The Matrix of Leadership, Part III

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You have successfully established your leadership and now have a hardworking crew behind you that trust you and know you are as mindful of their roles and efforts and they are aware of your responsibilities.

You have invested in your department heads and created a strong command structure that can field the daily challenges, accomplish their individual tasks, and keep things afloat should you be temporarily absent form the helm of the project.

The only remaining thing is to make sure you are up to the task. Charisma and presence go a long way in helping you become a leader, but you really have to do your homework to become an efficient one.

PREPARE

Whether you are directing, producing, or heading up the catering department, scheduling study sessions ahead of time (and on off hours if possible) can really make a difference. Be ready to answer technical questions and give clear, concise direction when delegating tasks. Don’t be afraid to learn a little bit about the other departments as well as having related knowledge will help you understand what challenges your colleagues are facing. Make notes, record memos if you have to.

LIKE A STONE

Film sets often breed a kind of collective stress derived from fatigue and anxiety over deadlines and technical difficulties. As a leader you will naturally experience stress, perhaps on a greater scale than any other individual there, but you cannot allow your emotions to get the better of you.

Despite popular stereotypes involving temperamental directors and rabid producers, this kind of reckless abandon of emotional integrity can perhaps be the most destructive force on a production.
Losing your cool will immediately send shockwaves through the ranks and potentially throw the whole project of its axis.

Confront problems, regardless of their severity, with a cool head. Remember that people are counting on you to guide the ship into the harbor, and if you freak out then don’t be surprised if the crew begin to make for the lifeboats. If things get really bad, take a moment and find a nice quiet place where you can take 5 mins to clear your mind, or better yet, bring your assistant with you and use this time to vent a little. Who knows, you may stumble upon a solution or two.

In the end leadership is about creating a model in your mind of the kind of leader that you would gladly follow, and to search within yourself for those qualities and attitudes. It’s ultimately about being strategic, compassionate, firm, dedicated, and confident in your ability to bring out the best in others.

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