Leadership skills are not something you learn one day, or one week, and then put in your pocket for future use. They’re not something you set aside on your desk to refer to once in a while. They’re not to be dismissed lightly, though so many of us do without meaning to.
I read a good bit. I think many of you do, also. What do you read? Just blogs? Blogs about pets? Blogs about pet health and welfare? Blogs about social media? Blogs about bettering your social media skills (this blog?)? How many read magazines online – magazines dealing with leadership and training in business success?
I do. This post was inspired by an article I read on Forbes.com. Author Glenn Llopis shared his thoughts on “The Most Undervalued Leadership Traits of Women”, which I found so compelling, I had to write a post about it and share what I think are the important leadership skills to blogging your business, the ones relevant to bloggers like us. Why? Because we don’t accomplish goals and rise to the level of success we desire without understanding a little about leadership and how it influences everything we do.
Llopis starts his article saying, “Like many who grow up with a Hispanic upbringing, I was surrounded by strong-willed, hardworking and purpose-driven women.” Note the active verbs and the power driven description. I submit that many of us had similar experiences, not only surrounded by women like those Llopis describes, but by men – fathers, uncles, brothers – who were influential as teachers, cheerleaders, and even critical thinkers. In essence, our life experiences do lend themselves to our success or failure. Having great supporters back home, doesn’t hurt, I agree, yet, in the end, it’s up to us to choose success.
Let’s talk now about the leadership skills I gleaned from Llopis’s article and what I think is important in bringing leadership skills to blogging your business. This list is taken from his content, not from the list he created. So, don’t expect to find the following numbered list in his post. But, do read his post.
In the order I believe they belong, and you may not…but, this is my post so I get to call the shots:
Ten Leadership Skills All Bloggers Need
They value family.
As we know, with pet bloggers, pets are family. Generally speaking, pets are family everywhere. Most people today consider their dog, cat, fish, ferret, guinea pig, chicken, whatever… a member of their family. And they value that connection. The saying, family comes first, is all important. Because family does come first. Make sure you’re true to that.
They are always authentic.
Yes, we’ve said this before. We can’t say it enough. “In a world where you can be anything, be yourself.” So says Etta Turner. Be yourself. Trying to be someone else is so taxing and exhausting, why bother? Unless you’re going to be in the next Star Wars movie, or remaking Lassie Come Home. Then you can be someone else. For a little while.
I’ve been advising this for over 10 years! Back in my earliest days of blogging I said people should collaborate! If you create scarves, work with a brand that sells shoes. If you offer social media training, work with a brand that offers business skills. It’s all about what WE can do together. Think outside your comfort zone and consider your options. Be creative.
They Listen! Mind you, this is not just with their ears.
The kind of listening required to succeed in a blogging your business comes from paying attention to comments on posts, social media mentions and shares, and actual talk you participate in at networking events. Less talk, more open listening. Open listening means not preparing your response to the conversation while the other person is talking. Allow her to make her point, keeping your mind on her comments, not on what you want to rebutt, and you will be practicing open listening.
They live to solve problems!
Let’s elaborate on the problem solving. Here’s how this works: A great mentor of mine taught me that you can’t solve a problem for someone who isn’t interested in the solution. Actually, what he said was, “Most people prefer a problem they can’t solve to a state-of-affairs they can’t imagine.” In other words, if they don’t like the solution, they’ll keep the problem. For us, as bloggers, the goal is to offer the right solution, which means knowing what the problem is. At BlogPaws, the problem is education. We knew our bloggers wanted to learn, but there was nowhere online or offline for them to learn. So, we started the conference and recently we launched the Social Learning Community. Problem – Solution. What’s yours?
They invest in themselves.
There are several kinds of investments necessary to demonstrate leadership in your blogging business. The first is in time. Blogging takes time. Yes, you may pre-schedule, but even then, the pre-scheduled post needs to be relevant and necessary. All of your content must show effort. In the early days, we often did a paragraph about a story with a link, and it was acceptable. Not so today. Today, you need to put in the time and the effort to show you’re serious about your work. Your next investment is … yes, you guessed it, money. Money for the right tools, money for the right support (a VA perhaps?) and money for the right events. It’s hard to accomplish things without a budget of some sort, even when you’re starting out. Boot strapping is a popular term and gets a lot of press, but even people who boot strap their business know they need to have a budget of some sort.
They learn and adopt new ideas!
I’m going to let you write this one. Where do you find your ideas? How do you ‘adopt’ them? The world is desperate for new ideas! Bring ’em on! I know you have them.
They value respect above recognition.
This one could actually be higher up. It speaks to the value of authenticity and being humble. If you’re only in it for the money (show me the money!), you’re not demonstrating leadership. Yes, for us here at BlogPaws, a for-profit company, we need to see the money. But, that’s entirely different from being in it for the money. We work hard to spend time learning, being authentic, and investing in ourselves. We appreciate family above all else, and love to collaborate. We search for new ideas and study how to adopt them, often. We like to solve problems and we’re working on our listening skills. These are the things we think will show the world, not just pet bloggers, but the whole world, that we deserve respect. No one at BlogPaws wants to walk into an airport and be instantly recognized. But, we do want our community to say, “Yes, BlogPaws offers me value both online and offline.” That’s respect.
They accept challenges.
Oh, I don’t just mean the challenge of getting work done when kitty or puppy or pet-of-choice is nudging your elbow for attention. I mean, challenges like a bad cold – do you work through it or go back to bed? (going back to bed might be the answer there, just saying) Challenges like … a check is late and the light bill is due. Tricky. Challenges like … your family doesn’t get it – they think blogging is a hobby, not a business. Is it your job to inform them, educate them, teach them? Maybe. Maybe not. The issue is meeting challenges head on and finding your solution. Never accept the status quo. If there is a challenge, or a problem, there is solution. Accept it – even if it’s one you don’t like. Llopis says of the women he writes about, “Their passionate pursuits allow them to become potent pioneers of new possibilities.” Doesn’t that apply to us, as bloggers, also?
Oh, this one is tricky. Because, we know studies show that multi-tasking is bad. Bad. BAD. Don’t do it! Well, you can do it. Just be selective. I’m writing this blog post while listening to the news (and pausing to eat scrambled eggs for breakfast). I am also listening to my Olive run about the house, knowing that in a few minutes I will have to stop and calm her down. My brain is allowing me to multi-task because I’m not taxing it with too many details. I am NOT listening to or thinking about email. Nope. That can wait. I am NOT answering the phone. That can wait. It pays to understand what you can do, with what, and how much time/effort needs to be involved, when you multi-task. There is a learning curve. Take it.
We could write a book, you and I, citing 100 Leadership Skills Needed to Make Successful Blogging a Profitable Business (say that 3x fast!), but for now, today, let’s review the ones here, and consider how they can help us achieve more and be more, as we work to show the world the power of the pet blogger.
If you’re with me, you should register for the 2017 BlogPaws conference. Early bird pricing will be flying away soon!
Yvonne DiVita is a Co-Founder of BlogPaws. She is dedicated to storytelling and the human-animal bond. When not working on BlogPaws, she writes at Scratchings and Sniffings and The Lipsticking Society. You may contact her at Yvonne@blogpaws.com.