“The most powerful leadership tool you have is your own personal example.” -John Wooden
At Rosenberg Advertising, we’re lucky enough to be guided by three strong influences: our Founder and President, Dave Rosenberg, and partners Melissa Sattler and Austin Rosenberg. Want to know the secrets behind their successful leadership styles? Who they feel influenced them along their path? What WWDD stands for? Remember, it’s not about what they do, but how they do it. Check out the exclusive interview we had with them, below!
When it comes to demonstrating leadership, what’s your first priority?
DR: I try to live by “actions speak louder than words.” It is my job to first live out all the behavior I look for. Hard work, focused effort, treating people how I want to be treated, etc. Leadership is SHOWING, not just talking.
MS: My first priority is probably a personal reminder to be calm and thoughtful when making decisions. It’s impossible to take back a snap-decision, so I try not to make them.
AR: When it comes to demonstrating leadership my first priority is showing respect. It is quite simple to treat others how you want to be treated. I believe when you value each individual for their unique abilities and characteristics, the respect becomes mutual and facilitates a great work environment.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned in this role?
DR: Most people want to work for a company and leadership that they believe in. I feel a tremendous responsibility to run not only a successful company but one that creates a culture, atmosphere, and mission that makes coming to work every day meaningful.
MS: This is tough and probably changes based on the day, or if I’m dealing with a particular challenge. A big lesson I’ve learned over my entire career is to listen. Really listen. And that I don’t have all the answers — I never want to forget that. It doesn’t mean I can’t GET the answers, but I don’t know everything!
AR: Each individual communicates and responds to feedback differently. Even though we work together as a team there isn’t a “blanket” way to communicate. Being a close group, it is extremely important to take into account the differences for each individual.
Working in a small office environment, what’s most rewarding/challenging about your position?
DR: The most rewarding part is that we are small enough to have a true family atmosphere. The relationships are real. I have made some of my best friends from this company. Also in a small company like ours, there is no place to hide; everyone makes a huge contribution every day.
MS: It’s sort of the same thing: it’s very rewarding to work on such a small, close-knit team. I truly love everyone here like they’re family. Because of that, if we ever encounter a rough patch, it can be difficult to separate my feelings for the person and my feelings for the person’s work.
AR: Working in a small office environment I feel like RA is my second family. It is extremely rewarding to see the team come together and create exceptional work.
What’s one of the things you love most about your job?
DR: Probably the thing I like most about my job/role is that I have had many long-term team members and long-term clients. Nothing beats having people who have made the journey with you.
MS: I could never name just one. I feel SO fortunate to be a part of Rosenberg and to be in this role. I love our people, I love our clients, I love the work we do — I love HOW we do it! I love that we’re a part of something different. Sure, we do great work, and we can give you an awesome website, or a beautiful brochure but the WAY we work with our clients is unlike any other agency. It’s a very special team and philosophy and I’m proud to be a part of it.
AR: One thing I love most about my job is the people I work with. We are a tight knit group and I think it is easy to do great work when everyone enjoys working with each other.
Has someone along your path influenced your leadership style?
DR: I would probably say in terms of work ethic, my father. He taught me the importance of never being outworked. You may get beat occasionally but the effort you put forth is the one variable you have total control of. As far as leadership style, I’m not sure I have one, I just try to be genuine and be myself. Most people would say that I am the same at work as I am in “ real life.” I take that as a compliment.
MS: I am a big believer in hard-wired traits and I am fortunate to have been blessed with a few traits that seem to serve me well in my position (thanks mom and dad!). As far as someone along the way influencing who I have become, no one has had more influence on me than Dave Rosenberg. He’s been an excellent mentor, coach, and friend for the last 10 years. It started off as a joke in the office, but now I think it in total seriousness quite regularly: WWDD (What Would Dave Do…).
AR: Everything I do is based off of Michael Scott from The Office. In seriousness I have been influenced greatly by my dad, Dave Rosenberg. I have always admired how he treats everyone no matter the situation.
What mistakes have you seen others in positions of leadership make?
DR: Thinking that acting “tough” makes you tough; usually it is the opposite.
MS: I don’t need to look to others; I’ve made plenty of my own mistakes to learn from! I’ve been too quick to judge, talked when I should have listened, looked at things too black and white when I should have allowed for some gray… I try to remember that no one is perfect, including me. Everyone makes mistakes, and I hope I’m always as forgiving as I would want someone to be with me.
AR: I have seen others in positions of leadership lose sight of who they are and lose touch with who they are leading. It is important to stay true to yourself and continue to treat others with the respect they deserve. A leader is only as strong as the team they are leading. That can never be ignored.
Do you have a favorite quote/book/motivational-something that guides the way you approach your work?
DR: As referenced before I am a big believer in THE GOLDEN RULE: treat people as you want to be treated. This is so simple but so powerful. My other prominent thought, I’m not sure if I heard this or made it up but it has guided me– to have a company that if I wasn’t the owner, I still would want to work for this company because it was so much fun and so fulfilling. I hope I have achieved that!
MS: It seems so cliché and I’ve said it before (but I know I’ll say it 1,000 more times): would what I’m doing show the client that I care, and am I doing my best work? Answering yes to those two questions makes me feel that at the end of the day, whatever has happened, I’ve done my job.
AR: I live by the code of Dave. When an obstacle is presented, Melissa and I often say, “What would Dave do?”