Facing Leadership Moments with AF’s Marketing Team

We talk a lot about Leadership Moments here at AchieveForum. In planning our Leadership Moments campaign, the marketing team came together to share some of the simple but pivotal ways in which we face our own versions of these moments everyday.

By Jennifer Fields, Senior Demand Generation Marketing Manager

It’s inevitable at some point in your career you will run a meeting. Ranging anywhere from a big board presentation to a 1:1, the majority of us will put a meeting invitation on someone else’s calendar. Every time you do this, you experience a leadership moment – you are taking initiative to meet with someone and accomplish a task.

Over my career, I’ve found two best practices that I include on all calendar meeting invites that maximize this leadership moment for me. #1 – always include a meeting agenda. This helps the meeting attendees know what to expect during the meeting and everyone to come prepared. I’ve put meetings on calendars without any description and have had the response “I’m not prepared for this discussion, let’s reschedule”, pushing back my timeline and wasting time of attendees. #2 – include the intended goal of the meeting. This is your shining beacon to keep the meeting on track and what you can reference the whole time. Plus, stating goals and what was accomplished will make your attendees feel like their time spent with you was worthwhile – making them willing to take another meeting with you.

In sum, in as simple of a thing as scheduling a meeting, you can influence office perceptions, improve collaboration with others, and tackle some issues before they begin.

By Nicole Muto, Marketing Manager – Content & Social

As the resident content creator here at AchieveForum, I ask a lot of people for a lot of things – blog posts, podcast recordings, videos. What I’ve noticed in my requests is that people really tend to shy away from video, and I can’t blame them. I feel a giant body cringe coming on just thinking about myself on video, let alone having to record and share it to the masses.

Unfortunately for those of us that are camera shy, video is more prominent (in marketing and beyond) now than ever before. Google has even optimized its SEO rules to favor video content over the standard keyword practices. So when the team started brainstorming what we could do for a Leadership Moments campaign, we fell on creating personal videos for our Leadership Lab. I was eager to collect my colleagues’ videos, but I noticed myself pushing my own recording date further and further out.

In the past, I probably would’ve continued to push this out (maybe even into oblivion?), but I took a moment to reflect and be a bit more introspective. I asked myself, “how can I require this of others, if I’m not requiring it of myself?”. Now I know recording a 30-second video may not seem like a huge feat, but for me it was. It was my own little Leadership Moment that forced me to choose the type of leader, colleague, and person I wanted to be – and I want to be one of those people who puts their proverbial money where their mouth is. So you can watch my video here – I’ll be looking away the whole time.

By Heidi Marshall, Marketing Manager EMEA Region

Hi, I’m Heidi and I’m the Marketing Manager at AchieveForum for the EMEA region. The leadership moment I’d like to talk about today is around collaboration; and more specifically how often we all – leaders, managers and individual contributors – have to make decisions or influence decisions about who should be involved in particular meetings, projects and conversations. I think we’re often worried about over burdening each other – but also most of us would admit to having FOMO from time to time too!

I know here at AchieveForum we have many such conversations (I guess it’s internal politics!). Who should be involved? Who should be there? Who has value to add? Who is actually too busy for this one? Who are we just bringing in because it’s what we’ve always done? Who is ready for a new opportunity? I think it can be a very fragile situation where if you don’t get it quite right it can lead to disengagement. On the flip side, if you do get it right, it gives people the opportunity to work on something they enjoy doing and that they are passionate about. The feeling that you are personally bringing value to something can make or break how engaged you are.

I’ve certainly seen that a lot in the business here – where people are included in projects where we can channel into something we are passionate about. Some that come to mind are efforts around learning sustainment, driving gender balance, and more internally, data analysis and peer-to-peer coaching. In all these cases we see higher than usual levels of collaboration and more effective results.

So I guess my reflection is that it takes a deep level of understanding one another to get to that point, and perhaps more importantly, you need a real interest in each other to know what drives our colleagues and what they are really passionate about. I think it’s sometimes tough to say ‘oh I would have liked to have been part of that’ or ‘I don’t think I have much to add on this one’. For me, it’s a pivotal (and time consuming) part of everyday work life. But it’s something that’s important if we are to get the best of each other, and it’s definitely a step worth taking the time to get right.

By Udeet Datta, Marketing Manager – APAC Region

I find myself using the word “sole” when I describe the various managerial positions I have held throughout my career. I was the “sole” Communications Manager for a hotel, “sole” Marcom Manager for a beach resort, “sole” Marketing Manager for a tech start-up and so on. I actually only led a team when I was working for an FMCG consumer electronics brand and honestly, did not fare very well as a team leader. After this (unfortunately) negative leadership experience, I conducted a personal leadership “audit” that basically precipitated into the following pros-and-cons list of being a “sole” leader.

Direct report to the King

There were no directors/senior managers. I reported directly to the C-suite.

Pro: Strategic thinking was something I had to learn quickly. Though it took some time to go from being a person who simply executes, to actually designing a strategy and a plan of action with deliverables and metrics to base this on, I learnt the ropes eventually and consider myself fortunate to have had this opportunity so early on.

Con: Being both the “Head” and “Team” of my “Marketing Department” meant I needed to lead the plan of action and execute my plans to a tee. I can safely say there were some struggles and there are definitely a few things I would have done differently. Gauging my capabilities was another challenge here and meeting strict timelines (set by yours truly) was another issue in terms of execution.  This brings me to my next point.

Efficiency Aficionado

I have always looked up to individuals who can maintain focus and composure while delivering perfectly all the time. Taking on a singular role meant this was the case for me all the time.

Pro: As I was forced to take on multiple tasks, I had no choice but to remain focused and plan activities while delivering on them simultaneously. There were mistakes at first, of course (so many mistakes!) but eventually I was able to, almost autonomously, multi-task, design strategies and execute them. Accomplishing these multi-faceted assignments felt amazing!

Con: In a competitive arena, whether it is the tech sector or hotels, time is of the essence. As a singular operator, I always felt I needed to be faster. There is no point in getting that landing page up with the related digital campaigns if the competitor has done something similar, earlier than you. This was a constant pressure, though not necessarily imposed on me, still prevalent nonetheless.

Leader of No One

There is no pro here unfortunately. As the sole manager I had no people working under me so delegation was something I never learnt and still struggle with to this day. Delegating is a core skill essential to being a successful leader, so this is something that I will continue to work on.

In the meantime, I will relate delegation to teamwork.  There are goals to accomplish when you work within a team and we automatically are delegated, and delegate, tasks that need to be done. I will learn and when the opportunity presents itself to lead people, I am sure there are learnings I will be able to incorporate to become a better leader. Working for an L&D outfit will help too!

The good news is I am no longer a sole operator and work with a fantastic, cohesive team. I also have the pleasure of, for the first time, being led by a Marketing Director. So on top of working with like-minded, driven and accomplished individuals – I am part of a “Leadership MasterClass” reporting to a tenured leader who is a specialist in this field I am so passionate about i.e. marketing! Sole operator no more, and I am thrilled.

You’ll find that these leadership moments are all vastly different from each other. Some are small little ‘life hacks’ you learn along the way, and others are gargantuan, pivotal moments that shape your career forever more. Regardless, these moments are happening everyday, taking different shapes and forms, and presenting new and different problems. How do you face them?

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