My take-aways from the Professional Paraplanner Team Leader Seminar

4 December 2023

Peter Rhoden, paraplanning manager at the Verve Group, gives his view of the latest Team Leader Seminar and what resonated with him the most, as well as his 5 key take-aways from the event. 

Recently, I took part as a panellist in a session on motivation at the Professional Paraplanner Team Leader Seminar in London, hosted by Fidelity International at their offices in London.

It was a dynamic day, with lots of insightful presentations as well as smaller, interactive workshop sessions. In my role as paraplanning manager at The Verve Group, it’s too easy to busy yourself with the running of the team and balancing caseloads, and attending physical events such as this sometimes isn’t prioritised enough. It was a great reminder to be in the company of like-minded industry peers and discuss the variety (and similarities) of challenges we all face, and also to gain some useful insights into what works well for different firms and teams.

As a team leader focussed event, the overall theme of the day was on the importance of dedicated time with your team. It’s all too easy to assume people are too busy with the day job – whether that be you as the team leader or that of those in your team – however, the benefits of regular personal interaction can, and should, never be underestimated when it comes to promoting morale, recognition, and value/self-worth.

It’s important to set clear boundaries when managing a team, setting expectations at every stage and, it’s greatly helpful to understand the type of person/character you are dealing with (there’s some great personality profiling tools on the market – try ’16personalities’).

Of course, no two people are the same, so there’s great value in understanding and appreciating what approaches to management, learning, communication and motivation are most effective for that individual.

In addition to understanding preferences, it’s important to build a genuine relationship with your team members, again with clear boundaries in place. For example, knowing what’s going on for them at home could give perspective on how they are performing at work.

Interestingly, one of the sessions from the event was with a mental health expert and was a great session which explored the power of language – how words and questions could be interpreted in different ways, and the impact an exchange could have on someone’s mindset. The same can be said for yourself, if it doesn’t come naturally, a shift in your own mindset is often needed to see another point of view.

My 5 key take-aways from the Seminar

1. Communicate: both positively and negatively. Be sure to give plenty of praise when it’s deserved or give helpful feedback to encourage ongoing development. Also, practice active listening with team/individuals to build positive and trusted working relationships.

2. Aim: Set clear and achievable goals and objectives. Every individual in your team must be able to articulate what the overall dept goal is and know what part their role plays in achieving it.

3. Prepare: Be sure to protect some time to prepare for meetings. Know what you want to achieve with your conversations and be sure to have any evidence to hand which might be needed to back up conversations. The old adage comes to mind ‘fail to prepare, prepare to fail…’

4. Reflect: Much like you protect time in advance of a meeting, be sure to do the same afterwards. Reflect on your conversations and gauge how they went – for you, and for your team member – and agree and establish the best next steps.

5. Be confident: Managing teams can be difficult sometimes, but have confidence in your relationships, support your team and don’t be afraid to seek advice from others around you. Leading a team isn’t about having all the answers, but it’s about knowing how to find them.

The Verve team has created a wide range of free resources including whitepapers, guides and templates which are all available here.

The panel fields question on motivation: L-r: Peter Rhoden, The Verve Group; Hannah Wynick, Core Financial Paraplanning, Phil Greenwood, EQ Investors

Professional Paraplanner