By Tracy Jones
When we think of great leaders and mentors, we often look at CEOs and presidents, prime ministers and chairmen. The people we regard as mentors tend to be our bosses – people in a position of power who we admire.
There's no doubt that these people often make great role models, but you’ll often find even more valuable mentors in unexpected places. Have a good look around at the people who have made an impact on you and how you work. There’s a good chance that while some will be employers, others will be colleagues, friends, employees and acquaintances.
Great leaders are not necessarily those who have reached the position of manager or CEO. Great leaders are those who demonstrate the qualities of leadership in their everyday work.
Leaders and mentors have many qualities – vision, empathy, confidence, passion and the ability to motivate and inspire others. You may see other qualities in leaders around you.
I hear a lot about the need for public relations professionals to have a seat at the "top table". My own view is that need to make our own seat at that table.
You don't have to be the CEO to be a leader. And you don’t need an invitation to provide great advice to those who need it.
As members of the Public Relations Institute of Australia, we have already demonstrated our commitment to our profession. The next step is to show leadership to our colleagues both within and outside of the PRIA.
And don't only look up for inspiration. Once you open your eyes you can find great mentors all around you.
As published in the PRIA National Newsletter September 2009.
Tracy is national president of the PRIA