Leadership Skills Every Financial Advisor Needs

I am getting ready to host our annual Magellan Leadership Conference in Orlando, Florida, and I thought it would be a great time in this episode to talk about leadership. Let’s face it being an advisor in this space leadership is not a part of your syllabus. You get your Series 7, Series 63, Series 65, CFP, CFA, CMI or whatever else, but there’s not really a leadership course.I have developed several different benchmarks and characteristics around top leaders from the industry.

First and foremost is the vision.

If you’re going to lead a team, you’ve got to have that strategic vision, which is code for a five-year strategic plan in writing. You need to sit down with your team on an ongoing basis. At least quarterly, you need to talk about where we are in terms of the plan and how everybody fits into the plan. You lead by announcing a vision to your people.

Secondly, leadership requires energy.

Physical, mental and emotional energy. The way we get energy is we do our morning ritual, we take care of ourselves because think about this in your own space. Let’s say you come into the office and you’re tired. So, you get into the office and one of your team members has not been performing up to par.The right thing to do is to sit down with that person, have a meeting, coach them, communicate with them, and reapply expectations. This requires you to really have some gas in the tank, or you’re going to just show up and say you can deal with that tomorrow. Leadership requires mental energy to lead, physical energy to engage, and emotional energy to make sure everyone’s on course.

The third element of leadership is rituals. What are your rituals when it comes to the team?

What does your daily team huddle look like? What does your weekly team meeting look like? What does your monthly team meeting look like? And what does your quarterly strategic team meeting look like? There are four different meetings every advisor needs to operate inside of to maximize the effectiveness of their leadership and their team. Daily Huddle – What happened in the last 24 hours? What’s going to happen in the next 24 hours? Weekly Team Meeting – We go over our weekly game plan to achieve our monthly goals Monthly Team Meeting – We go over the new monthly game plan. What’s working, what’s not working? Quarterly Team Meeting – We talk about the strategic plan, we look at our marketing, we look at our branding, and we look at how we’re interacting with each other. You lead from the front. When I walk into a situation with a new client the challenge is determining if it’s a partnership or a team. First, ask yourself this question are you leading and communicating proactively? Or are you just talking? Maybe you spend a few minutes every morning going over prep issues or challenges but never get to run the business at a high level. You need to practice your leadership skills daily as part of your ritual. One main part of the ritual is that you praise publicly and correct privately.If you’re going to lead you have to lead by your own. Again, you know, your own habits, your own behaviors, and your own rituals. You need to walk the talk. If you say you’re going to have a team meeting every Wednesday or a daily huddle at a certain time every day, DON’T cancel! I have clients on vacation and they will still call in to check on their team meetings. Not every day, but they’re checking on the weekly even when they’re on vacation to make sure that they’re leading effectively. This is not a job, this is a responsibility. So don’t think you’re going to hire somebody, and then hope it works. That’s normally the result you get. Leadership is also about how you handle adversity. The only way you have a zero adversity business is if you have no business. Things are going to happen it’s unavoidable! Clients are going to leave, markets are going to tank, technology is going to break, phone systems aren’t going to work and if you go crazy in this unresourceful state, what do you expect your team to do? It’s easy to lead when things are going well, but the challenge is when things aren’t going well can you stay in a resourceful state? There are only two states, resourceful and unresourceful. Unresourceful is when you’re pissed off. You’re angry. You just want to close your door, but that’s not leadership.Next part of leadership you need to think about is does everybody know exactly what their roles are? In other words, if I’m a junior advisor, do I know exactly what my duties responsibilities and areas of responsibility are? If I’m an assistant, do I understand the same thing? If I’m a relationship manager? Do I understand the same thing? If I’m a receptionist? Do I understand the same thing? In other words, there’s no ambiguity. What a lot of team leaders do is they talk with fluff. Fluff is we’ll do this right away or I need this done or this is a priority. What does priority mean? If I had 10 team members in a row and I said give me the answer in terms of hours and minutes on the word priority. In other words, when something is a priority what is the timeline to get this done? From those 10 team members, I will get 10 very, very different answers on when it’s due. That’s a problem.We like to think that our stuff is interpreted the way we see it in our mind. What we need to do is communicate with a specific time. For instance, I need this by 4 o’clock today or in the next 24 hours. Now we’re getting specific communication, not fluffy communication. Do not delegate with fluff, delegate with specifics.Give them the timeline, don’t leave it up to them, because they will interpret it based upon their own rules, not yours. We want to be precise in our communication and delegation as a leader. You need to sit there and be the team coach. What does that mean? Well, at least quarterly every member of your team has a sit down with you. We don’t call it a performance review, we call it a coaching session. You go over with them things that they’re doing well, things they could improve upon, ask them what you could be doing to lead them more effectively. Imagine doing that every 90 days, proactively for 30 minutes. You’re having one-on-ones with your team every 90 days. If you’re a leader and you’re not doing that you need to start doing that. We want to be having those one-on-ones and make sure we’re communicating, we’re caring, we’re course correcting, and we’re coaching.The last thing is you need to embrace the fact that you’re in the people business when it comes to your team and it’s all about culture.

What is your team culture? What is your leadership style?

If I were looking to join your team, and I had my choice between going on your team or going to your competitor’s teams, what makes your team superior? Why should I come join you? Why should I contribute to this?Don’t tell me it’s about the money. Money is important, but it’s not the primary or sole factor that is going to sway their decision. I look in this economy today, and we have a shortage of talent in our industry. You need to bring your A-game to your leadership because people will leave if they don’t like the vibe or they don’t like the way you run things. There are always other options out there for them. There are no shortage of opportunities in the space right now, for somebody with experience to go and make a difference. I’m not saying that to scare you, it’s just the truth. I hope this episode gave you some benchmarks and guidelines on leadership. I gave you a 10-minute overview of an eight-hour program just to get the conversation started. Leadership is not talked a lot about in our space and it needs to be spoken about.With that being said, thank you for listening and watching and remember if you want to come step in my game for 30 days and come play visit MagellanNetwork.net.Related: The Truth About Getting to the Next Level as an Advisor