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Five Easy Steps to Becoming a Leader in the Financial Services Arena

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Five Easy Steps to Becoming a Leader in the Financial Services Arena

Many financial professionals with whom I consult and mentor marvel at the leadership skills of their peers and rationalize that “I’m just not cut out of the same cloth.” Consequently, they resign themselves to allowing others to lead, while they sit in the background, burying their own potential leadership skills.

Leaders are made, not born and you certainly can put yourself in the position to become a leader in your industry.  This will also raise your self-esteem, which will supercharge your motivation to prospect for new clients and raise your self-confidence in servicing your existing clients!

There are five easy steps to developing leadership skills that you can take, right now:

Step #1: Read About the Life Stories of Leaders You Respect

Biographies tell the story.  Read about famous leaders’ life stories, including their hurts, their hopes and their aspirations.  How did they bounce back from adversity and defeat?   What kept them driving forward in the face of overwhelming odds? Explore their greatest life lessons and it may give you some motivational ideas to incorporate in your own career.

Read about these leaders’ failures and how they turned them into opportunities to learn a new skill or strategy that led to future success.  Leaders don’t deny or ignore their faults and shortcomings…they use that data to make changes and thrive.

Step #2: Reflect on How Have You Dealt With Failure in the Past?

So often, we get caught up in our failures and cannot move forward. We maintain the habits that led to the failure and resign ourselves to those habits. It’s like we are driving a car and constantly looking in the rearview mirror, rather than straight ahead out the windshield…anobvious recipe for a crash.

Now look at the successes you have had, which others might have not predicted for you.  We spend so much time bemoaning our failures and disappointments,

that we often ignore the successes we have had.  Re-capture those successes and how you bounced back, so that you can use the same life lessons to move forward starting now, and inspire others to do the same.

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Step #3: Find Out What Famous Leaders Read

You don’t need to reinvent the wheel to become a leader in your industry.   Learn about what the pundits you respect in your industry are reading (not just writing) and the valuable lessons they derived from these books.  Read some of these books so you can learn the same lessons and pass them on to your peers and subordinates.

Step #4: Reflect About Who Was the Most Inspirational Person in Your Life and Why

This could have been a parent, another relative, a teacher, a coach, etc.  What specific traits did this person have that inspired you?  Write down each trait and next to it give yourself a strategy for developing that same trait in yourself, if you don’t believe you currently possess it.

Remember:  Leaders are made, not born.  You are perfectly capable of developing leadership traits.  Go to any MBA program and the curriculum is filled with leadership development courses.

Ruth Fishel’s wonderful little book, “Change Almost Anything in 21 Days” is based on research proving that anyone is capable of developing almost any new pattern of behaviors very quickly if they believe they can and practice new thinking habits to make it happen.

Step #5: Make a List of Ways in Which You Can Add Value to a Variety of Colleagues or Subordinates’ Lives

So many people find themselves envious of peers and colleagues, who display successful strategies for success.  Instead of comparing yourself to them, praise them!

Practice actively adding value to others’ lives by recognizing the special skills and the efforts they put into their careers.  Leaders don’t waste time feeling sorry for themselves because someone else is doing things better than they.  Leaders make note of those skills, recognize them in their peers, add value to those peoples’ lives and learn to emulate those successes.

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