MarketingProfs B2B Forum 2023

Lead From Behind: Ways to Lead When You’re Not in Charge with Moni Oloyede

Look around you.

At work, at home, in your community—certainly, there is something you’d like to improve.

And you’ve probably heard the phrase, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

But how do you get there?

Moni Oloyede shared her insights to change at B2B Forum 2023.

And she reminds us it doesn’t take permission to create change. It just takes leadership.

Watch a clip from Moni’s presentation or read the transcript below.

And if you want to be a leader in your organization, join us at B2B Forum in Boston this coming November. With dozens of expert-led sessions on B2B marketing, you’ll walk away with renewed dedication and inspiration to make your world a better place. Tickets are available now.


First and foremost, it must be stated that everyone in this room has the ability to be a leader.

We all lead in our lives, in different ways, every single day, right?

If you’re a parent, you’re a leader. If you’re a coach, a mentor, a guide, you’re a leader.

If you manage a household, you’re a leader. If you’re the oldest sibling, you’re a leader.

These are innate abilities within all of us. It’s just whether you want to develop them and execute against them. But we all have them.

You don’t need permission to lead, right?

Someone doesn’t have to give you a fancy title. You can lead anywhere, anytime, any place. Okay?

So we’re going to go over the five characteristics of leadership. We’re going to dive in and see what it really takes to be a leader!

Number one, you need to have a belief in a shared goal.

The definition of a leader is someone who has followers.

So the real question is: what does it take for someone to follow you? People follow people who share the same beliefs that they do, right?

All good leaders have a very strong belief system. All the great leaders in history, your MLKs, your Mahatma, Gandhis, Nelson Mandela had a very strong belief system. And the people who followed them have the same beliefs that they do, right?

You need to identify: what do you really believe in? Ask yourself the tough questions based on your belief system. Can you align your values and your beliefs with that of the goals of your company?

I had to do this. My company had a $50 million revenue goal. I did not believe they could reach that goal. The sales team was a mess. The product needed a lot of work. If you ask people in the marketing department what the value prop was, you get different answers from everyone. 

The marketing budget was a joke. I didn’t believe they could get there.

I had a very strong belief at the time—and still do—that marketing should not have a revenue goal. Driving revenue is not the function of marketing.

The function of marketing is to communicate and to provide value to the customer that will generate revenue.

So I challenged leadership authority all of the time around this.

Now, could I have aligned my personal belief with that of the company? I could have, right?

Instead of challenging authority, when campaigns came across my desk, when I saw content and when I looked at the website, they could have exhibited and provided value. Every time those pieces of content came across my desk, it could exhibit that.

So what is your belief system? And can you align them with the values of the company? 

Sometimes you can’t.

Now, if the company had a $50 million revenue goal and they wanted to get to that goal with shady business practices, those values didn’t align.

So you need to find out what you believe in.

If you struggle with this, there’s a couple things that you can do.

First thing is self-reflect. It is not obvious to say we all have a strong belief system. It seems inherent, but some people really need to think about what you really believe in. You need to find your personal mission. What is driving you? What are your goals? And do those goals align with that of your company?

And seek inspiration. Leaders need leaders too. Everyone needs a mentor. Everybody needs a guide based on your belief system. Who is exhibiting those same beliefs as you do? You can model yourself after that person.

So belief in a strong goal is number one.

Number two, leaders are self motivated. We think. I thought I was self-motivated, right? In operations, I was motivated to fix processes. I was motivated to have good campaign design. 

I was motivated to build strong workflows.

That’s not motivation.

That’s my job. That’s what I get paid to do, right? I’m supposed to do that. I’m incentivized to do that. That’s not motivation.

Motivation is fixing problems outside of your direct role. If you want to be in leadership, you are going to be fixing problems that you did not create. That’s the job. Are you motivated to do that? 

That’s a big question. Okay? You need to ask yourself the tough questions, right?

Do you need to be empowered to make decisions, solve problems? Does somebody have to tell you what to do? Are you afraid to go and solve problems? You’re afraid you’re going to get chastised?

Someone’s going to tell you no. You need to ask yourself how self-motivated are you to solve the problems in your organization.

Some of these problems are very large. When I solve problems at my organization, “no thank you. I don’t want to deal with that. Somebody else’s problem. Not my problem. That looks like a hot mess. I want no parts of it. I don’t get paid enough for that. I shut my laptop at 5:30. No, thank you.”

When you’re walking down the street and you see a piece of trash on the street, do you pick it up? You keep walking.

That’s what it’s like solving problems at your organization. You’re going to have to jump in the mud.

And what I don’t mean is, go jump in and try to solve it all yourself, right? That’s not going to work. That’s not what I mean.

I mean, do you address problems? When you see a problem, do you reach out to other people in the organization to ask how this happened? “How do we solve it?” Do you ask your boss, “what can we do to address this issue?”

Do you get the meeting together? Are you a part of the problem? Are you a part of the solution? Are you motivated to act?

If you have issues with this, you need to find your passion. What are you passionate about? What drives you?

If you want to be a leader, you are going to run into problems, hurdles, obstacles, constantly. It comes with the territory. You’re going to need to find your passion to get through those things. 

What motivates you?

It’s important to stay positive. It’s easy to be negative. “This isn’t working. This is failing. This person doesn’t understand.” That’s easy.

Positivity trumps negativity all the time.

Stay positive and break things down into smaller chunks.

The problems in our organizations weren’t created overnight. They’re not going to be fixed overnight, right?

But how can you break things down into smaller steps?

Baby steps are still steps. That’s still progress. It counts.

Celebrate your small wins.

Published March 13, 2024

B2B Forum is packed with marketing insights, strategies, and tactics taken from the real world experience of over forty industry experts, packaged into context you can actually put to use.

Join us in Boston for B2B Forum 2024 this coming November 12-14, 2024. Early buyers get B2B Forum tickets at their lowest rate, and discounted hotel rooms are available while they last.


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