LAS VEGAS - To lead a successful financial advisory team an advisor needs four things: Communication, collaboration, structure and process, said William Stepanek of Morgan Stanley Smith Barney in a workshop during IMCA’s annual conference on Tuesday.

When organizing a team it’s critical to clearly state what role each person on the team will play, what are the goals, and what does success look like, Stepanek said.  “An owner, producer, or leader is looking to the future, which is different than a team manager who is in the present,” he explained. “If you don’t have vision, you are a manager.”

To be a team leader six key disciplines are needed, he explained.

1. Focus on goals and make sure the mission is clear and inspiring. One way to do this is to have a daily huddle.

2. Ensure a collaborative environment, which means being open and supportive. All team performance issues can be raised in an appropriate fashion. “Collaboration is not optional,” Stepanek said. “Walk the talk and challenge offenders.”

3. Build team confidence. Success breeds success, confidence leads to commitment, and commitment leads to performance. “How do you build confidence? Keep everyone in the loop. Exhibit trust. Assign responsibilities. And celebrate “wins”.

4. Manage priorities on your team or someone else will. “The team has only so much capacity,” he said. “If nothing is a priority, everything is. Focus on goals, make choices, and when priorities change explain why.”

5. Demonstrate competence by analyzing technical problems, empathizing with team members, and being credible to outsiders.

6. Manage performance. Have a clear vision of what you’re trying to accomplish with your team. What do the goals look like? Review specific performance issues. Learn to ask questions. Describe desired outcome or behavior. “There are problems on a team when you manage one person one way and another person another way. We need to be careful as leaders to treat everyone equally,” he said.






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