A Piece of Advice From Wasserman - Leadership Need Not Be So Overwhelming
Updated: Jul 28, 2020
How do you see leadership? Does it overwhelm you when you think of all the skills and strategies you think you've got to have?
Well, please don't let it overwhelm you. Stop for a second, and read about the words that Elizabeth Lindsay shared with me on a zoom call a few days ago.
I am not here to tell you how to be a leader, because many facets go into that mastery. But there is a little thing that can make a big impact on your ability to lead.
Wasserman is a sport, media, and entertainment agency. If anyone knows what Wasserman is or what they're about, you'll know that this company is unreal. Just to set the scene a little - their average yearly revenue is up to five hundred million dollars and they have one thousand employees. That's a big corporation.
For my degree, I am required to take an internship to gain experience in the field. When I approached Wasserman for the internship I had no idea the extent of what I was applying for. A month later though, I was soon to find out as I had been accepted for the internship, along with 30 other individuals.
On my first day I was - if not slightly overwhelmed - very overwhelmed. I had never done an internship... in my life. Let alone be involved in one of the most competitive internships in America.
In the introductory meetings, we met company executives, went through pitches, and synthesised through the different facets of the company.
Yes, I went to bed the first day thinking no way am I cut out for this.
As the weeks have gone by through the internship, I have found my feet (pardon the pun). Asking lots of questions and being a sponge has helped. What has been great, though, is meeting the core of Wasserman. We have been introduced, via zoom to the leaders of the company including the president, Mike Watts. He was great.
Two days ago we met another leader of the company. The President of Brands and Properties, Elizabeth Lindsay.
It was an amazing opportunity to go through a Q&A session with a woman so high up in the company.
Following a complement payed by a fellow intern, who was big-ing up her leadership skills, he asked "What has been your key to leadership?"
She answered firstly by thanking him for his compliment, then continued with something along the lines of, "You might think because I am in such a high up position that the key is something big. But honestly, it is not..."
She paused for a moment, "You need to be a nice person."
When I heard those words come out her mouth I was dumbfounded.
"You need to be decent." She continued.
Okay, so this leader, who has helped get a company to a five-hundred million dollar revenue stream is saying the key to her leadership is being nice.
I listened attentively as she continued to round out her argument, "You can have all the skills, talents, and experiences but if you can't be a nice person you will never be a leader."
The irony here is that Elizabeth Lindsay is a leader at Wasserman; the epitome of big and powerful. Yet she puts her leadership mastery down to a little thing.
Being nice is a little thing.
Be it with a high five, noticing someone's good work, or simply smiling at someone. Be nice.
Most people try to be nice every day, not to become a leader, but to just be nice. It's a human thing. We look at it as somewhat of a necessity - it is recognised arbitrarily - some people respond with a thank you or a hug others just wave it off. But when it is recognised, it fills our heart and we appreciate these moments.
But what if through being nice we could uncover more? What if the eventual response to being nice was a leadership role? Would you look at being as nice as such a little thing ever again?
Now I am not for a second saying be nice only because you want to become a leader - what comes first is being nice - making it a way of life, the rest will follow.
It is a little thing can have a big impact.
Elizabeth Lindsay has gained her title as president of brands and marketing through acknowledging the little things. As a result, she experiences appreciation, power, and control daily - and it is not just because of her title, after-all her title would not be possible without a little thing.
Her big impact would not have been possible if she had not lived, be nice.
This is not the only thing that creates a great leader, but it is one of the little things that can contribute to becoming one. Let me remind you, this is not the only reason we should be nice.
Use it on a daily basis and who knows where it will lead you first - towards a happier life - then lead others second.
You have it in you. I see it.
To be nice is a not so little thing.