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Why Do Marketing Leaders Get Leadership Wrong?

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Many people think they know what leadership is, but when you ask them to define it, they often struggle. Leadership is a complex concept that can mean different things to different people.

Good leadership is essential for any company or organization to succeed. However, many marketing leaders get it wrong. They focus on tactics and strategies instead of the bigger picture. In this blog post, we will discuss why many marketing leaders struggle with leadership and what you can do to become a good leader.

Also, if you want to catch an in-depth conversation on this matter, then tune in to the latest episode of The B2B POD. Now available on all the leading audio streaming platforms like Apple, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and Stitcher.

What is the true meaning of Leadership? 

The true meaning of leadership is often misunderstood. Many people believe that leaders are born, not made. This simply isn’t true. Anyone can become a leader if they have the right mindset and approach.

Leadership is about more than just giving orders or telling people what to do. It’s about inspiring others to achieve their best. Good leaders are visionaries who can see the potential in people and help them reach their full potential.

Leadership is also about setting an example. If you want your team to be successful, you need to show them what it takes to succeed. You need to be passionate, dedicated, and hardworking. Your team will follow your lead if they see that you’re truly committed to your goals.

Finally, leadership is about making tough decisions. Sometimes, you have to make difficult choices that may not be popular with everyone. But, as a leader, you need to do what’s best for the team, even if it means making some sacrifices along the way.

We asked Robert Jordan, our latest guest on The B2B POD, how do you identify the qualities of true leadership? This is what he had to share:

“Remarkable leaders tend to have results that are measurable. So for example, if you were talking to someone and he runs a division of a major corporation, and he says, things are going really well, and you ask, well, what do you mean by that?

He says, well, I can take this division from 100 million in revenue to 500 million in three years for that is the kind of thing that is remarkable. Examples like these are quantifiable. Most leaders cannot point to that. For most leaders, it’s something that’s a more bureaucratic kind of response.”

The problem of mediocre leadership

Currently, we’re struggling with the problem of mediocre leadership. In today’s business world, the term “leader” is thrown around a lot, but few people know what it takes to be one.

There are many different types of leaders, and not all of them are equally effective. For example, some autocratic leaders make all the decisions and micromanage their teams. These leaders often create a tense and stressful work environment.

Some leaders don’t have a vision or an understanding of a business. They might be great at their jobs, but they don’t know how to inspire or motivate others. As a result, their team is often unengaged and unhappy. In fact, according to the Gallup organization, 90% of leaders are in the wrong role.

So, what separates good leaders from bad ones? Let’s take a look at some of the qualities that all good leaders share.

What are the elements of good leaders?

Many different qualities make up a good leader. However, as per our observations, good leaders can be divided into 4 categories:

  • Fixers
  • Artists
  • Builders
  • Strategists

In short “FABS”… Let’s take a deeper look at each one.


Fixers are the type of leaders who are repeatedly drawn to a crisis. They are accustomed to failing environments and often thrive in such situations. Fixers are often very passionate and have a lot of energy. They are also usually very decisive and can make quick decisions in difficult situations.

What differentiates a fixer is that once they have had the experience of running into the burning building and saving everyone metaphorically, they will seek to do that again, and again. This is what differentiates them from other styles of leadership where a leader could necessarily take on a crisis, but it’s not the thing that primarily drives them.

We asked Robert Jordan if he knew someone who possessed the traits of a fixer, and he answered:

“A great historical example would be Lee Iacocca, he was brilliant at Ford, but he really shined when he went to Chrysler which was on the verge of bankruptcy and Lee Iacocca completely turned it around quickly.”


Artists are creative leaders who see the world differently from everyone else. Artist leaders see and view the world as a canvas. They have a unique vision that they want to bring to life and they’re often very passionate about their work.

What differentiates an artist is that they are not only creative but they are also disciplined. They have the ability to execute their vision and turn it into reality. Artists are often very good at inspiring others and getting them to buy into their vision.

One more interesting fact about artist leaders is that they enjoy working on multiple projects at the same time. This allows them to be constantly creative and always come up with new ideas.

We asked Robert Jordan if he could name someone from the top of his head who fitted right into the title of “Artist leader”? Here’s what he said:

“If I was to say a name, Elon Musk, I think a lot of people would agree. He’s an artist leader. He is driven to create, even at the expense of what many others might say would be irresponsible behaviour by a leader.”


Everyone who loves to build a business is a builder. These leaders are very passionate about their work and they have a clear vision of what they want to achieve. They are also very good at executing their plans and making things happen.

Builders are often very confident and they have a lot of energy. They are also usually very decisive and can make quick decisions in difficult situations. However, a key thing that differentiates a builder from others is that they often take a product or service, a client, a division, whatever it is they’re working on from a small state that is not market dominant to market dominant.

What also distinguishes a builder is that when they have achieved scale or market domination, they tend to get bored and you’ll see a builder leader leave and go somewhere else to do it all over again. When asked “Have you met any builder leader while researching for your book?” Robert Jordan answered:

“There’s a local bakery in Boston. It’s called TATE and from what I can tell, they have no aspirations to go to any other major American city. They seem to be just intent on being the best in the Boston area. That clearly is the builder genius behind it.”


Strategists are leaders who lead at scale. This is the person who is adept with complex or very large organizations. Strategists have a clear vision of where they want to take the company and they’re very good at executing their plans.

What differentiates a strategist is that they are often very analytical and they like to plan things out in great detail. They are also usually very calm and collected, even in difficult situations. You can also tell a strategist is very different from a fixer or an artist or a builder. For example, these kinds of leaders generally have a lot of loyalty to the organization in both directions.

Tips to become a good leader

When it comes to becoming a good leader, there are many different qualities that you need to possess. However, some of the most important ones include being passionate about your work, having a clear vision, being disciplined, and being able to inspire others.

If you can master these qualities, then you’ll be well on your way to becoming a great leader. Remember, leadership is not about titles or positions. It’s about having the ability to motivate and inspire others to achieve greatness.

So, if you want to become a good leader, start by focusing on honing these essential qualities. With time and practice, you’ll be able to develop them and become the kind of leader that others will look up to and respect.

Here are some tips on how to become a good leader that Robert Jordan shared on The B2B POD:

“This is going to sound very easy but it’s actually very hard to do. As a leader over time, as you develop expertise, you have to come to embrace who you are as a leader. You have to come to an understanding within yourself of what, as we would say, is your highest and best use.

While that sounds easy and people will say, well, of course, I’m doing that. Actually, the reality is that the majority of leaders do not. What happens over time is that they tend to dilute their efforts and if you were to look at their resumes, they show more of this tendency to try to be all things to all people and successful leaders do not do that. 

Our observation was that these highly successful leaders were much more likely to reject what was not for their highest and best.”

In closing 

Leadership is a complex topic with no one-size-fits-all answer. However, if you want to be a successful leader, it’s important to focus on honing key qualities such as passion, discipline, and the ability to inspire others. With time and practice, you can develop these qualities and become the kind of leader that others will look up to and respect.

If you want to learn more about leadership, be sure to check out Robert Jordan’s book, Right Leader, Right Time. In it, he shares insights and tips on how to become a successful leader.

Also, for more B2B marketing-related content, don’t forget to tune in to The B2B POD. It’s available on all leading platforms like Spotify, Google podcast, Apple podcast, and Stitcher.

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