How Marketing Directors can combine leadership and management to drive accountability

11 January 2022| by Paul Avery

Effective leadership and management

Dedicated, talented and hardworking individuals are essential ingredients for any successful team, but without the guidance of a thoughtful, empowering leader and manager, the team will not reach its full potential. As such, the ability of the Marketing Director to create an environment in which people thrive — one in which individuals are inspired to hold themselves accountable — will determine how well their team performs.

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A successful team requires effective leadership and management

With so many variables to consider and so many things that could go wrong — especially when considering individual motives, ambitions and personalities — it’s important to foster a workplace where everyone on your team can perform at their peak, one where all are engaged and highly accountable. This requires a combination of both effective leadership and management.

Leadership involves factors such as providing clear direction to the team, ensuring they have the tools and support they need to succeed, trusting your team’s ability to get the work done and do it well, putting your department and company’s needs above your own, and taking time away to re-energise and maintain your focus when required.

Management, on the other hand, involves communicating well, setting clear expectations, maintaining a constant connection with each team member, monitoring employees via a consistent connection cadence (e.g. monthly catch-ups) and acknowledging them in a respectful and reinforcing way.

When it comes to leadership and management, people typically excel at one or the other, but it’s important to aspire to be strong in both.

How important is the role of the Marketing Director as a leader and manager? Research indicates that when employees are engaged at work, they tend to perform at their best; according to Gallup, engaged team members are “those who are involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work and workplace.” But considering that only 15 percent of employees say they are engaged in the workplace, most companies have a serious issue on their hands. You can ensure this is not the case in your department by creating a culture of accountability.


Generating accountability

Accountability is a critical factor when it comes to driving team performance. Put simply, someone must ensure that we’ll do what we say we will do, and that everyone is committed to the greater good of the team.

Perhaps unexpectedly, the Marketing Director is not the only person responsible for holding the team accountable (although it may feel like it). After all, it’s difficult to force people to be accountable. Instead, when it comes to fostering true accountability, the key is to inspire people to hold themselves and each other accountable.

But if you are a leader and manager, how can you achieve this?

A good first step is giving your team agency to make their own decisions and drive their own work, as this will give them a sense of ownership over how the work gets done (and the results they produce). Both help drive accountability.

You also have to create the right environment to encourage accountability. For example, by building trust among your team, you can begin to foster a culture in which people feel comfortable being open, honest and vulnerable with one another. They’ll also be more open to sharing their ideas and feedback, knowing they can do so without fear of rejection, ridicule or indifference.

Such an engaged environment empowers both individuals and teams to deliver excellence. In fact, employees who feel their voice is heard are 4.6 times more likely to feel empowered to perform their best work, according to Forbes. By creating a culture focused on the greater good, employees are motivated to work toward that together — ultimately, achieving more than any individual could on their own.

Creating a culture of accountability can easily be adopted by embracing the four truths as outlined in How to Be a Great Boss by Gino Wickman and René Boer. Number one, keep it simple, by following the principles of good management and leadership noted above. Second, be authentic — stay true to yourself if you want others to believe in and trust you. Third, care about your team. When people believe you sincerely care about them, including their well-being and growth, they will want to work for and with you. And, finally, you must seek greatness. Investing in self-improvement demonstrates your desire to be a great boss and sets the tone for encouraging others to be the best version of themselves.


Connecting each quarter

A powerful way to instill the cultural elements outlined above is to have frequent weekly or biweekly catch-ups with your team members, as well as more formal quarterly meetings. The latter are face-to-face, offsite meetings with each member of your team, designed to allow you to discuss priorities, roles, the company’s core values and any operational issues to determine what’s working and what’s not. This can be a powerful way of keeping everyone aligned and working together to move things forward for the common good.

Similar to these quarterly meetings, the annual review provides an opportunity for you to acknowledge both accomplishments and areas for improvement, maintain clear expectations and establish a plan for the next year.

In any company or department, your people are often your greatest asset. But unleashing that potential and ensuring your team performs at a world-class level requires both great leadership and management in order to inspire accountability among team members. Getting this right is the difference between a stagnant marketing department and one that’s always progressing.

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