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Practice management: Leading your team to the top

Working alone is not the best approach to business. No one person can keep up with the regulatory demands, specialisation and paperwork faced by today’s advisers.

Tuesday, March 31st 2009, 9:27AM

When it comes to leadership many advisers fall into one of two camps – they either neglect their supervisory obligations or overdo it by getting too involved.

To be a good leader, you need to employ teamwork fundamentals such as:

Communicate your vision of the future
Few advisers talk to their employees in a meaningful way about the company’s future and their role in it. Your team has valuable insights and capabilities that will allow you to do what you do best. Get your employees’ thoughts on the future of the company. Ask if the company is missing any opportunities. Find out what the team would do in your shoes. Together, consider what the company could look like in the future.

Once the company goals are defined, individual goals for team members should be set. Goals are a fundamental part of growth and job satisfaction. By identifying company and individual goals, your employees can visualise the future and their roles in it.

Define roles
Roles are defined so the right person does the job. The objective, expectations and accountability for the position should also be stated in writing. Once it is clear who does what, the person responsible for a specific task should always handle it. Well-defined roles and smart delegation can streamline business and increase productivity.

Delegate tasks
One of the first you need to do is to face your fears and let go. Then find a successful method of delegation. Services like Copy Talk or WordsXpressed allow you to delegate all day long. The next day, the delegated tasks are e-mailed to the appropriate person who can then put them on a to-do list. With clear assignments and fewer interruptions from the adviser, productivity will increase.

Establish accountability and consequences
The value of clear expectations cannot be overstated. When expectations aren’t met, discuss what isn’t working. Dissecting the problem can lead to possible solutions. If this doesn’t help, you may need to make a serious decision. Is it time to find someone else to do the job? I believe in second chances, but not five or six.

Emphasize personal initiative
The more ownership your team takes, the easier it is for you to concentrate on building the business. Eliminate the workflow bottlenecks in your office. When your employees ask questions about missing details, don’t say, “I’ll take care of it” and take it back. Instead, schedule time with your staff to review the work or discuss their questions.

Use positive reinforcement
One of my clients was hard on himself and as a result, he was hard on others. He made an honest effort to listen to his employees’ ideas and implemented some of them. He went out of his way to recognise their work. The team appreciated the change and began mirroring his approach. The result was a better, more productive place to work.

Gina Pellegrini is the owner of Pellegrini Team Consulting, a firm specialising in small-business management and employee development. She is a frequent speaker and was one of the coaches at the 2007 MDRT Court of the Table Best Practices Forum.
« Using thinking preferences to connect with clientsPractice management: From customer to client »

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