7 Traits That Turn Good Event Managers Into Great Leaders

Executing a technically sound show is the rule, not the exception for event and show managers. In fact, there are so many talented people working in events, the simple act of managing an error-free (or minimal error) show is standard. But if you’re just meeting “the standard,” you’re missing an opportunity to make your work remarkable.

To do remarkable work, to be the kind of manager that people remember and want to work with again and again, you have to be an inspired and inspiring leader. You have to set the bar much higher for yourself and your team so that when clients come calling, or crew you’ve previously worked with hear of gigs, you’re the one that comes to mind. Here are 8 traits of great leaders that can help you turn standard into remarkable.

1. Control Your Emotions

If ever there was a job that required calm under pressure, event manager and production manager would top the list. When so many parts are in motion at the same time, there is bound to be conflict and adjustment. Your emotional stability can carry you through these stressful times and keep you from lashing out unnecessarily at your team.

 

2. Be Honest

Whether you are dealing with a client, a team, or a vendor, it is vital that you be open and honest at all times. First, on a personal note, event people are smart. And can spot a phony a mile away. They’ve likely worked hundreds of events, with managers just like you and can pick up on when they’re being spun. Don’t do it. Second, your honesty will only serve you. If you’re client has an unrealistic budget, tell him or her. Why hide it or make it into something it’s not? If things need to adjust on-site, tell the people affected.

 

3. Empathize

This one should be right at your fingertips. Why? Because everyone, EVERYONE working in events started somewhere at the bottom. You didn’t just become a manager overnight. You worked hard. Which means you know what your employees or hires are experiencing. You understand their troubles because you’ve likely had them, too. Your ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes can go a long way to building respect. And respect means trust.

 

4. Admit Your Mistakes

We’ve written about acknowledging mistakes before. Great leaders understand that they don’t have all the answers. And sometimes, they make decisions that don’t work out the way they hoped. Instead of trying to cover it up (See #2!) or worse, blame someone else, a great leader will take ownership of the mistake, reset, and move forward with the same determination on a new course.

 

5. Have Confidence in Yourself

This goes hand in hand with admitting faults. In fact, it takes a strong sense of self-confidence to admit a mistake and not allow it to bring down the entire event. Trust that it is your hard work and determination that has put you in a management/leadership role in the first place. Let that give you strength in your decision-making. But leave the stubbornness out!

 

6. Forgive Mistakes Others Make

Even more important than forgiving yourself is forgiving others. One look at an event planning checklist and it’s easy to see; no gig can be pulled off without some serious help. You need your team to present ideas and contribute to find the best ways to deliver for a client. The only way that will happen is if your crew feels empowered to make decisions and yes, maybe make a mistake. Mistakes are learning opportunities and it’s your job to provide positive feedback so that he or she can learn and keep growing. Don’t hold a past mistake over anyone’s head.

 

7. Love What You Do

Call it what you want: inspiration, care, passion. If you want to lead a team to its full potential, you’ve got to bring the love. Event work is hard. It’s full of ups and downs, wins and losses. And a lot of 18-hour days. If you aren’t happily living and breathing this work and sharing that love with the people at your events, how can you expect to create something remarkable?

 

 

So the next time you have a choice between “the standard” and “the remarkable,” choose the latter. It’ll be a much more enjoyable experience for everyone. Especially you.

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