Financial advisors who work with teams often have difficulty embracing their leadership role, says Rosemary Smyth, a business coach and principal of Rosemary Smyth & Associates in Victoria. These advisors’ entrepreneurial attitude often drives them to want to execute every business task themselves instead of involving others.
One way to enhance your leadership skills and strengthen your practice is by ensuring there is an exchange of ideas between yourself and your staff. A team that feels involved is motivated, creating an attitude that will have a positive effect on your practice.
Smyth suggests three ways to improve your leadership:
1. Communicate your vision
Some entrepreneurial advisors hold their plans close to their chest, Smyth says. But if you want your team to help you achieve your goals, they need to know what that goal is.
Understanding your vision allows everyone to discuss a team goal, which will help you decide how team members can help you. This involvement can mean the difference between a staff member feeling that her job begins and ends with the filling of papers, and that employee feeling she is contributing to a larger goal.
For example, if you’re planning to add weekly blogging to your marketing activities, this new project will involve brainstorming, writing, editing and promoting your posts through social media. Initiating the project on your own is possible, but can be overwhelming and time-consuming once added to your responsibilities.
Asking your team to get involved will produce more ideas, minimize the pressure on yourself and allow staff to feel their skills are valued.
2. Ask for — and provide — feedback
Being a leader means knowing when changes have to be made to move the business forward. Sometimes, you need another perspective to help you understand where improvements can be made. So, make it clear to the team that you are open to constructive feedback that could help the entire team enhance your offering to clients.
One way to start the process is to hold performance reviews regularly to provide your own thoughts on how team members can continue to strengthen their own skills. These evaluations aren’t necessarily prevalent in all firms, Smyth says, so you may need to be proactive in starting the routine.
3. Use measured conflict resolution
The most ineffective ways to handle problems are to ignore them, or to overreact. However, a good leader resolves issues through dialogue with the individual or group that is involved.
Your measured reaction should not necessarily occur as soon as the problem takes place. Sometimes, a team member needs a little time to cool off before a meaningful conversation can take place. Allow this person to choose the pace of this discussion, as long as he or she is aware that the problem must be confronted.
For instance, you’re concerned after hearing a testy exchange between a team member and a rude client. You might want to intervene immediately, but your assistant decides to go for a short walk, which will be helpful in giving him or her some time to cool off. This extra time will allow you both to focus on the problem and not the emotions involved when your discussion begins.