How to Lead a Team While Staying Productive and Dealing With Conflict
About the Guest
🗣️ Name: Kevin Indig
🤙 Street Cred: SEO Lead @ Shopify, ex-Content/SEO Lead at Atlassian, G2, Daily Motion, Search Metrics
📚 Podcast: TechBound Podcast
Read Kevin Indig’s CV, and you cannot fail to be impressed! He’s the current SEO Lead at Shopify and has previously held the same title at companies such as G2, Searchmetrics, Atlassian, and Dailymotion, amongst others.
Despite having a demanding job and a team of 30, Kevin is very in tune with maintaining his energy levels and ensures that as well as working hard he also takes time out to relax.
He has developed an impressive mindset that allows him to see pain as a teacher, which he uses to help him reflect, adapt, learn, and manage his team.
But our conversation wasn’t just about how he keeps himself passionate and motivated and in control of his mental health. We also talked about his previous role at G2, setting company and personal goals, and the major skills that all marketers should have.
The Episode in Its Full Glory ✨
Or just search for ‘Growth Leadership Show’ in your favorite podcast app.
🧰 Show Notes:
🤓 After listening, you'll understand:
- How to identify what kind of work drains you and what energizes you
- How to plan and manage your time effectively
- The benefits of working in "seasons" to maximize your impact
- How to learn from your failures and successes
- How to set goals for your team and yourself
- How to deal with conflict in the workplace
- Personal branding and its impact on your career
- The concept of 'Content Marketing Fit'
- The meta skills all marketers should invest in
Resources & Tools Mentioned
- Principles by Ray Dalio
- Thinking in Bets by Annie Duke
- Alchemy by Rory Sutherland
- Conscious Leadership
- Content-Market Fit
- The Issues Clearing Model
- The Knowledge Project
- Conversations with Tyler
- Wavelength by Asana
- Refined Twitter
- David Perell
- Tiago Forte
- Ali Abdaal
🤩 Personal Highlights From This Episode
Following are three personal highlights from the interview.
I cleaned up and rephrased certain sentences of the transcript for better readability.
Pain Is The Best Teacher...
...meaning, even if we fail we win. Because we get to learn something in the process and do it better the next time around. Ray Dalio describes this idea in his book Principles and states it as 'pain and reflection equals progress'.
Almost every day you come into a situation where there is something painful, sometimes it's just a little annoyance, something that doesn’t sit quite well. But in all those little moments, there’s something to be taught.
And once we realize that failure simply enables us to do better next time, all of this negativity is taken away and we can just focus on doing our best work.
Look at Your Emotions. Look Closer.
Emotions are here to signal us something.
So say for example we get really harsh feedback at work, then the first common reaction is fear, right? "I might lose my job" or "I'm not good enough".
There's all sorts of stories that we tell ourselves. But those can also be very helpful signals just telling you: “Hey, maybe there's something I have to do”. And when we go to the bottom of it, when we explore that feeling, that emotion, we always come out better at the end of it.
It might sound fuzzy at first, but when we start to understand our reactions in certain situations and we make it a habit of checking in with our emotions, we can learn how to better handle those feelings in the future.
Sometimes there's an irrational fear. We just realize we are scared for no reason at all. Sometimes it helps us to discover something that we didn't want to accept in the first place.
Usually pain is a better teacher than success. And if we would just get into a habit of reflecting, whether it's good or bad, we evolve much, much faster.
Methodology: Issue Clearing
When it comes to conflict there is a very specific methodology taught by Conscious Leadership, called issue clearing, where we bring the two conflicting parties together so both can:
- State the facts of the conflict from their perspectives
- State how it made them feel in a nutshell and the stories that they tell themselves about it, the emotions that they felt.
It's absolutely magical.
It's very uncomfortable at the beginning, but 99% of the time we come out much more connected and really in the clear with the person. And with this method we will start to form these really good relationships all-throughout the organization.
Conflict happens on a regular basis. It is unavoidable.
If we think about how often we get into conflict even with our romantic partners, right?
It's unavoidable. It's human. It's necessary even in order to evolve. We're all really good at avoiding conflict. But we should not shy away from it.
Because in conflict situations we learn a lot about ourselves. We learn a lot about other people and how they feel inside. Resolving conflicts can create fantastic teams through shared empathy.
Your Team Performance Depends on It.
It takes a lot of work to get through this and make active conflict resolution a habit.
The rewards are plentiful though. There's this true personal alignment with our peers that will not only make our relationships better, but also has a true impact on the performance of our team.
When we are aligned with people, when we are in the clear, when we are connected with them, we can create much, much better work than if we just come to the office, show up for work, just do your job and then leave.
Education Is the Name Of the Game
"I first learned the importance of selling your department or efforts properly at Atlassian (e.g. Trello, Confluence) where SEO was new to the company. We were chronically under-resourced from the beginning. I realized at some point that my biggest impact comes from educating the company and the people who can then make an impact on SEO by working with me.
Instead of trying to come up with guidelines and rules and projects for writers, designers, and engineers, we should set out on a campaign to educate them properly.
We. can run workshops to teach them what SEO (or lead generation, or content marketing) is, and how they can incorporate that into their work without having to use any crazy tools.
Use simple checklists. Small little things compound over time.
It's hard to measure at first, but it is the best way to scale your marketing efforts throughout your organization (because often your work is so highly dependent on product and sales).
Close the Feedback Loops To Earn Trust
When we sell marketing within our company one of the most important things is to show a closed feedback loop:
- "We did X and that's the result."
- "We tried Y, and it did not work."
- "We tried Z and it did work."
When we proactively show our colleagues what works and what doesn't, not just from other blog articles or from things that other people did, but what we have done specifically in the company, we start to gain trust. We start to get more resources, we start to become more successful.
Side-note: When we join a new company, we need to try to find some quick wins and small wins quickly because they will build credibility throughout the rest of our tenure at the company. If we miss that window of opportunity, it becomes exponentially harder down the line.
Tie Your Activities to Revenue
Finally, if we can tie our activities to a dollar amount, that's the jackpot and that's where most marketers are missing the mark. We need to tie what we do to a revenue number. It's not easy, but it's absolutely crucial and necessary.
Again, to hammer it home: When we don't feel we can move things as much as we want to and execute to the degree we want to, we need to try to find ways to tie things to a dollar amount. And things will open up.