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Showing team leader potential under crisis

7 July 2020

The C-19 crisis is an opportunity for paraplanners leading or aspiring to lead a team to show their commitment and capabilities, says Martin Green, Paraplanning Manager, Chadney Bulgin and member of the PFS Paraplanner Panel.

Whether you’re an internal paraplanner, outsourced paraplanner or a member of a team/department an element of self-management is one of many skill sets a paraplanner requires.

This self-management is a good foundation to build upon if you are looking to become a team supervisor or manager.

There are many other skills required, of course, such as ‘people skills’, and you will find you have to continue to develop these as you encounter different situations and as your experience builds. How you adapt to the changing environment under the ongoing crisis can help demonstrate your commitment and capabilities.

As we move back into a semblance of normality post lockdown, firms will evaluate what worked and what didn’t work during the crisis.  Processes, costs savings, profit margins, commercial premises, who continued to deliver good client outcomes and who didn’t, who stepped up to the plate when it was needed, will all be assessed.

This presents the opportunity to shine as a team leader or within a team.

Your own managers will have been dealing with additional work, that may not be within their original spectrum of responsibilities and probably will continue to do so until the crisis is over. They understand the importance of supporting the business to ensure service levels continue to be delivered to the firm’s clients.

If you aspire to have more responsibility, see where you can help; be your leader’s support. I appreciate this may not be easy due to your own workflow and this may lead to working longer hours but ‘expect to get out what you put in’.

Learning from others

Attending the ‘pre-lockdown’ Professional Paraplanner Team Leader event, it was interesting to listen to everyone talking, sharing experiences and helping each other. This event was extremely useful and eye-opening for those already in a leadership position as well as aspiring to it. I’m sure if existing team leaders had learned what they did at this event at the start of their leadership role it would have been even more beneficial for their development and career.

There is no doubt that there will be more demand for team leaders and supervisors. Whilst speaking to many paraplanners across the UK it’s clear there has been a growth in graduation schemes as firm’s look to ‘grow their own’ paraplanners. I truly commend these firms. From now on, there are going to be some fantastic stepping-stone opportunities to further careers in paraplanning or beyond, as leadership skills can be used across lots of departments and professions.

The key is to be patient (opportunities will arise when you least expect them), learn from experiences (be prepared to feel uncomfortable and sometimes fail), share best practice (communicate with other managers inside and outside of your firm) and make sure you remain true to yourself (don’t become someone else to fit the role).

Over time, expect to adapt your approach to leadership depending on either the position you are in or the people you are working with. Get to know the characteristics of your managers, peers and employees, this will help with how to approach communication. You may not realise it but you have already started to obtain this skill by communicating with the advisers you work with.  Approaching an adviser one way may not work with another.

Good luck on your journey and enjoy the new skills you will learn along the way.

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