Let’s get real for a minute: As much as we hear about positive team cultures and healthy work environments in the digital marketing space, many of us encounter workplace scenarios which are far from the ideal. Some of us may even participate a group where we feel discouraged to share new ideas or alternative solutions because we realize it is likely to be shot down without discussion. Worse, there are several who feel afraid to ask questions or seek help because their workplace culture doesn’t provide a safe place for learning.
These kind of situations, and many others want it, exist in quite a few work environments. But what if I told you it doesn’t need to be in this manner?
Throughout the last a decade as a group manager at various agencies, I’ve been working hard to foster a work environment where my employees feel empowered to share their thoughts and can safely study on their mistakes. Through my experiences, I are finding a couple of strategies to combat negative culture and change it with a culture of vulnerability and creativity.
Below, I offer four simple steps you can follow that will transform your work environment into one that encourages new ideas, permits feedback and positive change, and ultimately allows you to and your team better digital marketers.
Vulnerability leads to creativity
I first learned all about the impact of vulnerability after watching a viral TED talk by Dr. Brene Brown. She defined vulnerability as “uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure.” She also described vulnerability as “the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity.” From this, I discovered that to make a culture of vulnerability is to make a culture of creativity. And isn’t creativity at the heart of what we SEOs do?
A culture of vulnerability encourages us to take risks, study on mistakes, share insights, and deliver top results to your clients. In the fast-paced world of digital marketing, we simply cannot achieve top results with the tactics of yesterday. We also can’t sit around and await the following Moz Blog or marketing conference, either. Our best course of action would be to take risks, make mistakes, study on those mistakes, and share insights with others. We’ve to understand from those with more experience than us and share what we realize to those with less experience. Put simply, we need to be vulnerable.
Below is a set of four ways you can help create a culture of vulnerability. Whether you are a manager or not, you can impact your team’s culture.
1. Get a second pair of eyes on the next project
Are you currently finishing up an exciting project for the client? Did you just spend hours of research and implementation to optimize the perfect page? Perfect! Now go ask you to definitely critique it!
As simple because it sounds, this could make a difference in fostering a culture of creativity. It’s also extremely difficult to do.
Large or small, every project or task we complete must be the best your team can provide. Often, however, team members work in silos and complete these projects without requesting or receiving constructive feedback from their teammates before sending it to the client. This leaves our clients and projects only receiving the best one person can offer as opposed to the best of an entire team.
All of us use diverse team members that carry varying levels of experience and responsibilities. I bet someone on your own team may have something to add to your project that you didn’t already think of. Receiving their feedback means every project that you finish or task that you complete is the better your team provides your clients.
Keep in mind, though, that requesting constructive feedback is more than simply having someone conduct a “standard QA.” In my own experience, a “standard QA” means someone barely viewed everything you sent and gave you the thumbs up. Having someone go over work and provide feedback is only helpful when done correctly.
Say you’ve just completed writing and editing content to a full page and you’ve mustered up the courage to possess someone QA your work. Rather than sending it over, saying “hey are you able to review this and make certain I did so everything right,” instead make an effort to send detailed instructions such as this:
“Here is a to a full page I simply edited. Is it possible to take 15 minutes to examine it? Specifically, are you able to review the Title Tag and Description? This is something the client said is important in their mind and I wish to make certain I obtain it right.”
Oftentimes, you never need your manager to prepare this for you. You are able to set this up yourself and it doesn’t have to be a big thing. Before you finish a task or task this week, work with a team member and inquire further for help simply by asking them to QA your work. Worried about taking up an excessive amount of their time? Offer to swap tasks. Say you’ll QA some of the work when they QA yours.