It’s no secret that during major societal disruptions — such as the current pandemic — sound leadership is essential to successfully working our way through uncharted territory.
As we’re learning, this is true at the national level, for state governments and in businesses, both large and small, including independent advisory firms.
Most owners of advisory firms start at a disadvantage. Their professional training is largely focused on personal finance rather than the business leadership and administration schooling of executives at most large corporations.
Consequently, I spend a significant amount of time and effort helping owner-advisor clients become better leaders. This, in large part, involves finding a “leadership style” that’s right for them and their businesses.
Where to Start?
Leaders, such as advisory-firm business owners, seem to base their leadership style around their strengths: a deep knowledge of the financial services industry, an entrepreneurial bent and strong people skills, which have helped them to attract and keep clients.
While these skills are essential to successfully launching a business, they’re less helpful when you’re trying to run that business.
For instance, as a business grows, each of these areas becomes important to continued growth. Unless business owners intends to work in their home or professional office 24/7, they’re going to have to delegate some — or even all — of those responsibilities to their staff members.
Consequently, it’s better for leaders to base their leadership style around their team’s strengths and weaknesses — including their own — and give employees the support and resources they need to do their jobs more successfully.
Next Steps to Take
To do this, we find that the most successful leaders follow, listen, support, encourage, take responsibility (when it’s due), are committed to what they are doing and delegate whenever possible.
Unfortunately, most firm owners don’t delegate enough and/or delegate the wrong areas.
Not only does delegating some tasks and/or responsibilities free up an owner to focus on running their business, it also creates space for them to pay attention, observe how their employees are doing and have enough time to show them how they can do their jobs better.
A quick search on the Internet will result in a mountain of information about being a good leader, but much of it is conflicting. Instead, the key to finding what works best for you — and for the team you manage — is by truly experiencing leadership.
This means you’ve got to take the reins and truly lead — in the unique ways and particular style that best help you rise to this challenge.
Until then, you still are searching for answers that can only be found in accepting the uncertainty of it all.