Discover A New Series Investigating Event Industry Leadership

Last Updated on October 7, 2021

Everyone thinks they know what it takes to be a great leader.  We have a personality checklist:

Possess a great deal of confidence and have strong point of view. Be great at what you do, stand out from the crowd and people will follow. Good social skills are really valuable; easily form relationships with whomever you meet.

Of course, in business we look for a few tangibles:

Know how to optimize resources and delegate. Have a good head for numbers, or deep understanding of politics etc.  A business leader often has a creative outlook and a willingness to take calculated risks.

These traits all play an important role in determining one’s suitability for a leadership position.  Yet none of these traits guarantee you’ll rise to prominence in the event industry.

I should explain. Discover a new series investigating event industry leadership.

Event Industry News launched a new series earlier this month. It’s called “What Makes A Leader?”, and its creators plan to interview key figures across the events industry. Already, they’ve claimed something fairly interesting: the men and women who’ve risen to prominence in the events industry are some of the best leaders in the world.

The reason for that, explains Connor Moss, is quite simple. Most business leaders have weeks, months, or years to develop and maintain their professional relationships. Event managers do not have the luxury of time – they need to develop a motivated, professional, and engaged team in a few hours (or a few days, at most).

Event managers need to be able to lead people they don’t manage; they need to be capable of figuring out how to motivate and inspire men and women they’ve just met and barely know.

In order to accomplish this, Moss continues, an event industry leader needs four key traits:

  • Emotional intelligence
  • Belief in the abilities of others
  • Bucket-loads of optimism
  • Conviction required to see big goals realized

Excellent leaders need to understand their own inner-workings as well as they understand the people they’re working with. Great leaders have an inherent awareness of their impact on other people and an ability to use this knowledge to pull everyone in around them. Most importantly in the event industry, a strong leader is required to do all this with a degree of rapidity many industries never demand. Therefore, leaders born out of the events industry are, according to Moss, some of the best he’s ever met.

The logic of this leadership theory should make a lot of sense if you follow this and other event industry blogs. People can’t work with a boss who’s unwilling to trust them, and events don’t happen if bosses don’t delegate. A manager who flies off the handle when a small mistake is made isn’t likely to lead successfully under serious pressure. People aren’t inspired to follow an unmotivated leader.

Mega-events have hundreds of moving parts and a great event manager must love the challenge and inspire everyone around them to take pride in what they’re about to tackle.

At the end of the day, Connor Moss’ study confirms our belief – your job as an event planner is only half about managing events. The other half is managing people. If you can master managing people, and then get the logistics even half as right as you get the people-part, you’re well on your way.