10 Keys to Being a Good Leader in an Advertising Agency

A good agency leader is someone who knows how to lead their team towards success. They have vision and the company’s objectives are clear to them. 

How do they do that? There are a lot of characteristics that make a good leader. However, in the advertising industry, which is facing lots of changes and challenges to its survival, those taking on leadership positions must have even more demanding qualities. 

We listed 10 key qualities every leader must have in the advertising business. 


  • Prioritizes properly

An agency leader must know how to prioritize tasks in times where workloads are huge and everything seems to be important. The master key to success is knowing how to distinguish what is urgent and what is important from the daily workflow. How will this impact the business? There will be a better time distribution and thus, better productivity. Knowing how to use time is fundamental for the company to function like a well-oiled machine.


  • Trusts their team and delegates

Besides distributing tasks, the leader needs to extend their presence through their collaborators’ actions. 

For example, Google understood that good managers that empower their team make for happier and more productive employees. On the other hand, micromanagement can damage the staff’s initiative and discourage them.

To avoid these inconveniences, the creative leader must train their team in order for them to develop their skills. This way, the job will be more interesting, challenging and pleasant. 


  • Makes decisions based on hard data

Up until now, we talked about the importance of the prioritization of tasks and the benefits of delegating, both for the work team and the agency. Both skills involve making decisions.

However, a leader must have a 360° vision to make coherent and beneficial decisions for the business’ health. How is that achieved? The first thing on the list is analyzing data. With that information, they will be able to identify patterns and numbers generated by projects and clients.

It is key to use the management tools in the agency for this, since a job’s data is registered in order to analyze performance and detect what is working well and what is not.


  • Understands the importance of collaborative work 

Coherence builds synergy. An agency is like any other organization. If a leader wants good results, they need a team that works closely together. There is nothing that boosts creativity like counting with a coworker’s perspective.

Teamwork minimizes tunnel vision, keeps new ideas flowing and helps cover for others’ weaknesses. Moreover, it reduces the risk of redoing a particular task just because someone was not aligned with the objectives. 


  • Gives due credit to their team

Besides encouraging collaborative work, a leader must understand the importance of recognizing the team’s effort. Acknowledging the work of others increases not only individual compromise but also productivity and motivation.


  • Prioritizes human value

In an era of digital transformations where artificial intelligence optimizes working times, creative talent is still indispensable. It is something AI cannot do as well as people.

“The cardinal sin among leadership is not valuing people. In this sense, it is fundamental for leaders to know each team member’s workload so they can assign tasks and avoid overloading that lead to brain drain.”
John Maxwell, leadership expert.  

Advertising agencies recorded a global net talent loss of 25% in 2015, and turnover has been on the rise in the last few years. This has become a problem because it impacts on several flanks: loss of time, costs and clients. Staff turnover implies bad experiences for both clients and the internal team.

In order to avoid inconveniences, the leader must be trained to develop an effective employee retention strategy through which employees are given opportunities to grow, learn and broaden their horizons.  


  • Quickly recognizes business opportunities

A good leader must have the ability to recognize new business opportunities, specially with current clients. To achieve that, it is crucial for the leader to listen to clients and be empathetic, so that they can understand their business and make more coherent, valuable and assertive proposals.

Furthermore, it is essential that the leader recognizes the industry trends, including technology ones. This way, they can not only offer innovative solutions and ideas but also optimize their team’s work and have access to data that allow for them to create good strategies and make the right decisions. 


  • Knows that credibility is fundamental for the business

A good creative leader must be authentic and behave with integrity.  Besides, they must be coherent with what they say and what they do. This is the base on which credibility is built.

These are the 3 things that make a leader credible: 

  • Talks about things they know about. It is not embarrassing to admit that they do not have answers, and instead, that they have some ideas on how to explore and acquire them.
  • Keeps their promises. It is amazing how often leaders promise something and do not fulfill it or deliver something completely different.
  • Takes responsibility. A leader must be prepared to take responsibility for the impact of their attitude and behaviour in the organization.


  • Creates new leaders

Today’s agencies need employees that are capable of holding the reins of a project, of managing their own time, among other things. This is important specially for remote workers (freelancers).

Therefore, a creative leader must have the ability to train their employees so they can improve the business all the while having no fear for internal competition. Besides, they must be able to identify the talented people on their team in order to know who to give tasks to a good leader creates leaders for the future.


  • Enjoys their job

In a world where creativity is the norm, it is essential to understand that motivation and humor are key for a good working atmosphere. Furthermore, the best way to motivate is innovating and creating extraordinary campaigns. This is fundamental to guarantee, from the leader’s own responsibilities, the company’s health.

“No man can be successful, unless he first loves his work”. – David Sarnoff (CEO of RCA)



Good leadership in an agency definitely involves many factors, turning it into a big challenge to tackle. Good leadership is an enormous responsibility for the one who takes it on, since it is their job to inspire and help others become new leaders.

Without a doubt, advertising agencies need strong leaders that have clarity in the projection of the company, that are tech savvy and that rely on data to make decisions.

In order to increase collaboration in your work team, gain visibility and knowledge on how to distribute tasks, start by implementing a strong and user friendly management software that helps every level of the company.