Leadership in the financial sector

By on September 7, 2015

One of the biggest challenges facing financial experts today is making the shift from being a technical genius to being an influential leader in your organisation. It is no longer enough just to do your job. In my eight years as executive coach, this pattern keeps emerging: monumental responsibility is thrust upon management to become profound leaders of influence; but often without the training that would equip them with the right tools or skills set to meet this expectation. Is it possible to become a leader of influence in an organisation? The short answer: Yes, it is possible. I have spent eight years with leaders and have identified various traits that separate managers from leaders in finance. Leadership is not about title, it’s about progress. It’s the ability and commitment to make things happen, maximise resources and be a source of inspiration to your organisation. It is the capacity to create an environment in which people thrive and results are achieved. Ultimately, leadership is the ability to significantly influence the thoughts and emotions of another, and cause a positive shift in their behaviour. And you don’t need to have a title to do any of that. Also, in my own experience coaching executives in the financial sector, I have recognised that successful leaders are not lucky or just born that way; they simply do things differently. And most of what they do can be learned. Six fundamental habits and character traits of successful leaders: They have designed a compelling vision for themselves and the organisation to which they are drawn and it’s difficult for them to not speak and share their vision. They spend a lot of time getting people

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to buy into this vision. They are a living example of the possibility. Leaders recognise that the only way to realise their vision is by raising their own standards. They don’t make demands on anyone to do anything that they themselves are not willing to do. They are willing to move mountains and do whatever it takes to deliver. They hold to the old saying that “if you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.” These leaders are clear that they are going to have to demand more from themselves than anyone around them. And they do, consistently. It is this commitment by leaders to lead by example that garners trust, respect and loyalty amongst the teams they lead. And it naturally causes them to raise their own standards too. Successful leaders are truly committed to their decision. They do not state preferences when they decide on a course of action. They come from conviction. They make firm, calculated decisions and they seek collaboration. They recognise that invariably they will be challenged, but this is just another opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to their vision. By far, the most profound quality exuded by leaders is their love for people and humanity. They care deeply about the people with whom they work and will avail themselves to serve. If they don’t have the time for a chat, they’ll make the time. I marvel at the level of loyalty shared between the discerning leader and his/her team, especially when faced with trials and tribulation. Everyone in the team gives of themselves with the undisputable certainty that they are valued – because their leaders express it. They know that “I can speak about matters that concern me. And I know that my wellbeing is a priority.” They are honest and pride themselves on always telling the truth. They understand that truth-telling is freeing, and it penetrates. Their frankness about circumstances and events enables them to make informed decisions and act with sincerity and integrity. Lastly, they conduct acts of selfless service. I like to call this trait, selfless contribution. They lend a hand, they contribute to others and they play their part in making the world a better place. With this in mind, my invitation to you is to be a source of inspiration for the people in your organisation. Recognise that wherever you are right now, your potential to grow and expand is unlimited. Investing in an executive coach in invaluable.

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