4 Overlooked Ways to Build a Rockstar Team

Your lifestyle practice depends on having a Rockstar staff who can manage the office while you’re away. Here are four of Micah’s favorite ways to support his team.

5 min read

Micah Shilanski
Micah Shilanski
Financial Planner, CFP®

If I leave the office and then come back to find a mess—nothing got done—is it because I don’t have a Rockstar or because I suck as a leader?

How do you ensure your practice doesn’t go up in flames while you’re away for a week or even six weeks?

Matthew Jarvis and I have been on trips where we’re entirely unplugged and unreachable—so far detached from the grid that you’d have better success contacting us with a carrier pigeon than a cell phone.

While we’re gone, our teams hold down the fort and keep our practices humming along without disruptions. Our teams work so well without us because we’ve empowered them to work independently.

You can’t build a lifestyle practice without solid, Rockstar support from your staff. Here are some methods I use to enable my team to be their best—regardless of whether I’m in or out of the office.

Build Trust

If you’re going to be gone for weeks at a time, you need to be able to trust your team. If you have a trust issue with a team member, you must sort that out.

If you don’t take care of trust issues, they’ll fester and become toxic.

Either that team member needs to go, or you need to get in there and dig into those details to bring that trust level back up. Remember that everyone on your team will be picking up on this—they’re watching you and how you handle this situation.

Create a system for success by establishing an evaluation system. Your team needs to know their success level, and you must be able to grade them consistently. Having a system in place will help them understand where they stand and give them direction for improvements.

You can’t be irrational in your evaluation system. Remember, your team needs to be able to trust you too. If your team can’t tell where you’re leading them or how you’re teaching them, they won’t be able to follow you.

You can build more trust with your team by being consistent. Be clear with the rules and how you’ll enforce them—and don’t forget to follow through. This doesn’t mean you must be heavy-handed; be loving but firm.

Embrace your team’s perspectives

Your team doesn’t think like you—that’s a good thing! If everyone on my staff thought as I did, my practice would implode. For my practice to run its best, I must embrace the different strengths, abilities, and perspectives that my team members bring to the table.

As a leader, you must respect that your team won’t solve or approach a problem as you would. Before you get frustrated, pay attention to your team member’s different solutions—you may learn something you didn’t know before or gain new insight from their different life experience.

When team members come to you with a puzzle they can’t crack, help them further hone their skills by guiding them to the correct answer instead of just giving them the solution. Doing so will enable them to figure out similar problems on their own in the future instead of always relying on you.

Empower your team

Don’t plant ticking-time bombs for your team to discover while you’re on vacation. Resolve any outstanding issues–if possible, before you leave.

And if you miss something, or there’s an emergency while you’re away, have a plan for extreme scenarios—no matter how unlikely—so that your team has something to fall back on if something were to go horribly wrong.

Establish checklists that everyone can follow, not only through their usual routine but also in an emergency. Think of these checklists as “get out of jail free” cards. Instill in your team that hell won’t rain down upon them as long as they follow these steps.

You can relieve a lot of fear and stress for your team if they know they won’t be in trouble if something goes amiss despite sticking to the process.

If the process fails—you need to reevaluate that process, not chew out your team member.

Have a communication policy so your team knows who they can contact when problems arise—and don’t be an easy button!

Here’s what I mean:

You don’t want to be out of the office and fielding false emergencies all day—you need to be unplugged. If you’re new to being away, someone on your team will break communications protocol and think, “Oh, I’ll just call Micah real quick,” instead of using the process and systems in place.

When that happens, let the phone ring and go to voicemail. I know it can be unsettling at first, but you’ve got to remind yourself that you have processes in place that you need to trust.

If you break that process by answering the phone, your team member won’t develop the problem-solving skills they need to be a rockstar, and you’ll become the “easy button” they can hit every time they start to feel a little uncomfortable.

When you answer your phone for minor problems, you will stunt your team member’s growth and your own.

You’ve got to unplug for everyone’s benefit.

Invest in your team

Don’t hesitate to invest in your team—the ROI is astounding! By genuinely caring about your team as people and professionals, you help them reach the next level.

You can invest in your team in meaningful ways beyond a mug with your logo or a big holiday party. Consider these ideas that will not only help your team develop as professionals but as people:

  • Create career paths for everyone on the team and set aside a professional development budget (you should help them pick how and where to spend the money).
  • Encourage your team members to get a coach.
  • Pay them enough—whatever that might be. You want your people to earn enough so they can grow and flourish.
  • Invest in them to be better people: how are you setting them up to be a leader, and what skills do they need to do a great job?
  • Help them with their financial planning—you’ve got the skills to help them get ahead, and by planning for them like you would a client, they’ll be able to understand your business from the client’s perspective.
  • Let them hear from other Rockstar advisor teams at our Members Only Webinar on September 21, 2022.

Action Items

If you have established a communication protocol, give your team more room to grow—unplug completely while out of the office for a day or even a week.

Create a plan for investing in your team—not only will you win as a business owner, but you’ll also win on the human side.

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