Imagine you and your team are running from a fire. Your leaders are ahead of you, with the rest of you clamoring to get to where they are, on the other side of a rushing river. You reach a steep ravine, which is the only way across and the only way you can get above it to the other side is with help from those ahead. You reach your hand up to grasp theirs. What do you do now? Do you hang like a wet noodle and make them hoist up your dead weight all on their own? Do you think they would even be able to save you if you did that? Of course, they would not! In fact, it is likely you would pull them down with you! You will do everything you can with all your might and every ounce of energy and strength you can muster, to scramble up and help yourself, and help them help you, right?
Why should marketing with a team be any different? Have you ever started with a new marketing venture, or joined a new program and just sat there waiting for something to happen? OK maybe you have never done that, but you undoubtedly know someone who has done this. If you are their leader, how do you handle that? Let them know you can give them some leverage, but they are going to have to pull their own weight at the same time. You can do this in a nice way, too. Here is a sample opening dialogue for someone who is “noodling”: “Mary, I am excited to have you on board. Now that you are a part of our team, we can help you in many ways. Tell me your biggest obstacle right now, and let’s work on how to get you through it.”
Maybe you have experienced the opposite effect, through leaders who hold out their hand but do not pull you up, making you do all the work. Here is how I might handle that: “I am glad to be a part of you team, Joe. Right now I am having trouble figuring out how to get from point a to point b. I am not doing myself or anybody else any good until I can work this out. Do you have any suggestions?”
Either way, remember you are part of a team. Really, no matter what business you are in, you are part of some kind of team, and two people working together can accomplish much more than two people working independently. Communicating your needs and asking for help from leaders and team members needs to be an absolute priority for you on a regular basis. Weekly at least, preferably more often, you need to check in with your team just to let them know what’s going on and that you are still available to help. If you need their help, do not be afraid to ask. People like to be needed. This is a basic fact of human nature. As human beings, we need food and shelter, but that is not all. We need to feel a sense of belonging.
How do we do this? We offer our help, and, we ask for help. When we accept help, we do it with resolve to help ourselves at the same time and participate in the progress. When we offer help, we do it with a willingness to get our sleeves dirty and sweat a little in the interest of helping our teammates. It really is a simple concept.