It’s an understatement to say that a lot rests on a company’s marketing manager. Whether you’re the head of a small department or a company-wide initiative, the goals you set and the results you achieve depend entirely on your ability to inspire, lead, and manage a team of individuals.
For marketing managers looking to stay fresh and self-aware, here are three deadly habits that might be killing your reputation as a manager and how to how to fix them.
Problem: You don’t accept responsibility for your actions.
A good marketing manager can accomplish a lot within an organization. They can build an elite and highly functional team, and they can achieve amazing things on small budgets. But while it’s easy to take credit for accomplishments that boost the bottom line, some managers fail to take credit for the failures.
Once a manager gets into the habit of ignoring bad news and pushing the blame on others, she can single-handedly create a toxic work environment that makes productivity plummet and innovation implode.
Solution: Take the blame for the failure and address it honestly.
Pay special attention to what happens when an idea or a project doesn’t pan out as expected. Do you immediately look to assign blame for the mistake? Or do you evaluate your own behavior?
While some marketing mistakes will be a clear-cut error on someone else’s behalf, more often than not a “failure” happens when multiple lines of communication break down. Identify a few ways you could have prevented or fixed the problem before it became a full-blown failure and practice taking responsibility for preventing it from happening again.
Problem: You have one process, and you stick to it.
As a highly-trained marketing specialist, you earned your job by being good at what you do. Unfortunately, getting win after win often leads to a high level of confidence in a single way of doing things. You get stuck in a rut.
The result is that you lose effectiveness and creativity over time, and you begin to fear change (a sure sign of impending doom). You stick with what you think works because it’s worked for you in the past… without regard for what will work in the future.
Solution: Set aside time to learn and grow.
Creativity doesn’t “just happen.” It requires the space to be bored and to feel authentically playful. If you’re too busy managing campaigns through your tried-and-true process, you won’t have time to stay up to date on cutting edge trends or inventing them yourself.
Find a way to add time to your day -- even a half hour a week -- to simply brainstorm, think, and be creative with your team. The results will fuel more work and more satisfied customers.
Problem: You aren't sure what success looks like.
Here’s the thing with marketing management, customer management, and management in general: you can’t know if you’re doing your job unless you know what your job is. That is, unless you identify specific goals and agree on them with your customer, your team, and your C-Suite, you’ll never really know if you’re successful or not.
When you accidentally activate this problem within your marketing team, it can lead to a huge breakdown in accountability, communication, and attention to detail.
Solution: Start every conversation with clear expectations.
If you aren’t sure that you have control of expectations in your workplace, then you've probably lost control of expectations. A controlled environment starts every email, phone call, and team meeting with clear expectations.The purpose, discussion, and outcome of every task clearly aligns with specific goals, and once those goals are achieved you will know it.
Work your way towards this kind of environment by re-evaluating the expectations and metrics that go along with your position and then filtering down those expectations to the rest of your team. Explain "what" and "why" to them so they get the big picture. Not only will this give you more confidence in and awareness of your progress as a marketing manager, but it will provide effective metrics for you to show that progress when you report to your C-Suite.
Good managers don’t happen by accident. They happen when bad or okay managers refine their skills, continue to learn, and define expectations. Hopefully you found something here that helps you realize how you can grow even more and elevate the marketing management you bring to the table.