Leadership goes well beyond delegation

Tour Guide's UmbrellaEvent Industry News have recently launched a new series exploring leadership in the events industry and topic one in this was emotional intelligence.  Without doubt, the events industry presents significant leadership challenges but are they massively different to any other sector?

It is true that we are often leading or being part of teams of suppliers or freelancers and therefore leading people who we don’t directly manage, therefore needing to develop a high level of emotional intelligence and capacity to work with people who have different perspectives.  Often over time, there develops a hierarchy that is based on experience, contacts and confidence which can be a pleasure to work in with positive banter and a shared understanding of how we all work but can also be exclusive and can present significant barriers to entry for new employees.

These teams are highly effective at getting the job done and for those within them, often offer an opportunity to develop skills by learning from others. However, these close knit teams also suffer from ‘groupthink’ where they all think and respond in very similar ways. It can be great to have your ways of thinking endorsed by this mentality but it also restricts creativity and potentially improvements or efficiencies. With these close team/supplier relationships it can be difficult to raise issues, difficult to change culture and difficult to adapt to different circumstances.

So the leadership challenge is more than just managing people who aren’t employed by our respective businesses or managing teams of suppliers but rather about ensuring that whoever is involved is supported and engaged in both the team and the output. This is not an easy task and is made more challenging when we, as event managers, have a job that is much more than only managing people.

So is this unique to the events sector? I would suggest that there are various other professions where you find high performing, multiple disciplinary teams such as in the armed forces, professional kitchens, tall ships, Motorsport teams….and in sport of course. So well done Germany – another example of a high performance team!

And in mentioning Tall Ships, here is a reminder that the 2014 Tall Ships race starts from Falmouth at the end of August with both water and shoreside activities and entertainment, including the finale of Ping! Cornwall. Hope to see you there!

Claire Eason Bassett, Managing Director, Mackerel Sky


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