learning that I am in fact an Accidental Diminisher. As identified by The Wiseman Group—a talent development and research organization headquartered in Silicon Valley—an Accidental Diminisher is where your “current, well-intended management practices might actually be having a diminishing effect on your team.” Even more so, I am an Accidental Diminisher with an Optimist Tendency.
When I uncovered this so called weakness, my initial reaction, “isn’t being an optimist a good thing?”
I’ve always prided myself on being an optimist. I’d tell my teams, “we can get through anything,” and “This is PR not ER.” What I didn’t realize till LDP is that this type of rosy leadership can actually have the opposite effect. Individuals will wonder if I really appreciate the struggle and the possibility of failure.
I’ve learned that I must reevaluate my approach. I’ve committed to taking a step back before I share my endless positivity, my Ra Ra Ra cheer to get the job done. I need to better understand how much work it will take to accomplish a given goal and then need to communicate that to my team while also reiterating that success is never guaranteed. What I need to do…be more of a realist when leading others while at the same time understanding the struggle it takes for everyone. Ultimately, avoid the spin.