Being promoted to a management position can be a great feeling. If you’re working toward a marketing manager position or have recently been placed in one, you’re likely to have exceptional skills and abundant knowledge in your field. But as with any transition, it’s important to realize that things will be different for you from this point forward — and there are things you must do to prepare.
Your current professional and technical skills will serve you well in a marketing manager role, but there are additional skills, strategies, and mindsets you’ll need to adopt in order to become a successful manager. Following are some tips to help you transition successfully into a new management role, and continue advancing your marketing career.
As a marketing manager, your job is no longer a solo act. The primary responsibility of a manager is to work through others — to manage and support the performance of your team. Achieving this requires a fundamental shift in the way you view and approach your role within the company, and it’s often the most difficult part of the transition.
Of course, many first-time managers are often expected to be “working managers,” and chances are you’ll still have a functional role in addition to your leadership responsibilities. But your main task is to work through your team, delegate responsibilities, and mentor your employees. Resist the temptation to fall back into your previous, more comfortable role and focus on guiding your team as individuals working toward a common purpose.
Being an effective marketing manager requires a different skill set than those you’ve acquired as a marketing professional, and these new skills aren’t always intuitive. As you transition to a manager role, work toward improving fundamental leadership skills such as:
There are a number of different ways to develop these types of skills. Your company may have tools or programs available to help you improve management performance, such as training and ongoing education, mentorship programs, or workshops and seminars. If these tools aren’t available through your organization, you can educate yourself through relevant books, blogs and articles, online training courses, or even an informal mentor.
Investing in yourself to improve your management skills will pay off in terms of increased employee satisfaction, engagement, and retention, as well as overall organizational performance and advancement for your own career.
Ongoing education is essential for any career advancement path, including marketing managers. In addition to improving your management-specific skills, you should strive to learn more about the business itself. Each step forward in the ranks of management requires a greater understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing your industry — and the more you know, the better your performance and chances for further advancement.
A review of your company’s specific high-level goals is a good place to start. Make sure the current goals of your marketing department align with the more overarching organizational goals, and contribute to the success of the company. You can also learn more about your industry, and marketing in general, by reading trade or industry publications, subscribing to relevant blogs and newsletters, and following industry leaders on social media.
Just as your new responsibilities as a manager involve giving constructive and useful feedback to your employees, you need to solicit feedback on your own performance as a manager. For marketing managers, it’s important to gain well-rounded feedback from all levels — not just your supervisors, but also your peers and your employees. Take advantage of any feedback process your organization has in place, and if no mechanism currently exists, ask for informal feedback from your team, other managers, and direct supervisors.
Transitioning successfully to a role as a marketing manager requires a shift in your perceptions, your efforts, and your goals. When you lay the right foundation from the start, you can set yourself up for a long and successful career with further advancement opportunities.
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