Imagine for a second you are a director of a movie franchise that spans across a decade. You have assembled a formidable team of actors and crew members. Together you created a product that will endure with people for the rest of their lives. Now, in terms we can all understand, you are the new leader in your field, and you need to steer your peers and followers to greatness.
Being the person in charge of an empire franchise is no easy feat. There are many moving parts. A lot of people are looking to you for guidance and watching your every move. To help first-time leaders create an epic blockbuster and appropriate their cast and crew effectively, here are 7 tips to help unleash the inner Spielberg in you.
1. Direct – do not dictate.
A good director will trust the cast and crew to make the right decisions on their behalf. They will direct, but they will not dictate every minute detail.
Over to you: Leadership means protecting our own, allowing each team member to hone their own skills, make mistakes and learn. Creativity takes collaboration, not a dictatorship.
2. Focus on the bigger picture.
A film director crafts, shares, and steers the overall vision of the film. If the cast and crew get a clear north star and expectations, they will all deliver.
Over to you: Don’t get too fixated on the small things. It doesn’t matter how good those little details are if they don’t work together to create a coherent business vision.
3. Utilise the cast and crew.
The director, with his team, assembles a great cast and crew for every single movie. Together they choose each individual carefully. Every person, in turn, brings their own uniqueness and style to their own role. They are there for a reason – to play their part.
Over to you: You have a great team now – use them. Focus on individual strengths, give credit where credit is due. Every single team member wants to leave their stamp on the project. Let them!
4. Make suggestions.
Directors often have to check in with actors to ensure they are keeping with the movie’s tone. They make suggestions to align the acting with the vision of the film.
Over to you: Any profession, as with acting, is a craft, which lends itself to critique. Never make it personal. Discuss how to improve, make suggestions and be open to other interpretations.
5. Direct face-to-face.
The relationship between the director, actors, cast members, and crew is paramount. They spend quality time with each department for the success of the overall movie.
Over to you: Open a dialogue with your partners and supporters. Engage and talk about their vision, not only for the project but for their own goals. If a question pops up, give guidance. Check-in and check-in often.
6. Use your assistant directors.
Directors can’t do everything. When the whole team is on board with the film’s direction, the director will check in with the assistant directors to see if they are on track to realise that goal.
Over to you: Delegate, empower and hand over duties to others. It is time for them to shine with new responsibilities. We will all make mistakes. We learn, and we grow together.
7. Watch more movies.
Directors consume more movies than the average folk. They watch to learn, watch to teach, watch to investigate and watch to improve. These improvements will shine through in the next film. Every director knows that you are only as good as your last movie.
Over to you: Be a champion for self-improvement. The more you communicate what you know and don’t know, the more gaps get filled with your team’s knowledge.
Spielberg once said, “All through my career, I’ve done what I can to discover new talent and give them a start.” As a leader, it is our responsibility to be the catalyst of creativity for the people we lead. And we have to lead by example.
Our fellowship is our superpower, and we have to show passion and enjoy the process. Make a grand entrance into your new leadership role and direct in a way that will define a prolific movie-making, aka leadership career.