While your technical knowledge of broadcast is a must-have to run a newsroom, other essential skills are key to running a successful newsroom. According to research with Fortune 500 CEOs by the Stanford Research Institute International, 75% of long-term job success depends on people skills while 25% depends on technical knowledge.
These skills go by different names: soft skills, essential skills, people skills. No matter the name, there’s a growing recognition that elements like leadership, culture, authenticity – the list goes on and on – are required for success. A recent survey by LinkedIn showed that 57 percent of employers feel their employees need more soft than hard skills.
As a news leader, your foundation is broad. Honing essential skills allows you to better connect with your newsroom team and with the communities you serve, building a lasting and trusted newsroom in the local news space.
Learning to thrive in the essential skills arena takes more than just a quick read of the latest leadership best seller. Investing in in-person training is high on the ROI list, but it all starts with a deep understanding of some of the traits and skills needed to put leadership into practice for your newsroom:
Emotional Intelligence: Hand-in-hand with authenticity, emotional intelligence allows leaders to connect with others in a meaningful way. Showing empathy, understanding and managing the emotions of themselves and their others, and mastering a keen perception of relationships are all essential qualities that allow leaders to develop strong and loyal circles.
Visionary: Building – and implementing – a strategic vision for your newsroom isn’t just some nice thought on your website. It should drive every decision you make, every employee you hire and every case you take on. Without it, it’s challenging to make educated decisions about what you want the newsroom to look like in the future, and nearly impossible to figure out how to get there.
Agility & Flexibility: Future workplace changes are happening at a breakneck pace. In fact, the half-life of a learned skill is just 5 years, meaning that much of what you learned 10 years ago is obsolete, and half of what you learned 5 years ago is irrelevant. Because of that, it’s essential that leaders anticipate a variety of shifts in the workplace, and not view change as a burden, but as an opportunity to grow and innovate.
Collaborative: Leaders in the workplace are stepping out from behind their office doors and learning that productivity is tied to a collaborative spirit. A heavy focus on professional development and deep understanding of employee strengths and weaknesses are both necessary to boost growth of both staff and the practice overall.
Authentic: Long gone are the days where work and personal lives are buttoned up and separate. A new generation of workforce (and clients) thrive on building personal, authentic relationships with those they work alongside and with. Showing up in a consistent way that demonstrates your values and morals, and finding a variety of ways to connect personally, will go a long way in establishing loyal employees and clients.
Culturally Intelligent: As the country grows more diverse, newsrooms must reflect that diversity in a variety of ways. A successful newsroom requires leadership adept at appreciating and leveraging differences, understanding individual perspectives and building a welcoming environment and culture for all.
Tech Savvy: Artificial intelligence, streaming, big data – technology is moving at a rapid pace, creating big ripples of change throughout every industry, especially how audiences consumer news and information. The ability to understand what technology can do for your practice is essential, and a curiosity about what’s coming next is key.