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A few weeks ago I did an interview on my other blog with a professional fashion model that turned out to be very popular. What most people don’t know is that I’ve done a little bit of modeling myself.


Yeah, I hear it now; me, a model? Truth be told, if you pay attention to print ads and those brochures that have people in them all of those people are models. Models come in all shapes and sizes and many other differences too numerous to mention. When someone decides they want something in particular, they go to modeling agencies and select who they want.

It’s in this vein that a couple of days ago I had my second ever modeling shoot. It went for a few hours, and it was “grueling” work; I spent more than 2 hours laying in bed. However, at times some of the positions I had to be in were uncomfortable, so it was “work”, even if it wasn’t overly strenuous.

Even with that sort of thing, and the previous one, I found some leadership lessons that one can apply to other situations. Here are 5 of them:

1. True leaders let other people do their job. There’s a main photographer but that person has a lot of help. On this particular shoot there was the wardrobe person who also kept making sure everything and everyone looked perfect. There was a makeup artist, the first time I ever had makeup on my face. There was the lighting guy and there was the computer guy and there was the lady who… well, I never did figure out what she did other than bring snacks that I wouldn’t eat, but I’m sure she had a role. Of course the photographer asked for a lot of things but in general he let people do their thing.

2. True leaders work on getting close to perfect, but won’t push too hard to get there. This was a very interesting shoot. There were some looks they were really trying to get a certain way, which resulted in multiple shots. This time around I can easily say it wasn’t me, since I couldn’t do too many things while laying in bed, but in trying to highlight the product there were lots of minor adjustments, things I would think were penny ante, yet they knew what they wanted and were going to get as close as they could. However, they also knew when to stop.

3. Leaders know they sometimes have to defer to the expertise of someone else. Leaders can’t be expected to know everything. In this case the photo shoot was for some new medical equipment that he didn’t know all that well. Lucky for him, representatives of the company were there to help him out, and even I had a couple of things to say here and there, as the equipment is similar to some things hospitals use now.


4. Leaders know how to get the best out of others. I was working with someone else who was playing nurse to my being a patient. My job was to look at her, and since she was attractive it wasn’t all that hard to do. Her job was to have different ways of looking at me, sometimes kind of far, sometimes really close, with different types of smiles. The photographer would tell her what he needed and when, give her encouragement, say things like “yes” and “perfect” as well as “back off the smile a bit” and “move your hands here”. True leaders know how to tell people what they need, keep them motivated, and give praise when it’s due.

5. True leaders know when it’s time to take control. There was a lot of fussing and adjusting going on, as representatives from his client were there as well. He listened to them give their advice on things. He listened to the people who worked for them give their advice. Heck, he listened to me a couple of times, though I gave minimal advice. But when it was time to get it done he took charge because he was the photographer, and without him nothing gets done. As Harry Truman stated, “The buck stops here”.

Overall it was fun. I got paid well, though I’m not sure when the money will come, and I got to see the process. The only caveat, as you can see in the pictures, is that I ended up having to shave off my beard. The price of fame, right? :-)

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Mitch Mitchell

Mitch Mitchell is an independent business consultant specializing in leadership and health care finance issues. He has written two books, the latest being Leadership Is/Isn't Easy, and has spoken in 9 states on a variety of topics.

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