Wedding Industry Biz

5 Ways to Develop Your Leadership Skills in 2022

A well-rounded leader does more than keep a business running. Ultimately, they have the power to influence and teach dozens of budding event professionals. Most entrepreneurs look back on their success and think about the mentors who helped them get to where they are today. And as a leader, you can become a significant figure for industry newbies.

Though leading others comes with its fair share of responsibilities, it also presents an incredible opportunity for you to cultivate meaningful relationships and bring in additional business. Your talents may take you far, but to grow as a professional, you need to focus on developing strong leadership skills.

If you’re looking to widen your reach as a leader and continue to stand out in the event industry, here’s what you can do to develop your skills in 2022.

Focus on flexibility

Rolling with the punches became a regular occurrence when the COVID-19 pandemic came around. As a result, live events worldwide were canceled, postponed, or rearranged, throwing a wrench in industry professionals’ plans. Luckily, the businesses of leaders who practiced flexibility continued to turn a profit.

To become a better leader, it’s essential to be open-minded. Of course, your way may not always be the right way, so listen to feedback and don’t be afraid to make changes that benefit you and your team.

Those who pivoted (like offering catering curbside pickup or virtual wedding packages) were able to provide an exceptional client experience during a tumultuous time. So if you’re serious about developing as a leader, be flexible and optimistically approach each curveball thrown your way.

Prioritize transparency

Strong leaders aren’t afraid of a little tough love – and they know how to accept constructive criticism. To sharpen your leadership skills in 2022, be transparent with yourself, your team, and your clients. There’s no need to sugarcoat things!

Being honest goes a long way in gaining respect from others within the event industry. Great leaders understand they’ll run into a few speed bumps, but by being open with others, they can find innovative solutions that work for all.

Practice empathy

The past few years have undoubtedly altered the landscape of the event industry. So if you want to become a better leader as times continue to change, you’ll need to focus on being empathetic towards others. 

The best industry pros know clients appreciate feeling seen and heard. This goes for employees as well – your team will be grateful as you tune in to their needs and support them as a leader!

With the industry catching up from the pandemic, think about how you can lend a hand to those who might need extra help. For example, offering advice or a free 1:1 call with a growing professional or simply letting your team members take a day off to focus on their mental health. Small moves like these will go far in polishing your leadership skills.

Learn to delegate

The most productive leaders aren’t afraid to loosen the reins, which means they know how to delegate. Moreso, they understand that delegation isn’t something that harms their business but allows it to grow instead. So let 2022 be the year you ask for help and lighten the load you carry.

Of course, onboarding a new team member can be a time-consuming process. But once they get into the swing of things, they will help ease the burden of your responsibilities. The result is that you can take on more clients or put attention toward other projects. If your business is growing beyond what you can handle, then you need to delegate in order to thrive in your leadership role!

Tap into your creativity

When asked to envision a leader, some see suit-clad professionals sitting at a desk or rushing to their next meeting. But those in the event industry understand that this isn’t always the case. Some of the best leaders continue managing client work and finding creative solutions to new problems.

This year, think about how you can tap into your creativity more often. It might mean spending less time at your desk and more time getting to know your audience. Maybe it’s following inspiration to create offers that meet their needs. Or perhaps it’s about picking up an old hobby outside of work to get the juices flowing. Whatever it may be, don’t be afraid to do things differently!

The event industry is ever-changing, but one thing that remains constant is the potential anyone has to become a strong leader. So no matter your number of clients or social media followers, start taking steps to become a better leader in 2022. There’s always room at the table here!

 

Elizabeth Sheils is the co-founder of Rock Paper Coin, the first software platform to bring together wedding planners, couples, and vendors into one system for managing and paying contracts and invoices. Elizabeth is also a lead wedding planner with award-winning firm Bridal Bliss, where she manages the Seattle team. Additionally, Special Events recently recognized Elizabeth in its Top 25 Event Pros to Watch series.

Wedding Industry Biz

4 Key Business Lessons from 2021 to Prepare for a Successful Year Ahead

It’s hard to believe that the year is coming to an end and industry professionals are busily crafting their goals for 2022. For many, this year has felt like a continuation of 2020. Between the pandemic and subsequent economic instability, most business owners have been in fight mode trying to roll with the punches.

Fortunately, 2021 did see the return of weddings and live events — and, in many markets, it has been a resurgence that is keeping industry professionals at full capacity (and then some). The pendulum has swung and experts are forecasting that this busy season will last through 2022 and even into 2023.

As you prepare for the year ahead, it’s vital to look back at the road you’ve traveled to identify key learning lessons and takeaways to support your business’s future.

Here are four highlights from 2021 to reflect on as you look to 2022 and beyond.

Digital systems are essential

Managing a heavy workload and, for some, a remote team requires an organized structure that is built to support a business’s growth. Many companies have adopted new software to track payments, send invoices, sign contracts, store client information, and perform other important tasks.

Most business responsibilities no longer need to be done manually. Investing in event tech to streamline those processes will ultimately save time and money in the long run. Plus, today’s clients expect brands to support a digital experience, so smart systems are beneficial for all parties.

There’s no “I” in team

Thanks to the event boom this year, most entrepreneurs are discovering the true value of having a great team. Those who have been solo have brought on associates, assistants, and contractors to lessen the burden, while existing leaders have prioritized the care and wellbeing of their employees.

Burnout has been a prevalent concern with the rapid growth of events, which does not discriminate between CEOs and their staff. Anyone is susceptible to feeling overworked and exhausted. Burnout counters productivity, so supporting your and your team’s mental wellbeing is in the best interest of your business.

Communication styles matter

Even though most of our communication is still done through impersonal screens, what we say (and how we say it) is critical to how we’re perceived in the market. Some conversations are best saved for a video chat, while others may suffice in a quick text message or email.

At the same time, the person on the other end may also dictate communication styles. While some folks prefer to hop on the phone for the smallest of questions, others may prefer conversing through emails so they can think over the matter at hand. On a similar note, what we don’t say is just as meaningful. Staying in touch with clients and colleagues helps keep the lines open and shows that you care.

Adaptability is key

Despite your best plans and intentions, sometimes things still go awry. Of course, we see this on a micro level whenever a wedding detail doesn’t go as planned. But, on a macro level, the pandemic has forced businesses everywhere to roll with the proverbial punches and adjust their processes at a moment’s notice.

Pandemic aside, be mindful that there are a number of uncontrollable factors that may turn your business on its head. From natural disasters to significant market changes, solid and sustainable businesses need leaders with their ears to the ground and their eyes looking ahead to make swift, agile decisions that support the greater good.

As we head into a new year full of possibilities, it might be tempting to dive in headfirst without turning back. However, don’t forget to recognize what has gotten you all this way: resiliency, innovation, dedication, and passion. Together, these qualities will help you navigate difficult and bountiful seasons alike.

 

Elizabeth Sheils is the co-founder of Rock Paper Coin, the first software platform to bring together wedding planners, couples, and vendors into one system for managing and paying contracts and invoices. Elizabeth is also a lead wedding planner with award-winning firm Bridal Bliss, where she manages the Seattle team. In addition to recognition by Special Events in its Top 25 Event Pros to Watch series, she also earned a spot in The BizBash 500 for 2021.