Leading teams through organised chaos

Ways to manage and motivate teams in a digital industry

Updated: Dec 9, 2015 05:22:05 PM UTC

MindShift Interactive is a digital outreach powerhouse that provides businesses with a data-centric approach towards achieving an intelligent and impactful digital presence. We combine digital marketing and research to provide a better experience for the consumer and brand. It currently houses two business verticals - MindShift Digital, their digital marketing and influencer relations arm, and MindShift Metrics, a digital research & reputation management agency

The digital industry is plagued by high attrition and the only way to combat this is to build a connect with your team members, on both personal and professional levels

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Any workplace in digital is constantly striving to strike a balance between conventional means of marketing—inbred into your clients—and new areas of marketing such as digital marketing and its various counterparts. While the former has been defined in every management textbook, the latter has varied opinions constantly evolving through experts within the space.

Younger generations who have grown up with social media, through adequate training, tend to have a better grip on understanding new platforms and merging it with the management textbook marketing logics. When you talk about newer platforms such as DubSmash, Snapchat, Vine etc, understanding their usage through early adopters is a much better route compared to time-bound research.

As a digital account manager, I work with several clients across industries; with brands that are polar opposites of each other towards delivering solutions within digital marketing, and with each constantly needing to innovate in their strategy. Being able to depend on the team while making them accountable is how we are able to collectively deliver brilliant campaigns consistently. As you begin looking out for a young digital team, look for people who are personally active in the digital space and have diverse personalities to complement each other.

You will always find the millennials craving for a sense of authority and ownership. I belong to this generation as well and have thus realised that as long as you’re able to prove your worth, success will come to you. Here are a few elements that help you with organising and leading your teams in the right direction.

Recruiting and Managing Right I remember two girls recently posting a short and well-written note titled ‘Looking for a boss’ on a Facebook job group. The responses they received were overwhelming, including multiple offers over Facebook comments within minutes, including one from us. Now that’s the kind of young and dynamic talent you, as a leader, should always be on the lookout for.

Getting stuck on conventional portals is obsolete today. The social media savvy candidates flock to Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter as their preferred options, so you too must be there and have recruiters capable of identifying people there. Prior to making a decision on an interview or closing on a candidate, check out their social media profiles to understand their command of English, the kind of conversations they have, if they showcase any signs of creativity on their profile and the kind of brands they interact with digitally. All of this should help you understand if the candidate fits the profile you’re looking out for.

Building and Retaining Teams
The digital industry is plagued by high attrition and the only way to combat this is to connect with your team members, on both personal and professional levels. Engage with your team member right from their first day, and be a role model for them.

Provide a balance between a working environment they enjoy and one that they constantly learn from. Celebrate small and big victories with the entire team through recognition and highlighting people, applaud members who go out of their way to do something and take your team out every once in a while to connect with each other. You may even opt for digitally relevant activities such as WhatsApp or Facebook Groups to stay connected and discuss the latest happenings within the digital space. You must ensure you’re able to spend time helping team members understand their growth in the organisation and are able to identify and rectify concerns and address grievances. When they’re able to feel a strong connect with you and envision things at the same level as you, success will be yours in the form of them looking up to you as a mentor and friend, and not just a boss.

As a leader, your strength is defined by being a mentor and by contributing towards the overall growth of the organization. So avoid being biased towards a few team mates and recognising the strengths of only the top performers. Many teams are known to break due to this.

Ensuring Team Effectiveness
A digital team needs three pillars to be effective: Passion, performance and compatibility. This is where the team leader or the manager becomes the force behind the success or failure of a team.

To drive passion in your team, lead by example. The young are constantly yearning for new and fresh ideas and it’s the manager’s job to satisfy that craving by being proactive, aware and engaged with them. Heard of a new platform? Seen a new campaign that’s creating noise? Know of an updated Facebook feature? Be the first to read all about it and inform your team. As a leader, if you’re informed and able to discuss varied perspectives, it gives your team the motivation to do the same too. This activity will also project you as a self-motivated leader, a commendable quality in an industry that changes by the hour.

A vital step is to keep a tab on the team’s performance, both collectively and as individuals. You need to identify people by their strengths and weaknesses through constant reviews, helping identify areas that need improvement and providing a conducive environment for them to work in. One route that always works well for me is to mix teams based on what they would be able to complement the other on and regularly reshuffling them to avoid monotony as well as to find the right mix. To be able to jump into any role, especially when the team is balancing too many things, helps make you reliable and equally effective.

While there is no ideal route to succeed as a leader and one strategy rarely fits all, I believe as long as you keep the workplace flexible and maintain an energetic vibe, your team will have an edge over the rest. I’d love to hear from you, on tactics you use to grow and nurture your digital teams.

- By Laksh Arora is senior account manager, MindShift Interactive

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