I’ve never met an agency owner who doesn’t find the job a bit lonely sometimes. Most of us grew up in the agency business and we’re used to having at least a portion of our social life stem from our co-workers. As our careers advanced, we were probably in the inner circle but it was definitely a circle so you had people to talk to, confide in, and bounce ideas off of when the &^%# hits the fan. But now that you own the joint, it’s not quite the same. You know and think about things that really shouldn’t be shared with anyone (or too many someones) and who your confidants are can have huge consequences — good or bad.

In our work with agencies, we sit around the table with a lot of leadership teams. Here are some of the skills/traits that I think are mandatory if you’re going to give someone the privilege/responsibility of one of those seats:

  • They can keep their mouth shut (you’d think this was a given but we all know better)
  • They can step outside their departmental or day-to-day role to care about the agency as a whole
  • They have mastered the ability to be “kind but clearly candid” with you, the boss and don’t pull punches
  • They’re comfortable not knowing or with uncertainty (if they are fretters — you have trouble)
  • They’re hungry to keep learning

Naturally, there are more but those are some biggies. Miss one or more of them and, next thing you know, you’re confiding in the wrong people. By the way — hopefully, it goes without saying that age, title or years in the business don’t always guarantee that those traits are present.

I completely understand your need to have a safe place to share your worries, aspirations and future plans. I want that for you. Just be sure you’re sharing them in a way/place that serves you and your business.

If you’re an agency employee reading this — be that person and you’ll be invaluable. Talk about job security!

This was originally published in the AMI weekly newsletter. To subscribe, click here.