Leadership lessons from Poynter’s new program with The Association of Magazine Media

February 21, 2020

Editor’s Note:
The Poynter Institute and MPA – The Association of Magazine Media created the Poynter/MPA Executive Development Program late last year, which included a two-day career workshop in New York. This program, funded by Google News Initiative, is intended to grow the capacity of the next generation of local magazine leaders. Alison Fraser Heisler, executive leadership coach and MPA industry advocate, and Sandy Todd Webster, editor in chief of Active Interest Media’s IDEA Health & Fitness Association, wrote about their key takeaways for MPA. Below is an edited excerpt. Read the full article here>>


Strong leadership and management are critical to gaining a competitive advantage in today’s fast-paced, continuously changing and increasingly complex business environment. Driving innovation to create new revenue streams and elevate quality magazine journalism requires investment in product and in excellent talent. The Poynter/MPA workshop helped participants build professional networks, shared insights on tackling tough problems and offered resources for taking it all back to the office.

How do I effectively lead and manage through change?

That was the topic of the workshop’s most popular session, and it was a game-changer in delivering performance-driven leadership and management guidance.

Here’s this session, in a nutshell, quoting from “A Survival Guide for Leaders,” Harvard Business Review:

“Change that transforms an organization demands that people give up things they hold dear: habits, loyalties, ways of thinking. In return, they may be offered nothing more than the possibility of a better life.” — Ronald Heifetz and Marty Linsky

We must lead with can-do attitudes, create expectations that employees understand, create pride in ownership and show our teams that they are making a difference. If they don’t want to be here and be part of the team, they don’t need to stay. The same goes for us as leaders.

Key take-aways

  • Leaders talk a lot about what needs to change, not enough about why things need to change. Adults have to have a ‘why’ for the change —  to make sense of it and motivate them.
  • Adults need and want to feel competent at what they are doing. We crave success. Your team wants to be consulted. Lean on them for help and ideas.
  • We all want to find meaning in our work; it’s about our identity. Know that change threatens our identity and security.
  • Start small with a project you can build success on. Don’t tackle the mountain first.
  • We all love being on the dance floor—busting it in the thick of the crowd and excitement. Know that the balcony view is the bigger view. Take others with you to the balcony and show them what you see. Share your vision.

Leaders create change by giving context around the need to do something new and building consensus. Your job is to help others see the destination.

Read more here >>


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