50 INVESTMENT ADVISOR SEPTEMBER 2019 | ThinkAdvisor.com
make decisions. A leader who gets outraged about small or less meaningful
things may be more of an agitator than a
manager. As an example, Sinek told the
audience a story about an inspirational
minister who in his sermon declared
that few in his congregation “give a shit”
about poor people. “In fact,” the minister
said, “you are probably more upset that I
said the word shit in church than the fact
I said you didn’t care about poor people.”
Underperforming firms often mirror
how people feel about working there. At
some point, we all experience issues with
our job or personal challenges we wish
we could be more transparent about.
Oftentimes employees are reluctant to
let bosses know about these things. Do
your employees ever say to you, “I made
a mistake?” Do they ever reveal that they
have problems at home that are making it
difficult to stay focused at work? Do they
ever admit that they were promoted to
a job, but they do not know what to do?
CREATING A SAFE WORKPLACE
Chances are, many do not reveal such
issues for fear of retribution or disruption in their career progress. As a
result, we create cultures in which our
employees are lying, hiding and faking.
Cracks emerge. Performance suffers.
Good people leave.
When those who work in our business
do not feel safe, a culture problem arises.
Bosses may feel like they are in charge,
but their role is to be responsible for
employees: not to give orders, but to rush
to their support. Not to demonstrate
toughness and discipline, but to convey
empathy and treat mistakes and knowledge deficiencies as teaching moments.
Sinek described the process that prospective Navy Seals go through before
they are accepted. Candidates are evaluated with performance on one axis and
trust on another. He explained, “High
performance/low trust is toxic.” Yet in
many organizations, performance overrides trust when it comes to bonus or
promotion time. The monsters thus created become toxic leaders.
Reflect on how you might help
employees grow into ever-increasing
responsibility. In addition to teaching
technical skills, do you model patience,
effective confrontation and other human
skills? Do you reward the behavior that
you seek? Do you show the path to per-
The financial services industry is
struggling to be relevant to recent graduates, career changers and people returning to the workforce after raising kids.
The gap is most acute among women and
people of color who are seeking other
professions or other types of companies.
Compounding the challenge, the
advisory profession includes many small
businesses that make only occasional
hires, and rarely have employee development programs. Many young advisors,
operations and service people bemoan
the lack of opportunity for personal and
professional growth. We all know, when
you stop growing you start dying — as a
business and as an employee.
It is hard to preach to entrepreneurs
who cannot afford to hire and develop
talent systematically. Perhaps our great-
est opportunity for making the profes-
sion relevant to new hires is to encourage
consolidation, growth and achieving
critical mass so that more firms can com-
pete for talent with law firms, account-
ing firms and consulting firms.
At a minimum, every leader — regard-
less of the size of the business — must
understand that the commitment to
employees must be as great as the com-
mitment to clients. We have a duty of care
in both cases. It is no coincidence that the
goals are the same: wake up inspired, live
your day feeling safe, go home fulfilled.
When you value employees as much as
clients, you create an opportunity to build
an enduring business and to become the
employer of choice in your market.
Mark Tibergien is CEO of BNY Mellon’s
Pershing Advisor Solutions. Tibergien is also
the author most recently of “The Enduring
Advisory Firm,” written with Kim Dellarocca
of BNY Mellon and published by Wiley. He can
be reached at email@example.com.
At a minimum, every leader — regardless of
the size of the business — must understand
that the commitment to employees must be
as great as the commitment to clients. …It is
no coincidence that the goals are the same:
wake up inspired, live your day feeling safe,
go home fulfilled.