Journalists are a free-thinking bunch, with opinions on everything. That makes them interesting company but also a challenging group to manage, particularly when it comes to changing the way they work.
This isn't the case in every sector. A former managing director at one of the UK's largest news publishing businesses told me that the retail sector, where he had come from, was entirely different.
'In retail, it's easy,' he said. 'You just tell the staff what you want done, by when, and they do it. I've realised that you can't do that with journalists.' I can certainly relate to that.
The greatest lesson I've learned from leading newsrooms is the importance of 'Explaining the Why'. In other words, taking the time to engage with the team and explain the rationale for change and give them an opportunity to express their views before you introduce it.
They may not always feel comfortable with the change you're proposing but if they understand the logic, much of the resistance melts away and the team quickly begins to focus on how to get the change done.
And, in my experience, giving the team a voice in the change process invariably leads to a better result.
I've carried this approach into my leadership development work with editors and their teams. The best results come from taking the time to understand the individual and the issues confronting them.
Off-the-shelf management training has its place. But the leadership development I deliver is tailored to the individual and to the real-world environment they work in.