Do you remember when you learned to ride a bike? You may have left someone behind when you fell, someone who gave you the confidence to try again until you can walk alone.
Most people have an inherent fear of failure and need leaders to help them believe in themselves.
As a marketing leader, don’t fall into the trap of overestimating the trust of your team members. Instead, assume there is enough room to build more trust in your team.
As a leader, building the trust of your marketing tribe is one of the most rewarding things you can do for yourself and your business. Based on our years of experience working with senior marketing teams, we’d like to suggest five confidence-building techniques for you to apply.
Define a new rule: “Apologies, without permission”
You must act and challenge your team without always asking for permission first. Sometimes they will fail at a task or do things you don’t like; you have to accept it.
“Forgiveness, not consent” is a powerful and essential rule for creativity and innovation. The alternative is a team without initiative, a team only partially committed, and a team where the best will soon look for another job.
How can the “forgive without consent” rule be applied? Tell your team that you expect projects and initiatives to move forward without always contacting you first, even if you are always available for advice if needed. Make it clear that you might like updates so people can make their own decisions and take moderate risks to move the work forward.
If someone makes a mistake or steps on your foot (or someone else’s toe), accept their apology and explanation and, if possible, praise them for taking the initiative. Find out what they learned from the experience and make sure these lessons are shared with the team so everyone can benefit from the experience.
One or two people can get very excited and take unwanted risks. You probably know who he is. Talk to them to make sure they don’t do stupid things. But most of the team won’t be like that: most are more cautious for fear of failing; they will need your encouragement to be “faster” and more resourceful.
If anyone dares and succeeds, especially one of the more cautious members of the team, celebrate it in public!
Give a word of confidence in every marketing meeting
What about meetings that show your team how great they are and how much you believe in their ability to fulfill the company’s mission? Or do you pride yourself on the skills of team members when closing meetings? These are simple things to do, but they can build a lot of confidence.
Try it for two weeks and see what happens.
Let everyone’s voice be heard
There are many reasons why marketing team members don’t speak openly, even in a high-trust environment: some are introverted, some are new, some are newcomers, some may not work in their native language.
You can’t afford to lose ideas from the quietest members of the team. In marketing, you’re working on ideas; you need the best ideas, wherever they come from.
Try to insist that everyone in the room have an opinion before making a decision. This is a great way to establish a conversational routine, even for those who are otherwise hesitant.
Coach more, tell less
As a leader under constant time pressure, you may be tempted to give people answers instead of asking for suggestions. This is especially true if you have more experience than most or all of the team. Even if you’re right, it won’t help your people grow and may discourage you from looking for work with a supportive boss.
For starters, try the 70/30/0 rule during meetings:
- 70% coaching (“you”). Turn 70% of your interaction with your team into coaching interventions. Help them develop their ideas by asking questions and encouraging future thinking. Open and supportive “questions” for you will encourage them to expand their ideas.
- 30% of ideas (“I”). Only 30% of your interaction should be your ideas and suggestions, only (ideally) only after someone has spoken.
- 0% of your interaction excludes people (“I”). Don’t worry about not expressing your point of view; the group knows you have something to add and usually goes down. If you interrupt someone…take a break, apologize and encourage the person to continue.
Change from “I” to “you” more often. You will be amazed at how many ideas are on your team when you train people instead of telling them what to do.
Become the director of the atmosphere
Directing an orchestra is an emotional process as well as a technical and artistic one. If the conductor is nervous, so is the orchestra. Instead, a confident conductor brings out the best, even in the best performers.
You are the engine of your marketing team and you attract all the attention. Part of your role as a marketing leader is the humor director.
You will almost certainly want them to feel confident, valued, and upbeat. Lead with the same confidence and optimism from the beginning, offering lots of praise and encouragement.
Be generous when justifying yourself and when it’s difficult, help the team deal with negative emotions