I was reading The Sun on Monday and they ran a story about Gary Lineker explaining why classic goalscorers do not make good managers.
He said the main reason was the mentality: to be a goalscorer you must be selfish, thinking of no one but yourself as you power your way to the Golden Boot. However, to be a good manager, you must think of the team, juggling the fragile egos of many to produce a better collective result.
Funnily enough, this chimed with a recent chat I had with a friend who works in New York.
He said that in effect you should only become a CD when your need/desire to win awards has waned through the winning of so many of the bloody things. That way, you can move aside and let your employees take all the glory, raising the profile of your agency in the process.
Of course, there are exceptions: to continue Gary’s unintended analogy, there are the player-managers who need to step up for their department, either because the agency is too small or because the department just ain’t good enough. Or, in exceptional circumstances, because the creative/CD in question is so bloody good, it’d be a criminal waste not to have him or her sending his talents in the direction of the occasional brief.
So, in the fully functioning agency (I’d cite my time under Peter Souter and Tony Cox as a fine example of this), you’ll get a CD or two who simply soak up all the day-to-day impediments so their charges don’t have to. If there’s a juicy brief, they won’t get their teeth into it unless the whole department has tried and failed and the deadline is looming large.
Whereas, in the fully dysfunctional shop, you’ll get an insecure CD with a fragile ego who is happy to squish the progress of his department so that he can have 23 D&AD entries instead of 22. He may be the best in the agency, but we’ll never know because he won’t let anyone else play with his train set. End result: miserable, demoralised department, a CD who passes all the mucky jobs on to someone else and, unless the top man is a genius, a drop in standards. And if he’s taken a good brief, the end result had better be shit hot, or it could be the start of something suboptimal.
Which do you work for, how much fun is it and how good is the work?