How To Lead A Team: Perspectives From A PR Firm

August 26 2019

Being a local boutique PR agency in Malaysia, we do face a fair bit of challenges in terms of recruiting, retaining and most importantly, inspiring a team. After all, we lack the financial and human resource support that an international agency may have.

However, over the last thirteen years, we have continued to grow and beat even much larger agencies for talent, work and client relationships. These achievements would never have been possible without the support and collective efforts of the people in the firm.

In this regard, the key to building a thriving PR agency with a supportive team is to inject LIFE into the workplace:

So what is LIFE? It is about Listening, Inspiration, Fun, and Experience:

  1. Listening

Proactive listening is fundamental to leadership and people management. I would say it is even more crucial now in today’s cluttered marketplace. Equally important to listening to clients and stakeholders is listening to our own team. We ensure that our firm has an open communication environment so that there is a safe space for our team to discuss ideas, concerns, and issues without fear or hesitation.

  1. Inspiration

It is a well-known fact now that engaged employees and even management are more productive and passionate about their work.  As such, we openly share the journey of the business with them, even our firm’s financials. More importantly, we share our aspirations and dreams for the firm. By including the entire team as interested stakeholders in the company, we have been able to consistently inspire them to bring out their best.

  1. Fun

All work and no play make Jack a dull boy (and Jill a dull girl as well). Happier employees are more productive and motivated. As such, even as we strive to deliver serious work, we make it a point to have fun together. Gone are the days when bosses and supervisors need to pull rank. Working together collaboratively and having a sense of humour when on assignments really set us apart.

Having fun together also fosters better communication, collaboration and creativity. So, we make it a point to do things together regularly, such as going for offsite activities like our annual office outing, “sip and paint” class, white water rafting or in-house activities like company pot-luck lunches or even movie nights.

  1. Experience

We believe in helping each and every one of us grow and shine in this industry. As such, we challenge the team to stretch themselves to help them gain more valuable experience and fulfill their career goals. Open communication encourages our team to propose ideas with boldness, and we then let them lead and drive with appropriate guidance from seniors and the management. As a result, many of our best ideas have come from our team.

Perhaps the best example of how LIFE works in our firm was when we lost a major client a few years back, which dealt a severe blow to our company’s cashflow. We challenged the team to rethink and transform our business. The whole team rallied together to create and drive our Youth Perspectives project, one of the largest research projects on youth in Malaysia then. The project was a significant demonstration of the firm’s thought leadership and garnered national attention from major media, businesses and the government, which then led to more opportunities and new client work.

Since the founding of the firm, Perspective Strategies has continuously pushed our boundaries to keep growing our capabilities. The firm’s move to be a part of PRGN is also a core component of this growth journey.

Ultimately, a PR agency’s work is only as good as the ideas its people produce. We are glad to note that, with a company full of LIFE, we have become the trusted partner of major brands, organisations and even government agencies.

Andy See
Founder, Principal Partner & Managing Director, Perspective Strategies
After spending more than 10 years working with leading multinational and Malaysian consultancies including The Boston Consulting Group and Edelman, Andy decided to reinvent his career by setting up his own firm. This led to the birth of Perspective Strategies in 2006. The boutique agency grew quickly with the promise of delivering strategic counsel and quality services to clients and has over the years won numerous industry awards on the global and national levels. Aside from steering the firm’s strategic direction and managing key client relationships, Andy regularly conducts spokesperson training and speaks at industry events on strategic communications, issues management and stakeholder engagement. Currently, he is the President of the Public Relations and Communications Association of Malaysia (PRCA Malaysia), spearheading efforts to champion the interest of PR professionals including industry best practices, quality and standards as well as talent development.  Since 2017, Perspective Strategies has been part of the Public Relations Global Network (PRGN), one of the world's leading independent PR agency networks. Andy is on the Executive Committee, serving as Secretary and Regional Vice-President for Asia Pacific (APAC). As Regional Vice-President, Andy leads PRGN's initiatives in growing the network's presence in APAC by pushing to enhance communication, improve coordination and drive momentum at the regional level. Andy also actively contributes articles and thought leadership pieces on PR, leadership and strategic communications in various publications and online platforms.

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