The 3 Traits You Need to be a Leader


In a recent post, I mentioned I had the pleasure of listening to Robbie Bach, the former president of entertainment and devices at Microsoft, speak at a meeting. As an accomplished leader, he provided several key points that translate to any business, including financial services. In addition to his thoughts on innovation, he describe three key traits to being an effective leader.


1. Self-awareness.

In order to be successful, you not only need to have high self-awareness of your own strengths and weaknesses, but also the strengths and weaknesses of your team. For example, during my freshman year at Indiana University, the basketball team had a 7’2” center. Being so tall, he was not good at dribbling the ball to the basket. His best move was a hook shot or a short turn-around jumper. So, we scored quicker and easier when we gave him the ball in the right location on the floor. He was self-aware of his limitations, and his teammates also knew where he could help them win.  


I think most financial professionals work with a great deal of humility. In a service industry, you have to be thinking of your clients, knowing that without their trust, you wouldn’t have a business. In a lot of cases, we reinvest in our own communities through volunteer work or monetary investments. We know we can’t be successful without keeping others in the front our mind. 


Grit isn’t easy to define. You might classify it as mental toughness, competitiveness, a willingness to improve or something else along those lines. Essentially, at some point we all must dig deep and believe that all the things we are doing will get us past the difficult times in business. Some people have financial issues, while others might have mental roadblocks. Whatever your obstacle, you must determine the path that will correct the problem and work toward the goal, knowing you will reach it – maybe not as quickly as you’d like, but eventually if you have enough grit. 


Leveraging your strengths and making your clients feel important are both critical to long-term success.  And, you’ll need determination to stick to it and get through the rough times. I hope you remain self-aware and humble, and develop grit along the way. 


Bottom Line:

Having self-awareness, humility and grit are critical factors to being an effective, successful leader.    

About the Author

Mike McGlothlin is the Executive Vice President of Annuities at Ash Brokerage. His strength is helping advisors become more efficient and effective in their businesses. He and his team provide income-planning solutions focused on longevity and tax efficiency, and they also assist advisors with entering defined-benefit termination planning and structured settlement markets.