The candidate who believes no matter how big or small the position they are running for, that they can be both Candidate and Campaign Manager... truly is the “Crazy Politician!”
Before the candidate makes the decision to “run”, a campaign manager needs to be first on the list of being found. Many who will be casting a vote will be watching closely to see who it is you ask to lead your campaign team. That decision will be telling to many, and should be to yourself, as to what kind of leader you will be.
1. Carbon Copy of Yourself: In many ways the campaign manager should be a carbon copy of yourself, which is why you will be tempted to become involved in more than being the candidate. It will need to be the campaign manager you have hired who is strong enough to pull you, the candidate, back into the role of seeking votes.
2. Someone You Might Date: Criteria for a campaign manager reads like qualifications of someone you would date! A campaign manager cannot be effective unless you are willing to “tell all” to that person. You are going to find yourself in positions during the campaign in which you need someone to confide – or to sit with and yell at the top of your lungs; being your first line of stress management.
3. Not Your BFF: You will need to understand the campaign manager is not your new best buddy who goes to events, dinners, and golf tournaments with you. No, the campaign manager has to be someone who can do just that – manage a campaign. A political corporation that with its staff, volunteers, and voters is publically held.
4. Where To Be and When: The campaign manager must understand time and event management – knowing when and where you should be. Maybe a local coffee shop or greasy spoon where you eat biscuits and gravy. It will be that campaign manager who hires whomever is going to make sure you are “on the mark” when and where you are supposed to be; and they will be the one on Monday night to give you Tuesday’s schedule broken into a format telling you where to go, who to meet, which stump speech will be best -- and to the last second, schedule how long you stay and when to say goodbye.
5. After the Soap Box: That handler will be picked by your campaign manager, who will also make sure before you put it all on the line there is a plan. One to put into place and begin executing the exact moment you step from the soap box used to announce you are running.
6. Time to Crack the Whip: From that point you will begin to campaign for votes and the campaign manager will manage all needing to be organized day-to-day behind the scenes. It will be the campaign manager and the press secretary, hired by that manager, who will put on the “happy face” of things. And make sure even though conflict can arise within the ranks of a campaign with donors, volunteers and possibly paid staff; things are resolved before boiling into public view.
7. Not a Campaign of “One”: Other positions left to the campaign manager for stamp of approval include a campaign treasurer; to understand the ins and outs of taking in donations and filing reports in campaigns where required. A volunteer chair is necessary and the campaign manager’s first requirement of this person is they have the biggest smile in the crowd and the loudest laugh. Your volunteer chair needs to be a people magnet. A campaign handler/secretary is the person who knows where the candidate is to be even when the candidate does not. Ultimately, a good campaign manager is someone who because of campaign craziness can represent you, the candidate, in a positive light. Right down to being able to outline position and policy of you the candidate.