For the CMO

Do’s and Don’ts of Fostering Effective Team Culture

If your marketing team isn’t working well as a group, it may be time to take a look at your team culture.

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The field of marketing can bring a lot of passionate, innovative minds together. While this can obviously be a wonderful thing, it’s also important to recognize that there can easily be “too many cooks in the kitchen,” resulting in a competitive, unhealthy vibe. If you feel like your team isn’t finding a way to be effective, looking at your team culture can be a helpful way to make some adjustments.

Do: Encourage radical honesty and transparency. Different members of your marketing team should bring different skills to the table. So, although you may have one expert in graphics and one in social media, each should be allowed to explain how his or her corner is affected by the others. You don’t want people feeling afraid to bring concerns to the table.

Don’t: Spend too much time recognizing certain team members over other ones or specifically congratulating certain people. Every marketing effort should be a team effort, and no success rides on one person’s shoulders. By calling people out, you’re creating a culture that fosters competition rather than efficiency. Instead, focus on what each individual teammate brought to the table during a success.

Do: Give people some space to work in the way they work best. Marketing is a creative field; sitting in a cubicle for 8 hours may not produce the most creative results. Allowing team members to go for walks, listen to music, or even work from home can foster a culture of creativity and new ideas.

Don’t: Discourage conflict. Some managers become so focused on wanting everyone to get along that they undermine a culture of vigorous, healthy debate. But that debate can be where the best solutions are found.

Do: Encourage team members to learn about things that interest them. If there’s a new analytics program or social media scheduling tool they want to try out, give them the freedom to do so. Marketing is an ever-changing industry, and sticking with old habits and routines isn’t going to create the innovation or strides you’re searching for.

Don’t: Hold grudges when teammates make mistakes. Of course, accountability is important, but the marketing industry often consists of trying new things that aren’t always successful. If you become fearful of taking risks, you’re never going to grow as a company. If a team member tries something new and it’s a flop, don’t hold it against him or her—just help the employee identify why he or she should avoid making the same mistake twice.