3 things marketing leaders need to do to effectively lead hybrid teams

Scott Stein

Scott Stein works with leaders and staff to implement fast-track strategies that improve results. He is author of the updated book Leadership Hacks: Clever shortcuts to boost your impact and results which includes Hybrid Hacks.


Many marketing leaders are scrambling to give their people more flexible work. And they need to: PWC’s Future of Work report showed 90 per cent of staff want some form of hybrid or remote workplace. 

Yet when sustaining a creative and collaborative marketing team, this can create a challenge. For marketing leaders to be effective here, are 3Rs of leading Hybrid Marketing teams worth pursuing.

Relatability

For some reason, we as human beings are naturally attracted to people who are like us. Marketing teams are no exception. People bond when they have things in common. This often occurs when you meet someone for the first time and find you have a shared experience. It could be you’ve been to the same place on holiday, seen the same movie or worked in the same industry. 

Marketing leaders need to find ways to be more relatable to their people in order to build trust. When you are in an office environment, there are many small opportunities to create this bond. It could be eating takeaway meals when working late on a product launch or spending time together brainstorming creative ideas with co-workers.

When working with hybrid and remote staff, marketing leaders need to find ways to be even more relatable to their people. This can include having some 1:1 time (in-person or remotely) to truly connect and show interest in them as a person - beyond the marketing tasks that they are working on. 

Another key to building relatability is showing vulnerability. When you have a challenging decision to make, share this with key staff to enable them to provide their insights and advice. This creates a connection that demonstrates you are relatable, regardless of location.

Reliability

A reliable marketing leader is someone whose staff trust because they know they are not going to let them down. When everyone is together in the office, it is easy to see when people are following through. It’s a bit trickier when working remotely. The minute a leader does not follow through or blames staff for missing deadlines, people identify them as unreliable. A marketing team knows they cannot count on them when things get stressful or challenging.

Reliability is often about the consistency of a marketing leader’s approach. This includes consistency in communication, listening and the way they develop their people. In a physical office this consistency is easier for people to see. They notice when their leader takes the time to communicate with each of their people and if the time is equitable or not.

For a marketing leader, this means you need to provide updates more regularly when working with a hybrid team and not just through a typical email. It means making a greater effort to reach out and connect with those working remotely and doing it in a more consistent supportive way. 

Responsiveness

There are only 24 hours in a day and with technology speeding things up we will continue to have more and more things to respond to, especially in the marketing world. Everyone is busy and there are never enough hours in the day to complete everything, in particular when people work remotely and can get overloaded with back-to-back video calls.

This should not, however, be an obstacle for a marketing leader to be responsive to the needs of their people. The number one goal for most leaders is to inspire and assist their people in being creative and taking action to achieve marketing objectives. If a marketing leader is not doing this, what are they doing with their time? 

To be responsive marketing leaders need to ensure they quickly respond to requests for information, assistance or decisions. When staff send you an email, ensure you respond within 24 hours or sooner, if it is something critical. When working, hybrid staff cannot see their leaders so being responsive is one of the ways you demonstrate you are responding and supporting them.

As we continue to navigate the hybrid work environment, marketing leaders will need to do more to keep their people engaged and supported. By focusing on being more relatable, reliable and responsive you will be able to lead your marketing teams to new heights.  


 

Tags: leadership, CMO role, marketing leadership, people and culture

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