Leadership is an action, not a Role

Earlier this year I had the chance to go to the Director’s Guild Awards with my husband (A show he worked on was nominated for an award).  The first speaker at the event was the President of the Director’s Guild. He knew there were new directors in the audience who had never been to a show like this before and were nominated for the first time. He could’ve used his time to talk about himself or his latest projects, but instead he used his time to set the stage for these new directors.

 He gently lead the audience through how to accept an award, saying things like, “If I were winning for the first time, the most important thing I would do would be to thank my family and the people who got me here.”

Families are often put on the back burner when a crew has to go out and shoot for 2 or 3 months straight and can’t make it home. Or they’re living on pennies because all of their money is tied up in making a movie. They go through so many challenges. They stay through the tough times, and they deserve to share in the good ones. 

 Sometimes on set, your crew starts to feel like your family too. And when a movie is great, it is because the director or the show runner communicated his/her vision with every person on the set, so everyone had the chance to do his or her best to bring that vision to life. The leader gave respect, love and care to the crew, and in response the crew showed up, gave it their all, and created the best possible product.  Well, that’s what happens in the entertainment industry.

 What about our companies, the world outside of the entertainment business?

 Let’s acknowledge the families of the people who work with us. Kids who sometimes miss out on having their parents at their games or theater performances. Wives and husbands who can’t make it home in time for dinner some nights. A strong family and healthy home life makes a difference in our workers’ work. As leaders, we should take responsibility in creating a culture that respects and acknowledges the families of our fellow workers.

 If we want to be strong leaders in business, we need to remember to acknowledge each and every person who is a part of the team, not just the people who give you money. The receptionist who shows up to greet visitors.  The customer service representatives who handle complaints. These people are just as much the face of your company as the sales representatives. Show everyone that what they do, no matter how big or small, is important. And don’t forget to thank them in your award speeches!

Thank you to my coworkers and their families, my mentors, and my family for helping me be the best version of myself everyday.