5 Personality Traits that Make a Great Leader

Personality Traits that Make a Great Leader

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Existence of multiple theories and examples on “Leadership” are often confusing and easily lead to mixed messages or misconceptions. Amidst this confusion, the fact that remains unchanged is that: Strong leadership is critical for Success in any Business.

What makes a great leader

Let’s explore the 5 key traits that will help you be the kind of Leader your clients and prospects look for in their Financial Planners and the sales team look for in their managers.

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#1 Great Leaders have a “Vision”

There’s a famous proverb from the Bible:

“Where there is no vision, the people perish.” – Proverbs 29:18.

One trait common to all great leaders is they all had a Vision: an idea, a picture, a belief about their business, themselves or their services. Vision gives us the ability and inspiration to pursue and achieve goals regardless of the obstacles. I came across a very interesting article: Success Secrets – The Importance of Having a Vision by Julian Burke at dreammanifesto.com where he has covered the following:

  • What exactly is a Vision?
  • Its importance.
  • Knowing what you want.
  • And how to build a vision?

According to Julian, Vision is a “Target”, a need to have a better and happier future. Building a vision is simple if you know exactly what you want and where you want to see yourself in the future.

To successfully achieve a Vision is a four-step process:

Visualize, Set Goals, Create a Plan of action and Start making the changes.

As their Financial Advisor or a Wholesaler, people look up to you as a Leader. Not having a clear and compelling vision for yourself, your business, your clients and your team would be like walking down an endless dark road with no signs or directions whatsoever.

Ask yourself, “Would you trust a person, who has no clue of what he is trying to do in his life, with your Money?” I don’t think so!

Firstly, it’s imperative to create a vision that you truly believe in.

Secondly, learn to communicate it effectively to the people you want to follow you: your team, your existing clients and your prospects.

Explain what’s in it for them. Use word pictures.

Tell clients and prospects that your Vision is to “put their financial house in order and make sure they retire comfortably”.

Tell your sales team that your Vision is to “have 50+ Million dollar accounts this year with the best customer experience so that they all get better bonuses and increments”. And I’m sure they would love to follow you.

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#2 True leaders lead with “Integrity”

We all know that Integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is watching. People with Integrity are trust-able.

Can you name a truly great leader who wasn’t trusted by anyone?

Also, integrity is not a onetime act. It’s a concept of being consistent in your efforts, values, methods, principles, outcomes and commitments.

In a post by Enrique P. Fiallo – “10 Mistakes Leaders Should Avoid at All Costs”, at Michael Hyatt’s Leadership Blog, he pointed out that lacking integrity is one of the biggest Mistakes to Avoid. He says:

There are many things you can lack and still steer clear of danger. Integrity isn’t one of them. Establish a set of sound ethics policies, integrate them into all business processes, communicate them broadly to all employees, and make clear that you will not tolerate any deviation from any of them. Then live by them. You have to carve out time to set the “integrity agenda,” for your own edification, and then to make it clear to the organization. I took for granted people would be able to figure out right from wrong. The problem is, in the middle of a hectic and pressure filled quarter, I myself failed to figure it out.

If you agree that being a Financial Advisor or a Wholesaler is a Leader-like role, then you would also agree that trust and integrity are vital for success in this business.

People will not do business with you until they trust you.

So be a True Leader in the financial services industry and earn people’s trust. Stay consistent in your efforts. Make sure you and your team always do the right thing and stick to the vision.

Like Don says, when the market crashes call your clients before they call you. Don’t overpromise and under perform. That’s integrity! Ignore it at your own Peril.

#3 and #4 Effective Leadership is about “Magnanimity” and “Humility”:

Great Leaders and Effective Leadership

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“No man will make a great leader who wants to do it all himself, or to get all the credit for doing it.” – Andrew Carnegie.

Effective Leaders are magnanimous persons who give credit where it is due.

Magnanimity leads to higher levels motivation by inculcating a sense of greatness and dignity.

Humility is the opposite of narcissism. Great leaders are humble. They treat everyone equally. They understand that being chosen as a Leader does not make them a Supreme Power.

Magnanimity and Humility, although 2 different traits, they go hand in hand.

Alexandre Havard’s Virtuous Leadership Model explains Magnanimity and humility, as the essence of Leadership. He says:

Magnanimity is the habit of striving towards great things. Leaders are magnanimous in their dreams, visions, and sense of mission; and also in their capacity to challenge themselves and those around them. Humility is the habit of service. Humility means that leaders pull rather than push, teach rather than command, inspire rather than berate. Thus, leadership is less about displays of power than the empowerment of others. Magnanimity and humility are two virtues that cannot be separated. Together they constitute a unique ideal: the ideal of the dignity and greatness of man. Magnanimity makes us conscience of our personal dignity and greatness; humility makes us conscience of the dignity and greatness of others. Magnanimity and humility are the fruits of a proper appreciation of the value of man; pusillanimity, which prevents man from understanding himself, and pride, which prevents him from understanding others, are the derive from a false appreciation of the value of man. Leadership is a life ideal that recognizes, assimilates and promotes the truth about man.

These two virtues in your role as a Financial Advisor / Wholesaler can be seen in multiple ways.

  • As a Leader, who gives and rewards his team when they meet the targets!
  • As a Coach / Mentor, who trains his sales team
  • As a Professional who educates his clients the basics of investing, in the lingo that they understand.
  • As a Business person who time and again appreciates the effort of his staff and support of his clients to help him achieve the business, clients and employee goals.
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#5 Real Leaders Demonstrate “Accountability”

No one is perfect. We all make mistakes. It’s easier to take the credit when things go well but difficult to take the responsibility for unexpected results. Authentic leadership is to be accountable for each and every action, even the bad ones.  No matter who’s at fault, a true leader would first own up to it and then immediately take the necessary corrective or preventive measures.

Here’s another great post by Michael Hyatt on Leadership and Accountability. I’ll share some highlights of his article below:

  • Accountability means that you accept responsibility for the outcomes expected of you—both good and bad. You don’t blame others. And you don’t blame the external environment. There are always things you could have done—or still can do—to change the outcome.
  • Victims are passive. They are acted upon. Leaders are active. They take initiative to influence the outcome.
  • Even great leaders, have bad months. But when they do, they take full responsibility for it.

Bottom line – Be accountable.

Don’t be that person who gladly takes the credit when the portfolio touches a Million but blames the market for an underperforming asset. That’s not how Leaders and Top performers are.

We may or may not realize, but we ALL lead at some point in our life – at home and school, in the office or within communities. The challenge is not new. Effective Leadership is imperative for Success. So there’s not much choice we’ve got here.

Having said that, I strongly believe that “Leaders Are Made, Not born”.

All leaders have outstanding soft skills – develop yours with Don Connelly 24/7.

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