Leadership In The Moment


Challenging times demand strong leadership no matter what business you are in and our business needs great leadership in all facets of our business. Here are some thoughts on the type of leadership great managers deliver that hopefully will inspire you.

My old friend Chuck Knight has always demonstrated great programming leadership and he says: “Be a leader. Don’t get too high during the highs, too low during the lows. Ask questions of your listeners. Respect their answers. Develop a plan to give them what they want. Pay attention to detail. Value and work with talented people. A Brand Manager is an artist with a blank canvas. Hear it in your mind. Continually coach specifics. Give your people your time. Have regular meetings. A leaders job is really about giving your team confidence. Dream. Have fun. Always be honest.” What a great series of thoughts from someone I know lives and breathes his words because of his love for our business.

Matt Basile has spent many years around our business and was one of the earliest digitally focused specialists that I observed and worked with years ago. Matt has a beautifully simplistic view of leadership traits of great managers: “One doesn’t need a title to be a leader. I’ve always gravitated towards those who aren’t afraid to roll up their sleeves and get dirty. Someone who walks the talk and does what they say they will do. As a leader, I always try to be honest, fair and genuine. Everyone on your team is an individual and may be motivated by something completely different than another team member. A good leader recognizes that and knows how to communicate in such a way that inspires and encourages team members to achieve success.”

Matt’s mention of genuine authenticity as a leadership trait is key in a hyped up world that we live in. When I brought up via Linked In that I was looking for input on great leadership traits I heard from a bunch of on-air talent who weighed in with there perspective: and seeing the potential of who the next “stars” are.

John Willis who has worked in Boston Radio for many years and currently anchors for Total Traffic says “A good manager is focused, stays on message and can easily communicate with the staff. They stay positive and consistent in their demeanor. They are always willing to listen and are open to suggestions and ideas. They support their staff at every turn and are willing to invest in their success.”

Roxanne Steele who is on air for Cumulus Detroit highlighted some of her best managers and their leadership traits: “The best managers I’ve worked for were Todd Cavanah and Dave Robbins in Chicago, and Tim Roberts in Detroit. They always communicated with me personally so we knew where we stood as a company and where we were going. It’s truly the key to success! Also honesty. If you can’t be honest and share feedback(good or bad)you can’t grow. Having compassion and showing your employees you care goes a long way.”

I’m so glad in particular that Roxanne highlighted the late Dave Robbins because I also witnessed first hand how he loved his craft and practiced great leadership as well. It was a mission for Dave Robbins!

Shawn Tempesta who is on-air for Entercom also weighed in as well: “In my opinion great leaders are accountable. They don’t project failures on other around them. Great leaders don’t wait for others to take the first step. They take bold action and act in discovery and desire to reach higher heights-not fear of an idea not working. Great ideas un-tapped are a massive waste. Honest is integral. Be a straight shooter. Don’t sugarcoat or beat around the bush. If you lose trust, you lose everything.”

Honesty is a key theme here as you can clearly see. We’ve all heard the comment over time in our business that “for being in the communication business we don’t communicate well” and on air talent Marissa Lanchak adds “communication, consistency and building a spirit of great team work” are important leadership attributes.

Tim Moore is an SVP at iHeart and he crystalized things nicely from a managers perspective-“ Leaders need to set an example by being willing to dive in and work at day to day tasks that used to be delegated. I think that open communication-including the big picture stuff that is often withheld from the troops is critical. Never has hiring been more critical and retention of exceptional people been more vital along with seeing the potential of the “stars” in their formative stages “

Lastly, my view on leadership is that these are all great words that MUST be backed up by actions. DWYSYWD=Do what you say you will do remains an important guiding force for the present and the future.

Buzz Knight is the CEO of Buzz Knight Media and can be reached by e-mail at [email protected]


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