6 Lessons for Managing Marketers

Managing people is, without a doubt, the most difficult part of my career so far. But it's also been the most fulfilling. For the past six years I've managed marketing teams and advised business owners on how to help their teams be more effective.

Here are six quick lessons, in no particular order, that I've learned about managing marketers:

1) Remember you hired creative people. Some will be loud and animated and some will keep to themselves. Having different attitudes and ways of working leads to more interesting work. But try to keep the loud ones away from the quiet ones if you can.

2) Ask your team if they want more responsibility. That project that you're struggling with and wish you had extra support on? There's already someone in your business or on your own team who will want to help—they just need you to bring it up first.

People are more likely to accept an order if they have had a part in the decision that caused the order to be issued.
— Dale Carnegie

3) Business owners forget that titles matter to employees—it's what they have to show for the work they've put in. So let your employees have good titles they can be proud of and that their peers will understand and appreciate. Joke titles make your company and your employees seem like a joke.

4) You don't have an “open door” policy if your office door is usually closed. Hopefully that doesn't require more explanation.

5) Youth is overrated. Try not to be someone's first job if you can avoid it. Hiring people with varied backgrounds leads to intellectual and emotional diversity that will make your team more creative and dynamic.

6) Everything you say is a promise. It's a unique phenomenon that bosses think they're sharing an interesting idea or hope, but employees hear a definite promise about the future. If you tell someone, “In a few months we'll take a look at your salary,” they heard, “In a few months you're getting a raise." So don't say one unless you mean the other.

Employees are natural boss-watchers. Everything their bosses say and do tells employees their real concerns, their real goals, priorities, and values.
— Isadore Sharp, founder of Four Seasons

Do you have any thoughts about managing marketers? Or are you struggling with a management issue you'd like help on? Let me know!