Leadership Advice

What brings managers joy: ‘Run through walls’

Advice from Jill Geisler, Bill Plante Chair in Leadership & Media Integrity, Loyola University Chicago and Freedom Forum Fellow in Women’s Leadership

People are usually promoted to management because they’ve done well at their frontline jobs. But what made them good reporters, photographers or producers doesn’t necessarily make them good managers. It takes a whole different set of skills to excel as a leader, many of which they have to develop on their own: strategizing, coaching, motivating, providing feedback, resolving conflicts, and making tough ethical and personnel decisions. 

With all that on their shoulders, what parts of their jobs bring the most joy? It varies from person to person, but here’s what I learned when I put out a call on social media, asking managers to tell me what makes them happy.

“I love seeing what great things can happen when someone, or a team I’m managing, is trusted to do what they do best. It’s so fulfilling to achieve a common goal that accompanies individual and team growth. Personally, I also love learning from those I manage. They challenge my thinking and make me better in constructive ways.” — Kelsey Proud, Managing Editor, Digital at WAMU

“News Managers have two jobs. Keep the story straight and simple, and motivate your team to run ‘through’ walls. Running ‘around’ walls means avoiding something. If they are great, they will face and deliver a challenging question every single day. Directly through the wall. If this job is too easy, you are not doing it right.”— Benjamin Price Hart, News Director, WISN-TV, Milwaukee

“I think management is twofold. It’s helping young journalists grow in all aspects of the job according to the various titles and positions. But it’s also helping them grow as people. Instructing them in ways that grow their confidence in themselves, and helping them learn what it means to feel strong in their own decisions and instincts. It’s caring about the person and the profession.” — Traci Wilson, Manager, 8 News Now, Las Vegas

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