The Importance of Developing Leadership: 5 Main Skills
When your profession is related to marketing of any kind, there are few essential skills it imposes:
- Making initiatives,
- Calling people to action,
- Thinking of creative solutions and implementing them in practice,
- Turning followers into leads and leads into buyers,
- Inspiring the rest of the team to follow your vision,
- Communicating with upper levels of management, so you can understand each other for the sake of developing a successful marketing project.
From developing integrations to strategic support, from creating creative concepts to optimizing results.
All these skills have a lot in common with leadership skills. When you become a good marketing expert, you’re on your way to becoming a successful leader. When you work on your leadership skills even if you don’t attempt to get a promotion, you’re essentially becoming a better marketing expert.
Why Should All Marketing Practitioners Work on Their Leadership Skills?
All organizations want to differentiate themselves among the competition. That’s where marketing experts get into the picture. Their responsibility is to plan social media marketing campaigns, promotional materials, paid advertising, email marketing campaigns, and much more. Needless to say, marketing teams are taking on a more prominent role in organizations than the one they used to have.
Simple Facebook pages and periodical marketing campaigns are no longer enough. Not so long ago, the simplest way of doing marketing was hiring freelancers or outsourcing the tasks to marketing firms. Many organizations are still hiring online college homework help services when they need content or graphic design projects. However, most of them are moving towards a more strategic approach that involves long-term collaboration with a specific marketing team.
That’s why they need marketing experts higher in their hierarchy.
All important organizations have marketing departments, and there are leaders within those departments. So if you aim for professional progress, you should clearly work on your leadership skills.
The good news is that you have absolutely nothing to lose if you start working on your leadership skills. On the contrary; you have a lot to benefit from!
Top 5 Leadership Skills to Develop when You Work in Marketing
The mere thought of getting active on LinkedIn gives you the chills? Why?
You are or you intend to become a marketing expert, so personal branding should definitely be an easy job for you. If you know what it takes to promote a product, then you should certainly feel comfortable promoting yourself.
First of all, networking is fun. However, it’s also essential to your professional and personal growth. When you get in touch with important people from various industries, you learn from them.
Fortunately, LinkedIn makes networking easy. You only need to develop the perfect profile and start making connections. Here are few tips to help you with that:
- Your profile has to be great. Use a custom URL, find the perfect profile photo, and pay tons of attention to the way you craft the summary. Show some facts and numbers, which prove how successful your projects have been.
- Start initiating connections. You want to connect with other marketing experts, as well as with leaders from the industry you’re interested in. Don’t be afraid to initiate conversations; that’s what LinkedIn is all about – making business connections.
Now, you might be wonder: what does networking has to do with leadership? A lot! The practice of networking teaches you how to impress strangers in few words. It forces you to act with the confidence of a leader. Plus, you try to create business opportunities that would lead you and your team towards better results.
You may be an excellent marketer. You may develop almost all leadership skills that would set you up for success. But if you don’t possess extraordinary communication skills, you cannot be a good leader.
A great leader is defined and recognized by their ability to communicate goals and intentions. Through proper communication, they inspire the team members to do a better job.
There are four main communication skills you have to master:
This is where you start. When someone is talking to you, it’s not just about getting the essence of their message. It’s about understanding the whole point, so you can develop effective communication from there on.
When you’re listening to someone, you should maintain eye contact. That’s a basic gesture of showing respect. Be attentive and listen to every word they say without thinking about yourself in the meantime. Just get their message, but don’t do it in a tense way.
You should never interrupt someone while they speak, no matter how long it takes. If you want to address specific points in the discussion, feel free to take notes.
Finally, it’s important to have an open mind. Not everyone can have the same opinion as you. Maybe this person has a point that can make you change your approach. Maybe their remarks can help you improve this project.
Be honest: how many times have you admired successful speakers through TED talks? They have the ability to inspire people to take action. That’s exactly what you want to do if you aim to become a leader.
Start by simple communication. During meetings with your team, don’t hold back and speak up! Work on your face-to-face communication skills before you start working on your public speaking charm. Don’t worry; you’ll get there! You simply need enough practice.
This is a communication skill that many marketing experts tend to neglect. You’re not writing academic papers that would get you good grades, so why bother improving your writing skills? You’re not even writing blog posts; you hire professional writers to do that for you.
Surprise, surprise: writing still is important. You still have to write emails on a daily basis. You still have to write messages to superiors and to your team. You still have to prepare your presentations. So you better start a daily writing practice that yields results!
Body language is part of your personal appeal. A great leader has charisma that shines through their gestures. Their magnetism starts attracting people as soon as they enter a room.
To start working on your body language skills, you have to become aware of your gestures. How do you use your hands while you speak? How do you sit? What’s your posture like? Where do you look? What’s your face like? Do you seem confident enough?
Observe how great leaders do it. You may watch TED talks or YouTube videos of people who’ve mastered the art of body language. Then, you can imitate some of the gestures that add to their confidence. Practice and you’ll get better!
3. Showing Initiative
Showing initiative is part of a leader’s job description, but it’s also an essential aspect of a marketing expert’s job. When you develop this skill, you expand your professional potential and you’re ready to grab better opportunities.
- Always share your ideas. When you’re part of a marketing project, you’re clearly expected to contribute to the idea generating process. Even if the strategy is already outlined and you have specific tasks to cover, you shouldn’t stop brainstorming. Maybe you can come up with great ideas to improve the flow of the project. Do that, and don’t hold back to share your ideas with the rest of the team. Maybe they won’t always accept them. It’s okay; don’t let your ego torture you. The important thing is to keep coming up with good ideas and putting them out there.
- When your superior asks if someone from the team is ready for extra duties, grab the opportunity! The more you get outside your comfort zone, the more you learn. The more you learn, the more ideas you get. Clearly, those ideas will lead to better initiatives on your part.
4. Critical Thinking
High-level jobs always involve high-level responsibilities, and critical thinking is one of them. This skill indicates your capacity to evaluate a situation from all aspects and predict the outcome before it happens. If the predicted outcome is not favorable, you’ll make changes to avoid that scenario and lead the team towards better performance.
If, for example, you’re facing a wave of people who unsubscribe from your email marketing campaign, that’s a clear sign that you need a change. You’ll evaluate every single factor that might contribute towards such actions of your subscribers. You’ll analyze the campaigns of your competitors. You’ll survey the target audience to find out what would attract more people. Then, you’ll change the development of the campaign to take it to a new course.
Good news: people are not born with critical thinking skills; they develop them through practice. Here are few tips to help you on that journey:
- Analyze the information you have! All reports related to your marketing campaign are not useless. Even though they look just like numbers, they hold a valuable message. Analyze those numbers and if they don’t give you enough information, dig deeper.
- Think realistically: where could the current situation get you? As a leader, you must always plan ahead. Those plans won’t be simple wishes; they must be realistic!
- When you realize that the project is not headed to a good direction, change something! Solutions and actions are part of the critical thinking process.
5. Motivating Other People
Leaders motivate! That’s the main skill that differentiates them from usual workers. They have an ability to affect how other people think and act.
First of all, a true leader will choose passionate people to be part of their team. However, they won’t expect that passion to feed out of itself. They will encourage it further! They will push the employees to show initiative and boost their ambitions. They will recognize unsatisfactory performance and they will stimulate the employees to do better.
To start motivating other people, there are few things you need to do:
- Be very positive! Even when someone is making mistakes, focus on the way they could improve instead of focusing on the bad performance. Instead of saying “This design is terrible and it just won’t work,” you can say “I’d like you to improve specific points, so we’ll get to a better design.” Then, you’ll give instructions and you’ll encourage the team member to work harder.
- Be a good example! You want your team members to invest tons of effort in the project? Do the same thing! Show up on time and be a hard worker!
- Work on your emotional intelligence. You have to sense someone’s personality and identify the ways they could get motivated. Some people like constructive criticism. Others are overwhelmed by it. You have to catch the right moment and choose the right words, so you won’t make anyone feel bad when you’re trying to motivate them.
Do you have what it takes to be a good leader?
Let’s be clear: no one has the perfect skill set for becoming the perfect leader. Even the best ones have flaws. But do you know what the best leaders do? They recognize their flaws and they work on them. They are willing to invest the time and effort into developing relevant skills. That’s exactly what you should do, too.