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6 Non-Negotiable Qualities of a Marketing Team Leader

Allan Dib
Allan Dib

Good leadership can mean the difference between a happy team and an unproductive team.

Good leadership plays a crucial role in ensuring the success of a business. It can mean the difference between a happy, thriving team that consistently exceeds your goals versus an unproductive, miserable team that spends every spare minute of their workday job hunting.

As a business owner, your focus should always be on big-picture, entrepreneurial goals. If you're majoring in the art of micromanaging and implementation, it’s likely your business isn't growing and your people are frustrated. 

Before you think "that’s not me," consider that 65% of employees are more likely to take a new boss over a pay raise. This suggests that most (and possibly all) of the people on your team have worked for an inadequate leader. 

Building an A-team requires a leader who thrives in an autonomous environment, someone hungry to grab the reins and hit the ground running. Not only are they self-motivated to achieve beyond expectations, but they're in tune with the needs and wants of their team members. They are the key to building a productive and happy marketing team.

To avoid being relegated to "bosshole" status, step back and find a great marketing team leader. Here are the six non-negotiable qualities of the perfect candidate. 

1. Mad copywriting skills

It might seem like an odd first choice, but the ability to write compelling stories, or at least recognize what good copy looks like, is central to marketing and marketing success. It touches everything – from social media to video creation, blogging, websites, newsletters and much more. 

I believe that anyone who can master words has many other great attributes that they can bring to a business. They already understand how to put a good message together, so they're likely to be an excellent communicator. 

These people are also naturally curious. If they don't know the answer, they search for it. As business owners, our time is money. You want a team leader who can see the big picture and work with you on that. Then leave the details to an employee. 

2. Tech-savvy 

Advanced digital skills are among the top two fastest-growing skill categories in tech-centric occupations. But knowing how to operate the latest iPhone doesn't mean you can figure out how to use a content management system. And since marketing has become so much more technical, your team leader needs to feel at home working with customer relationship managemnet platforms, setting up landing pages and websites, and editing videos, to name a few.

A technophobe won't succeed, especially if this role involves working remotely, which is very likely. In 2019 alone, 66% of U.S. companies allow remote work, while 16% are fully remote. You want someone who might not know how to use a particular piece of technology, but they're willing to buckle down and figure out how it all works, or reach out to someone who does.

3. Leadership potential

Your team leader needs leadership potential. It's challenging to determine leadership ability from an interview because many people make excellent interviewees but are terrible at their job. Sadly, once they're in your business, it is difficult to remove them. 

But there are ways to avoid hiring the wrong person. 

  • Look at their background. See what they've done and whether they've been successful. 
  • Get in touch with former colleagues. Don't focus on their LinkedIn profile or the glowing review their boss gave them. You want to talk to the people whom they've worked closely with day in and day out. You’ll quickly learn if they’re a team player and a motivator, or not.
  • Pay close attention to their attitude. Are they open to trying new things, even if it scares them? Do they show enthusiasm or are you met with skepticism? I hire people who don't necessarily have all the skills required for a position because this means they're open to change, to learning how to do things a different way.
  • Set a test task and see how they run with it. Give them a framework around the result you want to achieve and let them figure out how to do it. 

4. Project management

If you, as a business owner, want to focus on the work that makes you happy, you need a team leader who's capable of taking a project from ideation through to delivery without knocking on your door every half an hour or so. 

This is someone who will come to you and say, "Hey, I think we need to implement this, and here’s why," and then go ahead and make it happen with minimal input from you. Part of their role involves working with project management tools. They're going to be assigning tasks while managing project delivery and budgets so it’s essential that they’re responsible and can manage their time.

5. Teachable and coachable

The very best leaders are teachable and open to doing things differently. They rarely think they know it all. You don’t want someone who is set in their ways. People with years of experience dislike change. They know what works for them, and they’re not easily swayed to try something new. 

I like to hire based on attitude, not experience. For me, you can always teach technical skills, but you can't teach a can-do attitude. 

6. A self-starter

This is possibly the most important quality of a team leader. A self-starter is someone who has confidence and is motivated to work autonomously without needing to be babysat and continuously asked how things are going. It's a cliche, but it's essential for leaders running remote teams. 

Now that you know what qualities to look for in a marketing team leader, it's time to advertise the position. I've put together a sample job description that you can tweak to meet your needs.

Marketing team leader job description example

If you love all things marketing, and dream of heading up a remote team that gets results, read on. You will be in charge of implementing marketing campaigns that generate leads, acquire new customers and retain existing customers. Prior experience in a similar role is helpful but by no means a necessity.

As the marketing team leader, you will be responsible for coordinating, planning and executing marketing campaigns across multiple media channels.

You must be able to recognize and write engaging copy, be tech savvy, and be open to learning new ways of doing things.

We are a small business, so you will establish a collaborative working relationship with the owner, who will work with you on big-picture and strategic goals. It is your responsibility to determine the right tactics and handle the implementation and execution.

A successful candidate must be able to organize, plan, and structure their workload without requiring the business owner's input on every decision. If you thrive under micromanagement, this is not the job for you. It's best suited for a person who prefers to work autonomously and enjoys taking on a great deal of responsibility.

A happy team is the mark of a great leader.

Unhappy teams have high turnover rates, and replacing these employees is expensive, time-consuming, and counterproductive. Invest in a great team leader who engages your people, and your startup or small business is going to thrive. Best of all, this frees up your time to focus on the work that makes you happy.

Image Credit: Fizkeys/Shutterstock
Allan Dib
Allan Dib Member
I’m a serial entrepreneur, a rebellious marketer, and the bestselling author of The 1-Page Marketing Plan (Amazon’s #1 global marketing book). I’ve started, grown, and exited several successful businesses, one of which was named in Business Review Weekly’s (now AFR) Fast 100 List. I’ve made it my life’s work to provide clear and simple frameworks for marketing success. As a marketing business coach, I help entrepreneurs worldwide to find new and innovative ways to leverage technology and marketing to facilitate rapid business growth.