20 Collaboration Skills Every Marketing Manager Needs

A successful marketing campaign requires different skills sets and often involve multiple roles. Copywriters, designers, PPC specialists and more. The marketing manager is responsible for pulling this team together. Hence, collaboration skills are crucial. But what collaboration skills are most important when organizing a team? We asked 20 experts for their opinion.

  1. Constructive Criticism
  2. Communication
  3. Patience and Inclusive Thinking
  4. Comradeship
  5. Leaving Ego At The Door
  6. Handling Feedback
  7. Being Straightforward
  8. Trust
  9. Curiosity
  10. Listening to Others
  11. Critical Thinking
  12. Self-Control
  13. Emotional Intelligence
  14. Problem Solving Spirit
  15. Check Acronyms At The Door
  16. Sharing Decision-Making and Encouraging True Autonomy
  17. Management
  18. Brainstorming
  19. Breaking Down Projects Into Smaller Tasks

1. Reliability

Dayne Shuda Picture

When your coworkers or teammates know what to expect from you and that they can always get the same consistency they’re going to value you very highly. They’re going to want to work with you. They know that they won’t have to micromanage your side of things and that they can empower you and trust you to follow through. – Dayne Shuda, Founder of Ghost Blog Writers

2. Constructive Criticism

The main objective of collaborating is for colleagues to join forces so that they can combine their strengths while simultaneously offsetting their weaknesses. Unfortunately, many people are unable to receive constructive criticism, which can completely negate the benefits of working together. At the same time, it takes the special gift of tact to be able to address someone’s shortcomings in a way that will be received appropriately..
Collaborators should maintain an open line of communication where they can comfortably share constructive criticism. This will not only help them in business but can also have a major impact on their entire life. – Nate Masterson, Marketing Manager at Maple Holistics

3. Communication

Deborah Sweeney

When it comes to collaboration, communication is the most important skill. Communication keeps everyone on the same page and in the loop about next stages for upcoming projects. Great collaborators are also goal-oriented, reliable and committed to their specific role, and team players. – Deborah Sweeney, CEO of My Corporation

4. Patience and Inclusive Thinking

Diversity and inclusion are hot topics in business today. Why? Because teams recognize that they achieve the best outcome or product when all the voices in the room are heard and accounted for. In order to truly be inclusive, you also need to have patience. Waiting until all the voices are heard can be difficult if you don’t practice patience.  – Terese Kerrigan, Director of Marketing Communications at FreightCenter

5. Comradeship

For any effective team collaboration, comradeship is essentially required. Each team member must be ready to compromise for the sake of the ultimate achievement and have certain level of tolerance for other team members. The ability to compromise and tolerance for the team and other members produce comradeship which effectively increases the work environment and team productivity. – Andrei Vasilescu, CEO at DontPayFull

6. Leaving Ego At The Door

People who leave their egos listen to others, they allow for their own ideas to be reshaped by other people’s ideas and counterpoints, and they don’t think about winning arguments but rather ensuring the best outcome for the team and the project. The best collaborators also do their homework and come prepared, so they can be confident in and defend their opinions while at the same time giving all other ideas a fair opportunity. Collaboration needs to be about many people bringing diverse backgrounds, thought processes, imaginations, and skills to the project; this diversity enhances the ultimate outcome.

Too many people in business think collaboration is about whose idea wins, which results in discord, resentment, and a fractured team. When everyone leaves their ego outside and allows for all ideas to be heard and fairly discussed, they almost always create a better end result. – Peter J Dudley, Author and Corporate Responsibility Expert

7. Handling Feedback

There’s no such thing as positive or negative feedback – just useful and unuseful feedback, and there’s never a reason to let feedback upset you. If you’re struggling with this skill, try this: Whenever someone offers you feedback limit your reply to either Thank you. I appreciate your feedback or questions designed to clarify the feedback. – Cody Swann, CEO at Gunner Technology

8. Being Straightforward

No collaboration will end as a win-win without all involved knowing what each other’s goals are. Being straightforward means you need to be honest about why you are in the room and what you want to get out of the collaboration. Being straightforward is a constant state you need to exhibit during goal setting, idea selection and throughout the work process. The last thing the relationship needs is to get to the end result and find out you were unhappy with the process. – Alison Kuhlow, Organizational Strategist Consultant

9. Trust

If a person does not trust you as a leader, they will shy away from participating in any meeting or bring their ideas to the table. – Cerila Gailliard, Project Manager at Oysllc

10. Curiosity

Collaboration requires people to be open, non-judging, able to focus on listening to what others have to say and ask open questions that help the team explore ideas and perspectives to expand possibility. Collaboration, the ability of a group of people to work together to create innovation, problem solve or explore options comes about when the team has the conversational skills required to ignite curiosity in the team.
I believe curiosity is a skill comprised of 3 pieces:
– be present to ABSORB – an acronym for focusing on the speaker without multi-tasking while watching their body language and tone of voice
– listen in an open and non-judging way that ensures everyone is focused on listening to the speaker – not waiting to jump in to the conversation, rather intent on understanding the ideas of others
– ask open curious questions – those questions that begin with who, what, where, when, how and at times why (although it can be perceived as judgy) for which the inquirer does not know the answer. – Kathy Taberner, Co-founder of The Institute of Curiosity

11. Listening to Others

In my opinion, the most important collaboration skill is to be able to listen to what others have to say, and to have the courage to admit that others are right when you realize that you’re wrong. As Cicero famously said, It is the nature of every person to error, but only the fool perseveres in error. – Gregory Golinski, Digital Marketing Executive at YourParkingSpace

12. Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is the most important collaboration skill. When working in teams, everyone’s contributions are valid, but it’s also important to ensure that whichever contributions are chosen directly affect the overall objectives of a project. This is the responsibility of the team on a whole and can only be achieved if everyone is thinking critically about decisions that will propel the project forward. – Harrison Doan, Director of Analytics at Saatva.

13. Self-Control

Every single tailspin in business comes down to self-control. Missed a deadline? No self-control. Angry with someone? Lost self-control. Same problems, or constant mistakes? Lacking self-control. Margins (in time or money terms) running too tight to pick up new opportunities? Self-control. The deal fell through? Self-control. People not respecting you? It’s your self-control. Feeling resentful of others? That’s your self-control too.

This is especially critical because the people around you will pick up what you model, so any degradation in one member of your team will cause a chain reaction. I’ve always found addressing the team member with the lowest self-control improves the team as a whole, and the difference is noticeable in a matter of hours – that’s how much it matters. – Patricia Mayo, Founder of SpreadingThought

14. Emotional Intelligence

Essentially, it is the ability to read and interpret the emotions of others while regulating your own emotions based on the situation. If you have no or little emotional intelligence, you have limited ability to successfully collaborate or influence. As a talent development consultant, I have been brought into team situations where everyone is collaborating and communicating, but because one or two people lack emotional intelligence, there is dysfunction within the team. The BEST teams have the ability not only to communicate, but to have an awareness of the “temperature” of those around them. – Jessica Prater, Owner of JPrater Consulting

15. Problem Solving Spirit

You need to be able to dissect and sort out problems. All kinds of things will come up in collaboration and the team will need to look at the facts, then the feelings behind them and finally look at possible solutions- together. – Laura MacLeod, Creator of From The Inside Out Project

16. Check Acronyms at the Door

KPI, CTA, FPO, MFD. This is gibberish if you’re coming from such a wide array of diverse backgrounds. We need to know what we are talking about when we’re spewing acronyms in order to know what we’re even talking about. It’s about leveling the playing field and understanding what we mean. It comes down to being willing to collaborate. Identify the skillsets they have, find a reason to want to collaborate with the other person and communicate often. – Nikki Rodriguez, Design Director at Top Level Design

17. Sharing Decision-Making and Encouraging True Autonomy

The key skill to collaborating successfully is the ability to share decision-making and encourage true autonomy with the understanding that long-term progress will be predominantly driven by participants closest to their task. As a social entrepreneur, I have learned to hire and empower staff and beneficiaries from the community being served. While a founder or CEO may drive early success, I have found successful collaboration to be far more bottom-up as local level ownership and buy-in will determine the success of any project or enterprise. Autonomy and control must be shared from the entrepreneur to the field. – Shyam Krishna Iyer, Founder of SKI Charities

18. Management

Oftentimes, the approach to collaboration uses one-way brainstorming sessions and predetermined solutions pushed out by leadership. Instead, organizations should use a “pull” method in which leaders determine the direction, parameters, and boundaries of work. This then allows cross-functional teams to collaborate using their individual expertise and leverage the groups’ knowledge. This sense of ownership over work encourages these teams to see their work through. Ultimately, collaboration depends on diverse teams to create well-rounded solutions. – Mark LaScola, CEO of On The Mark

19. Brainstorming

Ideas are the essence of all projects, so, it’s good to know how to come up with them. Deferring judgment, active listening, and building on the suggestions of others are all important to idea generation and collaboration. – Desiré Greene, Owner of Luckett & Liles

20. Breaking Down Projects Into Smaller Tasks

Collaboration meetings often end with a directive to work on the next phase of a project, but often fail to break down larger project goals into small and specific tasks for team members to accomplish. Great collaborators will always ensure that fellow team members have clear directives about next steps so that expectations are clearly communicated. It’s the difference between saying, “Can you get started on this presentation?” and “Can you have an outline of this presentation done by Tuesday?” Even if you’re not the team lead for a specific project, you can communicate this way as well. Saying, “I’ll send you a list of 10 resources by the end of the day” is far more clear and effective than “I’ll get something to you soon. – Stuart Ridge, Chief Marketing Officer at VitaMedica


This was a comprehensive list of collaboration skills but don’t worry: Building these skills is a process. Don’t stress yourself when you haven’t mastered all of them yet. But also honestly reflect and evaluate yourself. Figure your strong skills out. And also find capabilities you can still improve.

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