The Growth Series

Leading your team to success

As a mortgage broker you may well find yourself managing a team of other brokers, an office manager and several admin staff. What’s the secret of getting such a team to gel? How do you drive them to want to deliver the very best they can?

Establish values

If a team is to do well, it’s important that everyone feels they share a common purpose. Setting clear values ensures each member of the team knows what the business stands for and what’s expected of them. Think of values that ring true for you and that will inspire your team. Here are a few for starters - ‘Deliver on your promises,’ ‘Treat everyone with respect,’ or ‘Be the change you seek’. Bournemouth Football Club had the saying ‘The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary’ displayed in their dressing room. As Roy E. Disney (Walt’s nephew) put it, ‘It’s not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are’. Once they’re in place, it will make it easier to steer your ship - or mortgage brokerage!

Lead by example

As the leader, your own habits will ripple out to your team so make sure you’re setting a good example. Do you always do as you say? You can be sure your team will soon spot if there is any inconsistency. It’s also a good rule not to ask them to do anything you wouldn’t be happy to do yourself. Of course, being the leader doesn’t mean you can’t delegate. In fact, by giving every team member more responsibility you will help them to grow and develop creative solutions. Good leaders will build relationships of trust and loyalty with their team. You’ll soon find that if your team feels supported, they’ll do everything in their power to achieve results.

Communicate, communicate, communicate

Communication is the single most important factor in good teamwork. Don’t worry, that doesn’t mean holding endless meetings. It’s more about creating an open culture where people feel free to share ideas, make suggestions and air any concerns. It’s also important to set clear goals with agreed timescales and give regular updates as to whether you’re all on target. Share any successes or any particular challenges. Make sure everyone understands how each person’s role helps move the entire team to its overall objective. For example could brokers help the admin staff by sharing information differently, or vice versa?

Always be on the lookout for improvements

It’s hard to think of a sporting team who has had more success in recent years than the cycling team, Team Sky. Yet they never rested on their laurels. Their manager, Sir Dave Brailsford adopted a growth mindset from the start and looked at every aspect of the team’s performance to see what ‘marginal gains’ could be made - everything was stripped right back, from individual bike set ups, the water they drank, the food they ate and the beds they slept in. So scrutinise your processes and interactions with customers. What could be done better? Encourage your team to brainstorm ideas - reassure them that there’s no such thing as a stupid idea and foster a culture of creativity.

Have fun

And finally, create an environment of fun and enjoyment. Everyone performs better when they can relax and are having a good time. A sense of camaraderie will spur your team on through the difficult tasks and tight deadlines. It’s well known that the best leaders manage to include an element of fun without compromising the team's strong work ethic or commitment to excellence. So think about team days out. Doing things together in a different environment away from work enables people to see their colleagues in a new light. You might be surprised what an effect raft building, high rope walking or kayaking can have on teamwork! Or there’s always a meal out!

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