Senior PR pros must help their young teams grow
10th April 2015
Surveys across the world list PR amongst the top stressful jobs in the world, infact more stressful than our primary stakeholder, newspaper reporters. Erratic work hours, confusing briefs, impossible deadlines, thankless clients, useless nudging, unrealistic expectations are among many aspects of PR profession which need an overhaul. I pick to choose one that is the easiest to change, the way you deal with your subordinates. Has it been adding to the overall stress?
Picture an operation theatre with a heart transplant in progress. In the room full of tension, the surgeon demands equipment and the assistant panics, should the doctor start yelling in the OT or help the assistant help him.
Now picture a commander yelling at his troops as they face fire from the other side. Shouting and yelling at war time is routine but rarely helps, a well thought-out strategy might.
Also picture a serious courtroom drama, when the judge counter questions every appeal you have made. The paralegal if confused too, will it be wise to fire the scared paralegal?
We crib about how vague the brief from the client is. Clients do not know anything and they cannot do without us is a common rant. How often do the seniors in PR profession bother to sit and explain the situation to their subordinates? Or rather how many times, the seniors have a minute to explain the situation and not do it themselves. Is it not easier than explaining a naive junior? This needs to change.
There are numerous young guns that complain and bitch about their bosses, the moment they can catch their breath. As a matter of fact, the favourite pass time of many in the PR profession is to crib, curse the seniors. The young ones cannot fathom the strain amongst the superiors and the seniors can never get over the naivety of the young ones. One easy solution to get over stress is to discuss the problem and work towards the solution as a team.
One needs to realise that in our profession, everyone is equal. The only differentiator between a senior and a subordinate is the number of years of professional experience. A young gun can deliver too, provided he is guided well. As young guns cry managing the endless sheets of dossier work, seniors cringe every time a client brings up inadequacies. There never is any applause for endless hours of work. Appreciation mails are rare and the sole source of inspiration in otherwise stressful monotonous routine leading to damaging attrition.
The point is nobody is going to help you, but your young PR team members. There is no way you can have differences within your small regiment. When the other side starts bombarding you with work, the coordination between you and your small troop is the only way out.
Once again, it is the responsibility of seniors to set things right. Start with dropping the anger, frustration and listen to the issues of the young ones patiently without pointing out the obvious solutions. You need to share your knowledge and support. Your relations across stakeholders will only grow if you add your subordinates to the family. Give the young guns some space and trust them. Helping them grow will only help you grow. Help them help you.
Sumit Singh Jamwal is account director, BFSI practice, Adfactors PR