by Rick Skidmore
When you think of the stereotypical marketing guru, do you think of someone with Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and Microsoft Suite skills? Perhaps they have other specific skills such as HTML, CSS, or a vast knowledge of branding and customer interactions? A small company may find it hard to find one person with all these skills. But for you corporations, do you want a person with one set of skills or the other, or someone with it all leading your marketing department? There are plenty of marketing minds with creative thinking and another good number with strategic vision. Both types of marketers serve good but different purposes. Which one is best for marketing leadership?
Can leadership be taught or learned? Maybe you have to be born with such abilities. Either way, you will not be a great leader if you don’t practice some characteristics that will help sharpen your brain and your leadership decision making. From the Harvard Business Review, What Makes a Leader? by Daniel Goleman, he shares 5 components to emotional intelligence.
Good leaders understand and are capable of using emotional intelligence. Naturally this comes with age and maturity. Some take training to improve these characteristics but can often be in vain due to the fact that training can work the wrong part of the brain.
Emotional intelligence is practiced in the neurotransmitters of the brain’s limbic system. This area controls the impulses, feelings, and drive or passion. This limbic system will learn best through motivation, extended practice, and feedback.
In the neocortex of the brain, there are different lessons to be learned. In this area analytical and technical development take place. This is where a person makes logic and understands concepts which lead to actions such as writing a blog post or starting up a business.
Out of these two different areas of the brain, the one that naturally gets all of your educational attention from books and school is the neocortex. This is not the area that develops your leadership concepts. Use this part of the brain to understand the 5 components and then put a plan in action to practice them. This will grow roots for a great leader.
If you have potential marketing leadership staff now within your organization, you could take these concepts and start training and grooming for future management positions. The technical skills will come but the leadership characteristics will be harder to find. Hiring within the company gives you the opportunity to train the thinking of the prospective marketing manager to the way you would like him or her to think for your specific industry or company’s future.
You may say that it is easier to hire someone who possesses these characteristics already, but they won’t have an understanding of your business like another employee does. They will also have a different insight or experience that will lead your company in a different direction. If you like the direction you are going and don’t want to change this may not be the option you are looking for. But if you want to change the direction and could use a new perspective, then hiring outside of the organization will be beneficial.
At Netmark, we look for potential marketing leadership individuals to join our team. It is important that they are willing to learn and develop the skills needed for SEO, PPC, CRO, and others. In an industry that is constantly changing we need individuals who can quickly adapt to change. We hold multiple weekly meetings to keep all our marketing strategists informed of the newest and up-to-date best practices. These characteristics have driven greater results and success for our agency and is taking us to new heights.
When looking for a marketing coordinator, director, or upper management for your company or agency, consider an individual who has these 5 characteristics. Skills can be learned, but characteristics are harder to come by.