From ladder to leader – what does it take to work your way up in PR? KWT Global’s Sarah Moloney offers some advice

Never has there been a more exciting time to work in public relations. We all say it, especially those of us who’ve worked in the industry for several decades, because it’s true. Today, the opportunities are limitless giving us scope and scale that helps us bring creativity to life. As public relations continues to evolve, so do our careers – nothing stays static. For those that have set their sights on leadership, a career requires vision and an end goal.

Leadership isn’t about luck, it’s about working really hard. A career is a journey we get to navigate. Sometimes we pick the wrong paths, but inevitably, that makes us stronger and more determined. Path dependency is rather dull, so changing direction, experiencing different roles, organisations and people as you grow, only makes you more robust and set for success. For those hell bent on leadership – you know who you are – here are a few tips that might help you on your way.

It starts with ambition

It might seem obvious, but the most successful leaders are those who set their sights high from day one. With leadership there needs to be intrinsic focus and drive at each point of your career. Most leaders are those that have always had the end game insight, they are relentless at getting to each level and when they do, they look to navigate the next.

Goals are key

At each point of your career, it’s important to set your own personal goals. To work your way up effectively, you need to know where you want to be and by when. Then you need to work out how you intend to get there. You can’t rush a career, but you can plan it.

Positivity is perfect

Let’s face it, PR can be stressful and challenging. At times it can more than test our positivity. However, no one ever became really successful by viewing things negatively. The ability to sit down, reflect and reset when you’re challenged the most makes for a strong leadership trait. People like to be led by the positive, because positivity helps builds a strong working environment.

Hard work wins

PR is not easy, it’s highly consultative and competitive. Agency leaders of past, present and indeed the future, are the ones that aren’t phased by really hard work – it’s what they thrive on. Hard work translates into innovation, passion and strong measured performance, which doesn’t stop at leadership. Hard work reaps rewards no matter your level, it also accelerates your career journey.

Stay curious. Always

The people that lead and inspire us, are those that look for and soak up information. Whether it’s reading, watching or listening, the best leaders have the innate ability to wow us with their learnings. Throughout your career be wildly curious and share back. Great leaders never stop learning and never stop being curious.

Love what you do

You really have to. The only way you’ll build a fruitful career and reach a leadership position is by loving your job. The best leaders truly love what they do, their place of work and their people. When you wake up, you need to want to get up and get in. If you don’t, it’s time to set a new route that will help you continue climbing the ladder.

Football legend Pele once said: “Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice, and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.”

Written by Sarah Moloney, managing director of PR agency KWT Global


Creative Moment Awards 2020