Unit 2.A

Reflections on qualities needed to be a leader

I have been on the Sour Lemons Creative Leadership programme for almost a year and on this journey and programme has taught me a lot about leadership and what it looks like in different organisations. I understand that every leader has different qualities that make them unique but there seems to be certain elements that are consistent across the board of good leaders. Firstly, I have learnt the different between people that are leading and those that are leaders. Leaders support, motivate and galvanise those that they work with. Another important quality of a strong leader is that they lead from the front and the back. At the front they give direction and knowledge then get behind their team to support, collaborate, and organise. The four qualities I have identified is needed to be a good leader goes as follows [this by no means encompasses everything but these are very important from what I have learnt and observed]
Gratitude. A good leader understands that they can’t do it alone and are grateful for the team around them that supports them and works towards a common goal. Usually the vision of the leader that they also share. A good leader shows gratitude to their team members often and in a meaningful way. For example, highlighting achievements of induvial team members, giving credit where due and appreciating the different perspectives and ways of working each person brings.
Strong and Clear communicator. An effective leader is able to get across an idea, mission or purpose clearly and effectively. In a way that resonates and connects with people but can also be easily understood. They want their ideas to be easily accessible and use simple and straightforward language to get ideas across without dumbing it down.
Knowing when to delegate. An effective leader fully understands their strengths and is hyper aware of their weaknesses (which they work towards strengthening where helpful) and more importantly know the strengths of their team members. A good leader understands that to maximise their time and their strengths they need to delegate to someone who has a developed skill in the area they require help in.
Self-awareness. A good leader is someone who is well connected and in touch with their team. Understanding their teams wants and needs and how work or a project might affect them. Empathy ties into this. A leader understands the power dynamics between them and their team and works towards making team members and their ideas feel validated. They do not pretend this power dynamic doesn’t exists as it only further highlights it.   

A description of the project, it’s aims and desired outcomes:

This can be found in my project plan in Unit 2.B

A description of my role and the leadership skills I want to develop    

For this commission project I will have to take on multiple roles to achieve the goals of my project. They are: Creative Director, Project Manager, PR and Marketing Strategist and Producer. I will need to be all of the above to ensure the project and promotion of it goes smoothly. Doing all of those roles well will ensure my project has a legacy. The leadership skills I would like to develop is: Delegation, Clear communication skills and Creative problem solving.  
As the creative director and producer, I will develop the skills of clear communication and creative problem solving. Examples of duties that will display this skill include, creating a brief for the models, communicating with the creative team before the shoot and on the day to ensure that everyone knows what is happening. As a creative director, my clear communication skills will be very important in helping my team and participants to understand the collective vision of the shoot and project and I will make sure to use my communication skills to ensure everyone is on board and believes in the vision. Furthermore, to develop my creative problem-solving skills I will taking a design thinking approach to problems I encounter during the execution of my project. Given we are in a global pandemic, I will make sure to thoroughly consider all the relevant safety approaches I need to take and what changes to my project will need to take place to keep everyone safe. As a project manager, I will develop my delegation skills by thinking about what my key strengths and weaknesses are and delegating tasks that I’m not good at or I don’t have time for. I can’t be everywhere, doing everything all of the time so I will need help for certain tasks and I plan to ask for volunteers and hire people for relevant parts of my project such as a photographer. All the above will help develop my leaderships skills by giving me a chance to practise all of those skills on a small scale, consider my key learnings from them and apply them to bigger project in the future.  


How my role relates to the roles of others

  • There will be a photographer hired for the shoot and they will require creative direction and clear communication from me on the creative vision for the shoot and the timelines for the project so they can deliver what I need.
  • I will be using models/participants for the shoot and the writing of words for the publication. My role as creative leader is to brief the models on how I would like them to pose, dress and answer the questions I have set them.
  • All people involved in this project will be paid and as the leader it will be my job to ensure timely payment of invoices and expenses.

Plans for monitoring progress and collecting feedback

To monitor my progress, I will:
Check my production timeline often to ensure I am on track with the goals set
Create a mission statement of values that I refer back to at each step to ensure I infuse them into every part of the project
Have an external evaluator that will view my commission plan and check in regarding progress of goals and mission set
To collect feedback, I will:
Create a google form that I will send to everyone involved in my project asking for feedback on my performance and whether they think I met their expectations as it pertains to the outcomes of the shoot and their participation.
Share social media analytics and comments on how people perceived the work and message.

My mission statement for my project and commission:

I want to create and execute the Black women @ Rest project in an efficient, safe and easy-going way. I want everyone involved to feel properly briefed and able to carry out their duties and for people to be excited for the outcome.