Combat Leadership for the Financial Industry
I’m a seven-time decorated military soldier, a former financial advisor and now a manager within our profession, and I see a great opportunity within the financial industry in Canada.
There are many people who see and title themselves as managers, directors, trainers, recruiters, owners, but not as leaders. I believe good leadership is crucial for our producers, and our organizations, if they are to survive and succeed in the future. Simply being the owner or “boss” does not mean you are a leader, nor does the title printed on your business card.
Leadership, like many attributes, can be developed through conscious effort and seeking out lessons learned by good leaders whom we have learned from either personally or vicariously. Leadership is a privilege, not a right, and it has to be earned with the mutual respect you build amongst your people. This is especially true of upcoming Gen Y financial advisors who, from all accounts by researchers and marketers, want to follow a leader they believe in.
Your people are the front-line soldiers, and there are ranks and specialists within these people. At their base level, salespeople and soldiers can be lone wolves capable of running independently. At another level, they have a deep-seated desire to fit in and be part of a team; they know they stand a better chance of survival working together given the difficult job they are required to do. To perform well, they need leaders; they need you.
I often think there are great parallels between the financial industry and the military. Soldiers and advisors put themselves in harm’s way every day: prospecting by phone (many would rather be shot at), asking the tough personal medical and financial questions, and forcing people to face their own mortality. On both fronts, the people we help often don’t say thank you.
However, we have accepted this hard life because we believe we can make a difference in people’s lives. I’ve always said those who can’t make the doctor’s physical for the army should look at a management career in this industry; it’s the hardest job you’ll ever do. The rewards are tremendous. You are a leader; be worthy of the rank given to you and earn it every day.