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Managing a team can feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders.
You’re responsible not only for your own work, but for the output of all your direct reports, too.
In fact, it has been said that the true measure of a manager’s productivity, is actually the measure of their team’s output as a whole.
No pressure, right?
Fortunately, learning how to effectively guide high-functioning marketing departments isn’t impossible.
By investing in proper skill development and establishing solid processes, you can stop feeling like you’re herding cats and successfully lead your team to success.
Before digging into the meat of this post, take a second to download these no-cost resources:
Combined with the in-depth advice in this post, you’re well on your way to taking the pain out of corralling creative teams and managing marketers the best way.
Managing people is about much more than just being someone else’s boss.
It means making your success be other’s success.
Everything else about the role stems from this simple truth.
When you’re in the lead, it isn’t all about you, even though you’re ultimately the one steering the ship. It’s about making sure everyone performs up to their potential.
Achieving that aim is easier said than done though.
One way to give yourself the edge when it comes to team management is to use the Team Management Dashboard in CoSchedule (and if you’re new, it’s an industry-leading marketing management platform).
It makes it easy to see your entire team’s workload and the progress they’re making in one place:
Check it out. Then, schedule a demo to see how it can change the way you manage your team.
Whether you’re new to management or you’ve been leading marketing teams for a while, you’re bound to face some barriers.
The team you’re managing will likely need to collaborate with other teams, too.
But, if those teams are siloed, that can make getting things done difficult.
There are a few reasons for that:
Rallying your team to succeed requires having a shared goal.
Otherwise, what are you actually working toward?
Without some sort of objective, you’re liable to just do a lot of stuff, look busy, and accomplish nothing.
That, in turn, leads to a burned out team that’s working hard but ends up with nothing to show for it.
If no one’s steering the ship, you’ll never end up where you want to go.
And if you’re reading this, odds are leadership falls on your shoulders.
Businesses, in general, are feeling a gap between leadership wants and reality, too.
According to a study from Globoforce, a full 93% of managers need training on how to train their teams.
If that sounds shocking, perhaps it shouldn’t. Management and leadership are skills that take years of experience to develop. Excelling at helping others excel takes years of intentional practice.
Fortunately, you don’t have to depend completely on hard-fought lessons in the rough and tumble trenches of marketing and business.
For one thing, you’re reading this blog post. That’s a point in your favor.
And if you’re part of the 93% who need some help, at least you’re not alone (and odds are the other 7% are lying anyway).
When people and processes are disorganized, everything else downstream has a tendency to fall apart.
How damaging is disorganization when it comes to collaboration and productivity?
Business2Community calls out some more workplace-specific downsides to disorganization:
Unchecked egos and selfish behavior can completely undermine a team’s success, and make managing one much more difficult.
The fact is that teams win and lose as a group. One person thinking they know better than anyone else can throw everyone’s efforts off track, and generally create an environment where no one wants to work.
This problem is pervasive enough that authors David Marcum and Steven Smith wrote in the book Egonomics that ego is “the invisible line item on every company’s profit and loss statement.”
Avoiding the pitfalls outlined above and guiding your team toward success will require a robust skill set.
Here are nine must-haves:
Next, here are some additional tips and resources on how to develop each of these skills to make you an effective team manager.
CoSchedule has a number of team leads who didn’t have team management experience prior to joining the company.
How did they learn?
A few ways:
For marketing managers looking to develop leadership skills, consider taking these next steps:
Managing marketing teams is often akin to herding cats.
That is, at least, if you don’t invest time or resources in getting organized.
Sometimes, marketers and creative professionals take pride in being productive without being organized. But, that attitude almost assuredly holds teams back.
This can be as simple as nailing down the following two things:
Even if you’ve moved into a leadership role, there’s still value in keeping your execution skills sharp.
It’s also worth developing knowledge around what all your team members do.
Fortunately, there are more resources available than ever to continue your learning and professional development online.
At a basic level, team leads are often responsible for managing projects. You might not consider yourself a project manager by trade (which is a broad and complex discipline), but you do need to coordinate projects and campaigns to make sure they’re executed efficiently and effectively.
It’s common for people to butt heads in the workplace.
But when things spiral out of control, it’s up to you to resolve the issue.
This isn’t typically easy or comfortable. Neither of those facts are excuses, though.
So, what do you do?
The American Management Association outlines a five-step process:
Sticking to those steps can help you keep your head squarely on your shoulders and get to a solution fast, so your team can keep working productively.
Active listening means more than just hearing what people say. You have to also understand the actual meaning of what people are trying to tell you. This is especially important for managing teams, particularly if you have team members who are reticent to explain concerns in clear language.
Developing better listening skills isn’t hard though. It just requires some intentional thought and practice.
The word “authenticity” has gotten carelessly batted around the marketing industry so much that the word has almost lost its meaning. However, being authentic with your communication is crucial for managing teams effectively.
This goes for everyone else in just about any company or organization, too. Lack of honest communication can cause a lot of other problems that become compounded over time.
Don’t play favorites between team members. That’s all there is to say here.
So, how do you actually apply all of this information?
Starting with a clear management framework is a good place to start.
Here’s an adapted version of how CoSchedule manages its teams.
The “scrum” concept comes from the agile software development world, but it has become increasingly common in marketing teams, too.
In plain English, they’re daily meetings where everyone on the team talks about:
In simplest terms, that’s it.
Using the Team Management Dashboard in CoSchedule (if you’re a customer), you can also easily see everything that everyone is working on, too.
In addition to daily scrums, set up one-on-one syncs with each team member. Set aside a half-hour to an hour at the same day and time each week.
In those meetings, pull open a Google Doc or Evernote and take notes on the following:
While scrum should be reserved for talking about what’s actively getting worked on, and what might be preventing that work from getting done, your one-on-ones should be more about personal development, future planning, and how each team member feels things are going.
In short, it’s an opportunity to actually talk to the team about what’s really happening within the department. That face time is valuable, and if you don’t proactively set time aside for it, it might not happen organically.
Where do all those projects live?
Ideally, in some type of marketing management platform.
CoSchedule is the perfect option for the job, too.
It’s a software management platform that’s built to be the hub for all your projects, team members, and tools.
Here’s a quick look at how it works:
So, say you want to create a project and manage your team from start to finish.
First, click the plus sign on a day on your calendar to create a new project:
This will present you with all of the different content types you’ve specified for your calendar (these can be customized easily to fit your needs):
For the sake of example, let’s start with a WordPress post. Give it a title:
Next, over to the right, you’ll add Team Members and Tasks.
Once your team is in CoSchedule, use Tasks to create a checklist for the project workflow (or use Task Templates to create and save reusable task lists).
Clicking the face silhouettes will allow you to assign any users associated with your account, to the project:
Click into the “New task …” box, assign it to a team member, and add a deadline:
Continue until you’ve created an entire workflow. Then, as you’re working through the project, use Discussion Threads to communicate with the team, share files, and manage version control on documents:
Once the project is created, you’ll be able to see it alongside all your other campaigns and projects, all in one place, too:
Finally, once you have your team management process in place, you’ll want to measure the results.
The easiest way to do this is with Team Performance Reports in CoSchedule.
Find your Analytics tab here:
Then click Team Performance Report:
Next, you’ll see comprehensive charts breaking down the percentage of tasks each team member has completed on time and passed deadline. Each time someone checks off a task on a project, it’s tabulated here.
You can see this across your entire team or company:
And by team member:
This makes it easy to see exactly how well the team is hitting its deadlines, and whether there may be productivity hurdles to overcome. It’s possible that some team members might be overloaded, while others may need more challenges.
That covers the ground you need to get started (and hopefully, without getting too overwhelmed). Take things a step at a time, give yourself room to make mistakes, and if you’re so inclined, consider giving CoSchedule a try, too. You’ve got this.
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