Leadership is a challenge and one that is continually changing and demanding new things of you. Banking combined with the technology sector is a dynamic and challenging industry, and it can be hard to know the quickest route to becoming a great leader.
Here are nine suggestions on how to join the ranks of the best finance leaders.
1. Become a better listener
Listening well is a fine art, but it’s one few ever learn. Many leaders consider their role to be more about ‘telling’ than listening, but those finance leaders who want to get the most out of their employees will know that it’s really the other way around.
Welcome and seek out the ideas, suggestions, opinions, and even criticism. Your door should always be open, and feedback structures should be healthy and transparent. You’ll find you generate loyalty and reduce turnover and team toxicity along the way.
2. Be more ‘human.’
The workplace is changing. Traditional barriers between ‘work persona’ and ‘home persona’ are breaking down, and employees are craving authentic leaders who aren’t afraid to show specific types of vulnerability, as well as genuine passion for their work.
3. Be aware of your development areas
Assess your decisions and track their success over time. Notice when you’re displaying favouritism. Admit when you’re wrong or don’t know something. Ask for help. These steps will mark you out as a genuinely excellent leader that others will rally around.
4. Treat each employee as they like to be treated
It’s common for leaders to praise, motivate, and give developmental feedback to their team just as they want to be appreciated, excited, or developed themselves. However, this is often a recipe for disaster, or at least some tension and embarrassment, as each is different.
An extrovert often loves public praise, whereas a classic introvert will find it confronting. Financial incentives work well for some, and barely at all with others. One of your team might want extremely regular feedback and support; another might feel that you’re trying to micromanage them with that same approach.
Do some research on different human motivations (check out Dan Pink’s TED talk for an interesting take on it), and more importantly, sit down for one-on-one meetings with your team to find out how they like to be managed and motivated.
5. Be willing to change, and…………often!
It’s frustrating to work for a manager who refuses to adapt to changing circumstances. That is not a leader; it is someone merely managing the day-to-day while trying to maintain the status quo they are comfortable with.
Inflexibility is particularly dangerous in banking, with ever-changing regulations, new research, changing technologies, and variable markets requiring good adaptability from companies and their managers.
6. Encourage others to take the glory
It can be a difficult transition to management. Most leaders are selected because they excelled in the role they are now managing, but this can be problematic if the leader has trouble shifting from an individualistic to a team perspective.
Remember, success in your management role is helping others to succeed. So please don’t try and micromanage and do it all yourself, and certainly, don’t try and claim all the glory. Your professional fame comes from their success now, so wholeheartedly support them to shine.
7. Be transparent
A successful banking leader is one who shares information with the team, so everyone knows where they are going and how they will get there together.
Don’t keep information from your team unless it is confidential—even if the news is not positive, it’s better that they hear it from you.
8. Be smart about goal setting
Human motivation is generally short-lived. Long-term goals are hard to reach because they are just that: long-term. Productivity experts recommend that you break your big goals into small pieces so that the team keeps their momentum as they continue reaching the mini-goals.
Set clear timelines and performance measurement for maximum effectiveness, and make sure you set rewards and celebrate when a team reaches a target.
9. Keep learning
We strongly suggest finding a mentor you admire to help you on your leadership journey but, failing that, there are an immense amount of leadership resources out there, whether books, podcasts, online or training courses. Turn your commute into a time of learning, so you arrive at work inspired to lead and try new things.
About Flow Financial & Technology
The Middle East is a dynamic and growing market where identifying top talent and world-class professionals for the financial services and technology industry is highly competitive. Flow
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