Building your team: Overcoming obstacles and fears of delegating

Benefit from delegating much more than basic administrative activities

Building your team: Overcoming obstacles and fears of delegating
Christine Timms

In the previous article of this series, we discussed how clients, team members, firms and advisors benefit from an advisor’s willingness and ability to build a strong team.

Yet, in spite of all the potential benefits, many advisors remain reluctant to delegate beyond basic administrative activities.

Why are advisors reluctant to delegate?

Some, maybe most, advisors find it difficult to delegate, especially early in their career. Delegating means trusting someone else to perform tasks that advisors previously performed themselves.

Many advisors fear that no one else will care enough to do the job as well as they do. They are afraid that delegating will lead to errors and result in lower quality service for their clients. Good training, and repeatable processes with templates for team members to follow, coupled with supervision should actually result in fewer errors and consistent better quality service.

Advisors are also afraid of losing touch with what has been done for specific clients. This fear can be addressed by good note taking in a contact management system that allows all team members to see other team members’ activity relating to each client. Advisors and team members should take notes of all client interaction and activities completed. Such notes will also help to satisfy compliance requirements.

Advisors may feel it is faster to do it themselves than it is to train someone else. Unfortunately, this will be true in the beginning, but the time invested will be worth it especially when team members start training each other. As I have mentioned in previous articles, an advisor’s time is their most valuable resource. The pay back in time saved from delegating is huge.

Some advisors are afraid to share their client relationships with team members. They are afraid the team member might leave and take clients with them. I recommend starting by delegating behind the scenes activities that don’t require sharing the relationship. A good team actually strengthens an advisor’s relationship with clients. Clients don’t want their advisor to waste time on tasks that other less qualified individuals can do. When your team grows to the point of delegating higher-level activities that require sharing relationships, such as discussing recommendations, clients often appreciate that “two heads are better than one”. In fact, several clients told me exactly that over the years. I rarely completely handed off the relationship and I was always there for a client’s serious issue.

Clear Articulation of Delegated Activities

To conquer the fears of delegating and maximize the benefits, it is very helpful to clearly articulate what is being done and by who. A well articulated activity list will:

- ease an advisor’s concerns about losing touch with what is being done
- identify where time is spent by the advisor and individual team members
- inform team members of their own and other team member responsibilities
- inspire advisors and senior team members to delegate more
- help in the discovery of activities where delegation is possible
- speed up the delegation process by facilitating systematic delegation
- make sure very little slips though the cracks
- helps advisor redistribute activities when adding or losing a particular team member

Over time my team’s activity list migrated to our contact management system which provided each team member with a daily activity list linked to client records where applicable. We still reviewed the activity list when someone left or was added to the team.

There are obviously many different activities that could be delegated, and these activities will vary greatly with each advisor’s practice.

In the next article of this series Building Your Team we will discuss many potential activities to delegate, when to delegate and who to delegate to.

Potential Resource: Quickly create team member duty lists using a customizable checklist template downloadable in the Team Building for Financial Advisors Templates Bundle found here. The template includes over 140 potential delegable activities for teams of any size and various structures. A short video demonstrating the team member roles & duties distribution template can be found in the website section TEMPLATE DEMO/TUTORIAL VIDEOS.

Christine Timms is the author of three Handbooks for the Professional Financial Advisor including “Team Building for Financial Advisors” (available in paperback and ebook). This provides descriptions and testimonials, as well as written, audio versions of the introductions of each book and videos of tutorials for templates here.