“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.” This is one of my favorite quotes from a months’ worth of Huddles on how CMOs can be better leaders, which after a bit of winter leaf raking brought me to the metaphor of the gardener.
Just as a gardener knows there is more to a verdant garden than watering the plants, CMOs mustn’t forget that they are key strategic drivers for the business in more ways than pipeline. Below, find 6 leadership tips you can use to tend to your career, your team, and your company.
Enrich the Soil
A well-cultivated foundation shows you know what you’re doing when it comes to growing an abundant garden. So start with getting the demand gen engine running smoothly, and then make your mark by finding underperforming areas of the business and volunteering to fix them. One Huddler’s former boss did this, and he became the president of a multibillion-dollar company before he was 40.
Prune to Grow
The budget cuts and reduced headcounts this year are upsetting, but even pruned plants grow back. And sometimes stronger than ever if you do it right. A great leader looks for opportunities to optimize, to pivot, and to help their companies focus on the regrowth that waits on the other side of crises.
Care In, Care Out
Tend to your garden and it will grow, give back, and grow again. Give your team useful and direct feedback to really help them evolve. Be good to staffers on the way in and on the way out, no matter what. The more careers you help develop as a CMO, the more talent you’ll have to pick from when you’re in future roles.
Let Teams Thrive
A great leader creates space for their teams to feel safe and thrive, and there are many signals if you’re doing it right. Asking for direct feedback about how you’re doing is one way. If your team is coming to you with new ideas and outsized thinking, that’s another. Retention is yet another—one Huddler noted that the safe haven they cultivated has enabled over a 95% retention rate.
Tend Every Day
Don’t neglect your garden—you never know what care it might need. Employees are on edge amidst the confluence of layoff announcements, recession prognostications, the lingering pandemic, and WFH isolation, so keep their spirits up. Give them positive feedback and reserve time to shoot the shi*t, grumble about anything, celebrate something. And do it regularly. One Huddler calls this “the daily dopamine hit.”
Tiptoe Through the Tulips
Your staff is watching your every word and looking for signals, especially in turbulent times. CMOs need to recognize the weight of their words and behavior. When you’re reviewing and approving things, really think about how your responses can make employees feel. When you’re late for a meeting or obviously checking your email when someone’s talking, they’ll follow your example.
If you’ve got some fertilizer to enhance this conversation, don’t hesitate to trowel it our way!