All the media companies I have worked with have never made an effort to cultivate leaders from amidst their own. I say cultivate because all or rather most companies look and identify people from within, groom them and try and help them makeup their shortcomings.
But in newspapers, magazines and all its affiliates (I am not sure of television and the electronic media), if you cannot or will not suck up to your boss, forget leading a team or a division, you will most certainly be sidelined — treated like you aren’t wanted. I have seen many examples of this where your own colleagues look at you in pity because they are unhappy one of them is suffering but secretly glad it’s not them. Promotions are always sought on favourites or rather not given to people who don’t toe your line.
Of course my first thought (and argument) was that ‘come on, just because you did not get along or be happy, does not mean any one cannot.’ But I see my friends who are still in media organisations and get promoted as the time comes. But hardly any are ever taught how to be a good leader, how to teach by example, how to fair and just, how to promote young talent etc. Nobody makes an effort with you to try and fill your gaps. You are either great or just don’t exist.
Thanks to insecurities galore, bosses in media organisations treat you like shit, see that some where along the way you find your way out and realise that it’s an effective method. So when the day comes for you to promote young talent, you follow the benchmarks set by your boss. It’s not wonder then that our journalists always complain about unfair bosses. And scoff at training sessions and leadership workshops. What’s to learn about being a suck-up eh?
It’s when you take up a non-journalism job that you realise that you don’t have to always go on the defensive when you are wrong and you can make mistakes. They aren’t forgotten, especially depending on the magnitude, but your peers and superiors don’t sneer at you, for them. People can actually be polite even if they have to tell you that the job isn’t well done. Earning respect does not neccessarily equal earning some war medal. There are groups that will sit with you, actually listen to you and arrive at a developement plan for you. You can go on the record about something you don’t agree with. You will not be crucified. Leadership skills are harnessed and skillfully sharpened. It isn’t held against you if you say you need to leave early. You aren’t made to feel a heel if you ask for leave.
Like any place, politics prevail here too. But here every one is accountable for what they say or do or select or make. So a bad rating or a favourable review sees audits and explanations are out there for everyone to see. Transparency makes the whole process bearable.
Actually the whole rant started when I read this and realised no one in media actually cares about polishing the existing people. For an industry driven by creativity, it thrives too much on unrelated but affecting factors.