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How Leaders Can Cultivate an Impressive Team, Inside and Out

Leadership in the events industry is about more than just running a business—it's about teaching and training the next generation of event professionals. Think about the mentors and managers that helped you find your foothold and grow in the industry. As a leader, you have the opportunity to serve that role for event newbies.

But, serving as a leader is about far more than simply being good at what you do. You may have the talent and the credentials, but you must also have the soft skills it takes to cultivate strong relationships and establish a company culture that is as welcoming as it is effective.

A great leader will build a great team—and that will make for a great client experience and the profits that come with it. So here's what you can do to up your leadership chops and be the person your team admires and respects.

Practice empathy.

Running a team is an act of balancing many different personalities, and a great leader is one who can put themselves in others' shoes to understand where they're coming from. When you are empathetic with your employees, you will be better tuned in to their needs and how to support them as individuals. Is someone showing signs of burnout? Does someone need extra help on a new project? Tune in, and you'll serve your team better.   

You will also establish trust, showing your team that they can come to you with questions or concerns about issues inside or outside the office. People look up to those they feel have their backs, and when you are empathetic to their needs, you will win over your team's loyalty.

Demonstrate resiliency.

In an industry established on risk management, the notable leaders are those who are prepared to weather the storm. Yet, throughout the pandemic, it has been clear that those who continue to show up—even when times are tough—are the ones who earn respect from their colleagues and grow sustainable businesses that are built to last. 

Resiliency doesn't mean you can't experience emotional reactions to hard times; rather, it's the ability to move through those feelings and commit to pushing forward one step at a time. As a leader, this shows your team that a difficult period is no reason to call it quits.

Be inclusive.

Engaged and empowered employees are those that feel involved in the business beyond their direct responsibilities. You might be the key decision-maker, but welcoming insights from your team is a great way to introduce new perspectives to the conversation. It also shows your team that you value their opinions, encouraging organizational commitment and internal harmony.

When navigating business changes, speak to your employees to gauge their thoughts about the move. For example, what qualities do you feel would be best suited for the team if you're hiring? If you're adding a new service line, how do they see it fitting into your existing business model? By including your staff in the conversation, you're showing that you consider them respected members of your team rather than day-to-day order-takers.

A great leader isn't necessarily the one who orders in lunch or lets people go home early on Fridays (although those may be signs of one!). Instead, what truly makes a great leader is one's ability to relate to their team on a human level, show them the respect they deserve, and serve as a shining example of productivity and flexibility.  


Elizabeth Sheils

Co-founder, Rock, Paper, Coin

Elizabeth Sheils is the co-founder of Rock Paper Coin, the first software platform to bring together wedding planners, couples, and vendors into one system for managing and paying contracts and invoices. Elizabeth is also a lead wedding planner with award-winning firm Bridal Bliss, where she manages the Seattle team. She was recently recognized by Special Events in its Top 25 Event Pros to Watch series.