How would you rate your skills in areas such as communication, leadership and critical thinking? How do you think other marketing professionals view themselves? We recently surveyed more than 1,000 marketing professionals to find out.
As part of the AMA’s Marketing Personality Test, we asked about many of the essential skills required for success in the field of marketing, including communication, collaboration, quantitative skills, organizational skills, empathy, critical thinking, creativity and leadership. For each ability, we asked survey respondents if they thought that their skills are better than others’ skills, about the same or worse.
The results paint a picture of a highly skilled work force—or at least that’s how they view themselves. For example, 83% think that they have above average collaboration skills. A majority of respondents also reported that they have higher than average skills in leadership (77%), organization (77%), critical thinking (76%) and empathy (72%). Overall, the group considers itself to be above average in just about everything.
The lone exception was quantitative skills, where only 45% think that they are above average. Even there, though, a mere 25% consider their quantitative skills to be below average. The remaining 30% think that their quantitative skills are about the same as their colleagues’ skills.
Generally, respondents view their skills as below those of others no more than about 10% of the time. While the self-ratings for creativity and communication are less generous than the ratings for the other skills, very few respondents believe that they are worse at communicating, and few think that they are less creative. About 90% of the time, marketing professionals view themselves as no worse than average, and they usually see themselves as better.
These findings may be interesting in their own right, but they also suggest some strategies that you can put into practice in your own career. For starters, it’s worth knowing that marketing professionals are a confident group, and that they lean toward overconfidence. Overconfident people sometimes think that they are communicating skillfully, collaborating effectively and leading well, even when they are not.
In the marketing world, the overconfident one could be your opposition, either a rival for a job, or a competitor for a customer. Knowing the weaknesses of the opposition is always a good thing. For example, if you suspect that your opponent is overconfident, make your case carefully and support it with clear evidence, as opposed to just your opinion. Don’t take anything for granted, and you’ll be in a fine position when the opposition makes a mistake.
Alternatively, your colleagues could be overconfident in some contexts and if they need help, they may not know that they need help. They may even resist professional development initiatives because they believe that they have no relevant weaknesses. You may be able to help, using your above-average empathy and communication skills to gently guide them toward improvement.
Finally, consider that the overconfident one could be you. Without losing your belief in yourself, you can take an honest account of your skills in an effort to improve. In the end, your actual skills matter more than your impression of your skills.
Take the AMA’s Marketing Personality Test to find out where you stand with respect to your colleagues, and to get valuable advice on leveraging your strengths and compensating for your weaknesses.