Behind Leadership: Gini Dietrich

If you’ve paid attention at all to my blog since I started it, it should be no surprise that leadership is important to me.  Without it, the profession of PR and Marketing would be nothing.  To bring the topic of leadership more in line with the purpose of this blog, which is to highlight the awesome people behind the PR profession, I’m launching Behind Leadership.

Gini Dietrich

Every Friday, I will feature a PR leader who has impacted me in a meaningful way, and I believe should be recognized for their leadership skills, in addition to their PR savvy.

To kick things off, I asked Gini Dietrich of Arment Dietrich to be the first person featured in Behind Leadership.  Gini, author of the blog Spin Sucks, is not just one of the most savvy, passionate and honest communicators around, she cares deeply about leading people well.  And here’s a little of what’s behind it all.

1. What is the hardest part about being a leader?

The hardest part is maintaining an even culture, no matter your mood. It’s really difficult to separate how overly tired you may be or a fight you had a home or a feeling of just not wanting to get out of bed some days from going to work, doing your job, moving toward a vision, and keeping the entire office upbeat. The culture and the vision always come first and, when you’re overly tired, it’s difficult to remember that.

2. What is the best part?

The best part of being a leader is setting the tone for growth, keeping people focused, and deciding which strategies we’re going to employ to get us toward the vision. For instance, I love change and I love innovation. I’m sure it drives my team nuts, but we’re always testing new things to see how (if) they can be incorporated into the vision.

3. Who leads you and how did they become a leader in your life?

Man. A lot of people. My mom because she never lets me off the hook. Not even when I deserve it. My dad because he instilled an immense work ethic. Mr. D because he is constantly teaching me how to separate business from personal and emotion from logic. My team because they make me want to do better every day. And, as silly as this may sound, my accountant. He teaches me things that don’t come intuitively and makes me feel like I can conquer all.

4. What is your advice for those who want to lead?

Obey your gut. If you can do that, without fail, you’ll lead well.

5. What books, web sites or blogs on leadership do you recommend?

I love the Harvard Business Review blogs. I also recommend Les McKeown and Randy Hall for leadership tips, traits, and tools.

6. If you had to choose between no longer being able to lead or losing those leaders you follow, which would you choose and why?

Ohhhh. Tough question! I’d say no longer being able to lead because I’d rather be inspired and motivated every day than to be lonely at the top.

7. What is your favorite food and place at which to eat it?

I love all food! I can never answer this question. I love Mexican food. There is a tiny hole in the wall down the street from our house that is cheap, their margaritas are strong, and their chile con queso can’t be beat!

Thanks for reading the inaugural post of Behind Leadership!  I encourage you to subscribe to my blog and follow me on Twitter.

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9 thoughts on “Behind Leadership: Gini Dietrich

    • You HAVE to do this, then. Get some pizza dough and grill it just until it starts to cook. Then melt some butter, add some garlic and spread over the crust. Add tomatoes (I love it right off the vine from my yard), basil, burrata (delicious mozzarella), olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper and put back on the grill. So. Freaking. Good.

    • Gini,

      Personally, whenever I find myself in a leadership position, I love when it comes together and things are accomplished. Especially when it was a struggle. It’s something about seeing how people took to your plan, believed in it, and made it happen. (Granted, I’ve never led in anything other than school projects and among peers).

      In regards to #6 – Without those people who lead you, you wouldn’t have ever become a leader or continue to possess a will to lead. Every day, they inspire you to lead. Whether you’re aware of it or not. That’s how I think of it, anyway.

      Great interview.

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