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I can lead a team

Overview

Take me to your leader…that’s you, right? Whether it’s being captain of a sports team at school or university, president of a society, or you’re the one that tends to take the helm in group projects, if you’re a natural leader then the odds are there will be some element of your life that already reflects you’re the one to motivate others and make sure a job gets done. 

Team leaders generally aren’t born great (well, maybe apart from Maximus Decimus Meridius, but that’s another story). Just look at Alex Ferguson – he had to slog it before he eventually achieved domination in football!

In the finance world the majority of managers earn their stripes by working their way up the ranks. They might start out as part of a school leaver programme or Higher Apprenticeship scheme in areas like accounting, retail banking or HR as a trainee, or as a graduate across these and other industries to get to grips with an industry and what each role entails before they eventually manage a team themselves. Previous experiences in other non-managerial roles can really help managers to understand from their team’s perspective and help to get the most out of them!

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Am I cut out to be a team leader?

It does take a certain type of person to take on the responsibility of a team leader. Are you displaying any of the following symptoms?

  • A good listener
  • Not afraid to make decisions – even if they have to be made quickly and under pressure!
  • An effective motivator
  • A rational thinker
  • Confidence
  • A flexible and imaginative problem solver
  • Very good with people
  • Intuitive and able to communicate clearly
  • Able to keep a firm eye on a goal and think of ways to achieve it
  • A great eye for detail.

These are common characteristics and competencies in all successful team leaders. If you tick the boxes then you could be set for the league of managers! 

Where could I lead a team in finance?

Pick the industry that’s right for your interests and skill and work your way up! Some of the responsibilities you hold, the types of decisions you have to make and the knowledge and skills you’ll use to do this will differ greatly according to the industry you’re in.

In areas like accountancy, tax, pensions and insurance you will oversee teams conducting audits, tax returns, investigatory work, research or underwriting tasks. You’ll often be the main point of contact for the client, often providing them with advisory services, and will have to communicate information from them to your team. You’ll have the final sign off on the work your team produces.

Similarly in actuarial work and consulting, you will liaise closely with clients and guide a team on the job in hand, applying your commercial awareness and skills to drive projects forward.

Technology and infrastructure team leaders have exceptional knowledge in their specialism which they apply in their work and use to support their team. They can communicate progress and complex information clearly to clients.

Retail banking team leaders are driven by targets. It’s up to them to motivate their team to achieve sales targets, handle customer complaints and make sure the branch performs to the levels set out by head office.

HR managers are the ultimate pacifists. They have to be exceptionally good listeners and mediators, and ensure regulations and best practice are applied throughout processes like recruitment.

Team leaders in wealth management, asset management and investment banking must keep calm under a lot of pressure. They can be in charge of portfolios worth millions or billions of pounds and need to give their team the right guidance to perform well and be prepared to handle the consequences and find a solution if money is lost!

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