Attributes of an effective marketing leader, part 3: courage

The French have a unique way of cheering for participants in a race. I experienced this a couple of years ago while doing a triathlon in Monaco. I was eight hours into the race and struggling to finish, but the words of encouragement from the supporters kept me going: “Courage, John! Courage!” (In French, it sounds similar to “garage.”) I persevered and was the last person to finish, but I did finish to achieve my primary goal. Those words still resonate with me today.

The American Heritage Dictionary defines courage as “the state or quality of mind or spirit that enables one to face danger, fear, or vicissitudes with self-possession, confidence, and resolution; bravery.” Effective marketing leaders need strong doses of courage if they are going to implement the changes needed to bring about their visions.

There are several dimensions of courage in the marketing context:

  • Determination: When the inertia, bureaucracy and politics of a company start to wear on you, have courage
  • Perseverance: Change takes time and you will be presented with many obstacles, so you must remain persistent
  • Resolution: Be resolved to succeed; confidence is contagious and is needed to inspire those you are leading
  • Tenacity: Chutzpah, guts, spunk; tenacious leaders inspire faith that the mission will be achieved
  • Audacity: Have the courage to think big, to set lofty goals and to aspire to be great

When you are “all in,” decision making becomes much simpler. The mission is clear. You are focused. You cut through the noise. You don’t really care what the nay-sayers think about you. You have the courage of your convictions. And, in a world of uncertainty and negativity, that will make you someone people will follow. Know anyone like that?