Public Relations Tactics

What Do Students Expect from Leaders and Prospective Employers?

April 2, 2014

By Dick Shoemaker, PR program coordinator, Ball State University

A recent assignment for online graduate students working on a master’s degree in public relations was: “Give me a few pages on what kind of person you want to lead and work for in public relations. Why?”

This gave the students an opportunity to think about their personal leadership styles as well as strong leadership qualities and the importance of role models.

Some of their comments included:

  • “Would have great communication skills and promote teamwork — inspire followers through communications and seek participation of others.”
  • “I’d want my PR leader to possess the ability to influence leaders, peers, subordinates and stakeholders — to truly have influence in an organization.”
  • “Great PR leaders recognize how decisions within the PR department affect the organization as a whole.”
  • “Should have a good grasp on the broader picture of the organization and its environment along with appropriate skills to use that knowledge for strategy.”
  • “Be able to strategize long-term issues while being a short-term problem solver.”
  • “Willingness to help me learn. Offers a clear direction. Thought provoking. Mutual trust.”
  • “I want to work for an inspiring and effective person who is a strong decision maker, gets the job done and pushes the team to give the best of themselves.”
  • “A good practitioner does not necessarily create a good leader.”
  • “Being a good PR leader is like being a good leader in any function. We need to be able to connect with people, earn trust and advise them on how the world is shifting. Easy? No. Necessary? Absolutely.”



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