Your staff must have a clear idea of your expectations in order to perform at their best, says Sara Gilbert, founder of Strategist Business Development in Montreal. But most financial advisors do not share their vision with their team, she says. “As a result, the team doesn’t understand where they are going.”

Unless your team members know your goals and objectives, their efforts will not be aligned with yours, causing them to fall short of your expectations.

Advisors have to get out of the mindset of being a solo practitioner and act like a business owner, Gilbert says. Make your staff accountable for specific, measurable initiatives so that you can determine whether you are getting the most from them. When your staff members are accountable, they will become motivated to achieve their personal goals — and, consequently, the goals of your practice.

“People love to be accountable,” Gilbert says. “But often we don’t allow them.”

Here are some tips for getting more from your staff:

> Share your vision
Communicate your vision with your entire team so that all members are on the same page, Gilbert says. Entrepreneurs often have a vision but are single-minded in realizing it, and fail to see the need to involve their team members.

“But you have to get them involved,” Gilbert says. “It takes a group effort.”

> Encourage open discussion
Involve your team members in discussions about your plans.

“Having a yearly offsite meeting does wonders,” Gilbert says. It gives you an opportunity to get their opinions, free of distractions. “Ask questions without giving direction and get the input of your team.”

When team members make suggestions, avoid voicing your opinion as the team leader, she says. Instead, ask questions such as, “What am I missing?” and “How do you see yourself being involved?”

By allowing team members to become part of your plans, you will be enlisting their support and buy-in, which will translate into greater productivity. Gilbert suggests using a moderator to lead objective, unbiased discussions.

> Measure actions
Ensure that the duties and responsibilities of staff members are clearly defined so that they are certain about what they should be doing.

“Let staff choose projects they want to be a part of and be accountable for their performance,” Gilbert says.

In assessing team members’ performance, Gilbert says, measure their actions, not their output. For example, if your goal is to bring in $10 million in assets, measure actions such as how many clients were added as a result of staff initiatives; how many prospects have been identified; and how many networking events have been held.

“You can only measure things that are under your control,” Gilbert says.

> Foster a team culture
Develop a culture of teamwork in your office and provide staff with the tools to contribute.

You must be open to comments, suggestions and criticisms. Allow staff to change processes in ways that will increase the value of their contribution.

There is a greater chance of achieving goals in a collaborative work environment in which employees feel they can come forward to express their opinions. In such environments, employees are motivated to give of their best.

This is the second part in a two-part series on getting the most from your team.

Click here for part one: How to get the most from your staff

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