How to turn a marketing team from reactive to proactive

One of the hardest tasks as a marketing manager is encouraging your team to be at the top of their game for as long as humanly possible.

The challenge lies in the fact no one can be one-hundred-percent ‘on it’ all the time. We all have our off days, and sometimes a bit of R&R or a lighter workload is vitally important.

What should be consistent, however, is the ability to be proactive.

If your marketing team feels more reactive than proactive, here’s some simple tips to turn them around.

Tell them!

You’re not running a dictatorship, but as the leader of the team, you do need to be honest and offer constructive feedback.

If the team isn’t being proactive enough, tell them. You don’t need to call a summit or hold intense one-on-ones with them, either. Do it as part of your weekly meeting or just an off-the-cuff chat in the office one day.

Don’t micromanage

Ugh – there’s nothing worse as an employee than having a manager who constantly micromanages everything you do.

You might feel like you’re doing the business and the employee a favour by keeping an ever watchful eye on their every movement, but in reality, you’ll simply be doing a lot of the legwork for them and they won’t have any inclination to be proactive.

Back off a bit and let the team members get on with their own jobs. They know what they’re doing, and then more space and trust you give them, the more likely they are to forge ahead on their own path.

Accept you don’t always know best

A big issue with team members becoming more reactive than proactive often lies in the manager believing that they always know best.

This results in projects being delivered dictatorially and no one else’s voice being heard. Just like micromanagement, this will push more people away than it engages; why should you be proactive if your manager seems intent on making every single decision for you?

Make everyone a key stakeholder in something

To have the impetus to be proactive, we all need to feel like we’re a key stakeholder in whatever it is we’re doing. It needs to feel like ours, albeit for a greater good (the business itself).

With that in mind, make sure everyone in the team is a key stakeholder in something. It might simply be a component part of a marketing campaign or an entire marketing campaign itself – depending on their experience and level of responsibility, choose something that will make them feel proud to come to work each day.

Become solution oriented

Does your marketing team regularly grapple with problems? If so, they probably need to become more solution oriented.

Problems arise all the time in marketing, but if the team starts viewing them as challenges that can be overcome, they’ll quickly get over any initial frustration and start proactively looking for a solution.

Wrapping up

Like anything in leadership, if you start at the top, you’ll find the ways you work and carry yourself through the working week will gradually trickle down through the ranks.

Are you proactive enough? The tips above can – and should – apply to everything you do yourself. Start there if you have suspicions about how reactive you can be!