Disclaimer: My background is in the military so I am unable to fully translate leadership tips to the financial world. That being said, I think that being a good leader incorporates key traits that can be applied to all fields.
These points are strictly my opinion and are based on my own personal experiences.
1. Maximize output by setting the example.
When I began my first leadership assignment I found that some of the most important attributes for being a good leader were not very difficult to discover and yet seem to be under utilized by leaders.
The best way to maximize output from subordinates is to set the example. Many of the ways to do this are well known by people and yet tend to be neglected. For instance, showing up well prepared and at the proper times before meetings are small ways to gain subordinates trust.
Leadership is a two way street in which trust must be built both ways.
When gaining positions of seniority, it can be easy to take advantage of the perks the lifestyle may offer. The best leaders are the ones that don't take advantage of their position and hold themselves to the same standards that their subordinates are held to.
2. Strive to be an expert in fields relative to your position.
In the military there are many ways a leader could gain the respect of their troops that are different from other industries. For instance by striving to be the best at running, lifting, combatives and tactics one can establish a very strong reputation.
While these specific areas are different from working as a leader in the financial industry, the same concept stands. It is important to at least strive to be an expert in the fields relative to your job as a leader.
I have found that it is far more important to simply show a continuous desire to improve rather then simply be the best at everything. In showing this determination, it can cause a contagious effect throughout your organization encouraging it to build as well.
3. Communication is key - both upwards and downwards.
In terms of running a organization, communication can be continually referenced as a key reason for it being a success or failure. Communication downward tends to be the most understood quality to be improved by leaders, but communication upward is just as important.
Working to improve communication flow with the person managing you can allow your organization access to many resources. When conflict emerges it is easy to simply shut out your manager and focus your attention downward. However, there are many resources that you may be shutting your organization off from in doing so. For instance, your manager may be able to coordinate with other divisions that you don't have access to.
Many relationships that are detrimental to an organization can be solved simply through the establishment and improvement of communication.
4. Show an interest in your subordinates career progression.
Showing an interest in subordinates career progression can be one of the most important things you do that helps them develop during their time under you. While it may seem straight forward to support your subordinates advancement, conflict of interests have the potential to emerge along the way.
When a subordinate begins to pursue a different job instead of remaining on the glide path you would like, what do you do as a leader? The true answer is that you should support what is in the best interest of your subordinate. While the subordinate leaving your firm may be negative, it may be all but inevitable. However, maintaining a good working relationship on the way out may pay dividends in the long run.
What do you believe makes a good leader? What are the common pit falls that cause leaders with good intentions to fail?