The best online marketing results come from a great online marketing team. But they can’t be great on their own – they need someone who can guide them towards their own potential. This is where being a good leader comes in.
Even the most charismatic of people will need special soft skills if they want others to respect and follow them. Lasting admiration from your peers won’t just come naturally because you’re friendly or charming. This is something I had to learn the hard way when I first became a leader.
SEO is already a highly stressful and dynamic industry. Thus, pooling together the best people and asking them to work together is NO walk in the park. Giving someone easy tasks won’t endear you to them. But being cold and calculating won’t make you an icon either.
The best thing to do is to EMPOWER those around you: to help them realize that they have the authority and ability all along. Once they realize the unique greatness they possess, they won’t just be productive – they can be successful. Imagine an office full of thriving workers, driving the company forward.
Empowering people takes time. It needs trust, respect, and forgiveness. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get started today.
Try these three basic steps to empower your online marketing team towards more project successes:
Step 1: Learn to say NO.
One of the worst rookie mistakes leaders make is ALWAYS being available.
Helping or guiding employees through their tasks is different than being burdened by it at the end of the day. If a worker can’t seem to figure it out, let him solve things on his own. Provide the basics, but let him/her do the legwork. You’d be surprised by how capable most folks are.
Don’t make your employees become dependent on YOU. That’s why one of the most valuable skills leaders can possess is delegation. By assigning tasks to people of applicable skills, not only do you show trust in their talents, you also allow room for yourself to breathe.
If you want to empower your online marketing team, learn to say NO.
It’s going to be hard at first, but people need to learn that they can actually do a lot of things by themselves – even without guidance. It’ll be tough at first. But if you hired the right people, they will understand and figure it out.
Step 2: Ask Questions.
Let’s assume that your online marketing team has figured it out. But oops – they didn’t do a good job. Or worse, the project was NOT delivered, leaving the client frustrated. Now what?
Before pointing fingers or giving a long sermon on ‘accountability’, pause, and then ask questions. This strategy does two important things:
- Your team won’t suddenly become defensive because it will show that you’re interested on their side of the story.
- It will give you some time to phrase your words properly and also think of solutions.
Be sincere in your willingness to listen by providing follow-up questions or statements. Encourage the discussion with an open posture and gestures. Nod occasionally. Pay attention to their tone of voice. What is your team really saying? Here’s an example:
Leader: I understand that the marketing team was not briefed about the changes we made during the last discussion. What happened?
Team member: I feel like I didn’t need to say those details.
Leader: What do you mean?
Team member: I didn’t feel confident discussing something I didn’t understand myself.
Leader: I see. What are the specific points you need to clarify? We can talk about it now so that you can relay this to them later on.
Remember: in work, something is always bound to go wrong. But by offering a listening ear, you can empower your team to realize that they can resolve anything – no matter what comes their way. This makes them more dependable in the long run.
Step 3: Be Consistent with Follow-Ups.
If you’ve been ‘enabling’ your online marketing team to be dependent on you for so long, it’s going to take a while to empower them to act on their own. This might take weeks, months, even years. But as a leader, it’s YOUR responsibility to follow-up on their progress.
An online marketing team that has grown accustomed to uninspiring results could influence others in the workplace. This may lead to poor office morale, degrading quality of work, or frequent arguments.
So ensure that everybody understands AND agrees to the terms/objectives of the project. Review your company policies if needed before handing out rewards or prizes for recognition. Delegate tasks according to people’s strengths. Balance weak points by encouraging collaboration and open discussions.
Set a positive tone for your online marketing team to follow.
To Empower Is To Draw Out Fear
Many companies (as well as managers) are afraid to empower their teams. Why? It’s because they’re afraid that once people are given back power, they will abuse it. They will become lackadaisical. Who knows, they may even leave the company.
But it’s time to change that way of thinking.
Millennials in particular, are the type of workers who will devote all their time and talents to you – as long as they know that you are devoted to their growth. They want to feel valued and trusted. One of the simplest ways to make them feel like a part of something BIG is to give power back in their hands.
When you empower your online marketing team, you are NOT losing authority – you’re simply sharing it. You’re showing that fear has no place where trust and respect rule. It won’t happen overnight, of course. But as a great leader, empowering your team everyday gets you closer to that goal.
No matter what your online marketing goals are for 2017, make sure your team is completely onboard. After all, where would you be without them?