Our research on teams has clearly identified that a team leader is the foundation of any wealth management team; big, good, bad or indifferent. It is therefore not surprising that elite teams have great team leaders. But what is the difference between a good leader and a great one?
Let’s say a team leader gives a surprise and delight directive, asking each team member to be on the lookout to wow their customers with a personal gift. At first glance, this seems like a great initiative to develop and strengthen the invaluable emotional connection with customers.
However, a great team leader goes one step further. An excellent team leader emphasizes the value of surprise and fun through experiential learning.
Personalized gifts are purchased and hand-delivered to each team member. Then, in the wow moment, the great team leader explains how that wow feeling is the power of surprise and joy and how the goal is for all team members to discover similar opportunities to surprise and delight every “A” customer. It was a coaching tactic Bill Francavilla, one of our esteemed coaches, has used over the years.
This all brings me to the outline below; team leadership past and present.
The surprise and delight above the case is just one example of current “great” leadership. He embodies leadership by example, collaboration and empowerment – every team member has experienced the power of the wow feeling and is now empowered to seek similar opportunities from clients and conflicts of interest. It’s now a collaborative discussion at every weekly team meeting.
This brings me to communication. Great leaders inspire by example, empower, and tie each team member’s role to the group’s vision and goals. This type of communication runs the gamut from verbal reinforcement in meetings to acknowledging team progress, acknowledging individual, private and public contributions (large and small), to understanding and accommodating differences.” generational” within the team. The ongoing goal is to develop and strengthen an emotional bond with each member of the team.
Empathy is key in all of this because it builds trust, which leads to deeper understanding on a personal level. Great team leaders help solve problems, both professional and personal, and they help team members succeed, both through coaching and consulting.
Does it guarantee the full commitment of all team members? Unfortunately no. Some people are not, and never will be, a good candidate. However, the responsibility to meet expectations does not have to be punitive; it’s not just policing, it’s a partnership — “I’m doing my job, you’re doing yours, and how can we help each other achieve team goals? This allows great team leaders to easily identify someone who is not on board and advise their career outside the team.
Because this type of accountability is built on trust and respect, other team members are usually very aware when there is a poor fit. They understand the need to change.
Along the same lines, great leaders are particularly aware of their work environment. We all know that a bad apple can harm a collaborative, supportive and good energy environment. Today, team leaders need to address this critical issue with more flexibility, as we are now faced with remote work schedules, regular offices, and a hybrid of the two. We’ve seen some people use the remote model as a working holiday; others want to enter the office while some are reluctant. All of this presents challenges for camaraderie in the office environment. That said, great team leaders roll up their sleeves and make the necessary adjustments to ensure a collaborative, supportive and energizing environment. This can include increased personal contact, lively virtual team meetings, office happy hours, and more. They tweak and adapt new teamwork methods to ensure their office runs at its best.
However, it is very important to understand all of the above, nothing is complete. There is no leadership now pattern carved in stone. Far from there. But there is a formula, a recipe if you will, which like any recipe is open to countless variations. The key is to understand the basics.
This is my attempt to outline the basics of Now team leader of our work with today’s great team leaders. So if you haven’t already, go out and surprise and delight your team.
Matt Oechsli is the author of Building a Successful Financial Practice in the 21st Century: Attracting, Serving and Retaining High Net Worth Clients. www.oechsli.com