Keeping up with a personal challenge of using sports metaphors wherever I can, I have been known to refer to Pep Guardiola when asked about who inspires me the most in my job. Pep was an inspiring team captain, a talented midfielder, an ambitious student and he is now one of the greatest (and youngest) football managers the world will ever know. But more than anything, he is a true leader. When his players were asked to differentiate his style to previous managers, they responded that, if some managers told them what to do, and some showed them how to do it, Pep always made sure they all understood why they had to do it. Sounds familiar?
The point is that if he cannot inspire me to be better at my job then I don’t know who will. I’m a bloody team captain, and I play in midfield.
As an Account Director, I’m responsible for balancing my clients’ and agency’s objectives and getting the whole team to buy into it. As a midfielder, I am perfectly placed to be at the heart of the action, being involved in every stage, from brief to delivery. My special skill isn’t about dribbling 3 defenders and lobbing the goalkeeper, but rather to know how to give an inspiring assist for our star striker to do so. I can’t exist without him and vice versa. As a team captain, my teammates come to me when something goes wrong. I am their first point of contact, relaying information as I best see fit. I am the first to motivate everyone in the dressing room and they respect me for it.
I’ve seen many types of account handlers. There’s the butler, the wannabe Art Director, the tyrant, the middleman (whose “forward” key is probably wearing out), the delegating laid-back etc.
And then there’s the leader. Then there’s Pep Guardiola.