What do you get when you ask a group of marketing women for advice as a first time manager? No BS, straight talking, starts-with-people, strategic guidance.
The MKTG WMN group started with the idea of an inclusive community for women across marketing disciplines and experience. In a recent Slack thread, a member about to begin leading her first team of direct reports reached out for tips on how to prepare for life on the other side of the boss’s desk.
Five women stepped up to show how marketing leaders do it. Turns out, it looks a lot like marketing: establish your leadership brand, survey your audience for insights, show appreciation, deliver what you promise, and get comfortable going with the flow. It just looks a little different as leadership.
Here are 3 big tips, and how marketing women bring them to life, for any new leader:
Successful marketing leaders understand that an uninspired team is an unproductive team at best. As the keepers of insights, it’s no surprise that listening to new team members (you know we love a survey) is a requirement.
Jenna Hasenkampf, Managing Director, MKG Marketing: “Find out what empowers your team, how they like to get feedback, and a way they measure general wellness. Set up a Google survey to ask them these questions and use it as the foundation for a one on one meeting with each of them.”
Letting your team know what to expect from you, and making sure what you expect from yourself is reasonable, helps prevent miscommunication down the road.
Natalie Shell, Senior Brand Marketing Manager, Korres: “Set up an “expectation and giving” board. List what you expect from them and what you want them to expect from you (aka what you always bring to the table). Also helpful for working with remote colleagues, set a “get to know you” doc asking for 5 strengths, 5 areas of opportunity, any and all work pet peeves, communication preferences, appreciation preferences, and 5 fun facts.”
Natalie Cantave, Product Marketing Manager, Cohere Health: “Get to know direct employees starting from day one. Learn about their interests, personal and professional goals, and be honest and get feedback about experiences with previous managers. Set the tone of transparency. Don’t pretend you know it all and create a space where you can give and receive feedback. Treat everyone like their own individual person — including yourself. Go easy on yourself and let yourself go with the flow.”
Just asking for advice about leadership puts the MKTG WMN who posted the question ahead of the game, but knowing how other people do it is only as valuable as knowing yourself when it comes time to execute.
I shared this: “Leadership styles are usually a mix of how you were led (emulating the good, doing the opposite of the bad), how you want to be led, and how your people need to be led as a group and as individuals. Getting clearer on the first 2 parts will put you in a more confident place in which to figure out the last part as you go. Consider journaling about your past experiences and how you want to lead, then try to distill it into a set of values.”
Looking to share or receive this kind of wisdom from fellow women in marketing? MKTG WMN is a networking group that grows with you, as you jump from ladder-to-ladder and shatter ceiling-after-ceiling. We cost nothing and pay dividends through a community of women across roles, regions, and industries. Working out of a LinkedIn group and Slack, we exchange ideas, produce tactical content, and host events with a community vibe. Care to join us? Start here.