A branch manager is an executive who is in charge of a particular location, or branch office, of a bank or other financial services company. Branch managers are typically responsible for all of the functions of that branch office, including hiring employees, overseeing the approval of loans and lines of credit (LOC), marketing, building a rapport with the community to attract business, assisting with customer relations, and ensuring that the branch meets its goals and objectives in a timely manner.
A branch manager is an employee who oversees the operations of a branch of a bank or financial institution.
Branch manager’s responsibilities include managing resources and staff, developing and attaining sales goals, delivering exceptional customer service, and growing the location’s revenues.
In prospective branch managers, employers look for someone with experience, proven success, and leadership skills.
Academically, branch managers typically have undergraduate degrees in finance, accounting, or related fields of study.
Understanding Branch Managers
A financial institution’s executives place great confidence in the company’s branch managers, expecting them to run their locations as their own businesses. A branch manager’s job description includes assuming responsibility for virtually all functions of their branch—including growing that location’s customer base and elevating the community’s perception of the company’s brand.
Branch managers also have the responsibility of delegating tasks to skilled workers and are responsible for their successes and failures. In fact, the branch manager is responsible for the success or failure of the branch they manage. Excellent multitasking and organization skills are necessary to accomplish tasks in a timely and efficient manner, not only for the branch manager but also for the people they manage. The branch manager will also oversee the performance of subsidiaries, such as bank tellers, loan officers, and back-office workers.
Requirements for Branch Managers
Because branch managers’ responsibilities include developing and maintaining good relationships with customers and employees, they should possess strong sales, people-management, and customer-service skills. Other attributes required of a branch manager are diligence, strong analytical skills, and the ability to prioritize, multitask, and focus on detail.
Branch managers are expected to be proactive about networking to bring in new business and increase revenue. A new branch manager might join the local chamber of commerce and attend business and networking events, where one often can meet influential community members. For example, a branch manager might meet a local hospital administrator and work out a deal to provide the branch’s services to the hospital’s employees.
Branch Manager Qualifications
Branch managers usually have undergraduate degrees in finance, accounting, or related fields. Some financial institutions will look at a branch manager job candidate with a non-finance-related bachelor’s degree as long as they have a master’s degree in a finance-related field.
Financial institutions hiring for branch manager positions look for candidates with both prior financial experience and proven leadership experience. They also seek candidates with a track record of increasing the number of a bank’s accounts, and hiring banks expect branch managers to be deeply knowledgeable about banking-industry regulations. Once hired, branch managers have the freedom to choose their teams, but they also must be able to ensure their teams’ success.
Jurgen Appelo is a software engineer, trainer, entrepreneur, author, speaker and traveler, who has been driving agility in companies. One of his works, “ Management 3.0 ” , condenses a team management methodology so that they can survive amid chaos and fragility.
This model, based on Edgar Morin’s so-called complexity theory, is based on the notion that a system – a company, a government, a project – is not feasible to analyze as a mere sum of its component parts; rather, it is the relationships and interactions that give it meaning and momentum. To graph this, imagine a network, with interlocking threads connecting each component. These threads are the facts, actions, decisions, and interactions that make up the world.
That is why management has been seen for several years as a system of networks and people, of dynamic relationships, and not only about areas or departments, profits and processes. It is a living system, not machines that systematically replicate the same result.
Principles for energizing and developing talent
In its 3.0 model, Appelo shares several principles that serve to support the work of leaders and teams in today’s changing world. Here are some of them:
1. Energize people
To achieve this, it is necessary to know what it is that motivates them and that is part of their life purpose: the more consistent it is with the purpose of the organization, there will be a greater individual commitment and team cooperation. For the psychologist and professor Edward Deci, there are two types of motivations:
Extrinsic: stimuli that are provided from outside the person (for example, a performance bonus, constant congratulations from the leader, etc.).
Intrinsic: those stimuli that are internal and relevant to the person, even when it is not their primary goal (for example, a project in charge). However, if you find a meaning, a why in what you do, you connect better and there is your own reward.
Author Daniel Pink offers a similar look at intrinsic motivation in his book “Drive”, where he affirms that most people are moved more by this type of impulse than by extrinsic. In other words, in the end and in essence, people care more about satisfaction than external rewards, although they should not be lacking, and he explains that there are three factors that new management leaders need to take into account to boost talent: mastery -the desire of each one to be better in what is important to him-, autonomy -the impulse to guide his own life-; let me mention self-leadership-; and purpose – intention to serve something greater than ourselves.
2. Empower teams
To achieve this, the author of Management 3.0 points out that it is entirely possible for each team to organize itself, if it has the confidence of the leaders.
At this point, it is essential that those who lead people focus on doing their job and not on micro-management and that teams participate in collective decisions on relevant issues. In addition, it is necessary for everyone to understand that they are part of a joint system, and not the mere sum of individualities, and that the knowledge of market needs is not in the hands of a single person, but that there is a broader perspective of their needs.
To empower, there are four lines of action that are strategic to generate relationships of trust:
Let the leader trust his team.
Let the team trust their leader.
Let team members trust each other.
Let the leader trust himself.
3. Development of skills
We already know that it is difficult for any company to achieve results if its members are not trained; and the leaders are responsible for enabling the conditions for this process to take place. Some ways are:
Leading by example: living what is preached.
Promote self-learning: appreciate personal maturing time.
Coaching and mentoring: as transversal support and support tools throughout the organization.
Training and certification: to raise standards against the competition.
Collaborative learning: internal development, where everyone learns from each other.
Learning from error: doing retrospectives and tests in controlled environments.
Measure the results: feedback in the shortest possible cycles; use of keeping metrics on information radiators; indicators agreed between those who participate.
Smaller teams: the author recommends no more than 10 to 12 people.
4. Improve everything and observe the team environment
It is key in the management 3.0 model to focus on real continuous improvement, for which it is necessary to facilitate change processes and model the natural resistance that may appear.
Some suggestions for leaders are to observe the team environment, what they need, and let it be known that you are available; find cracks or faults and go to their roots to promote solutions that the team implements; define clear and specific goals and have great communication skills, a key factor of every good manager.
Many teams use Mind Maps to explore certain topics. Similarly you can use Personal Maps to explore your team itself. Personal Maps facilitate team collaboration and bonding in a rather distant world. With this video, you will learn how to use Personal Maps to break down the barriers of cubicles and longer distances, and then you may even learn how silly you were when you thought you had nothing in common! Here you can learn more about this Management 3.0 Workout: https://management30.com/product/work… Here’s a trick, instead of presenting your own, spark conversations by presenting each other! What are you waiting for? Try this 7-minute exercise out and tell us below how it went!
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Many organizations have been trying to shift from a model of authoritarian leadership to a model of worker empowerment. As firms are finding out, that transition is not an easy one to make. It requires new behaviors and new ways of thinking for both executives and employees.
The expansion of remote work during the pandemic only exacerbates the problem. Managers are tasked with ensuring flawless execution but are now physically less connected to their teams – and in-person, face-to-face time matters tremendously in relationships.
What is Empowerment?
Oftentimes, empowerment is misunderstood. It can be interpreted to mean that managers and leaders take a hands-off approach, effectively telling employees to sink or swim. That’s more like neglect. Empowerment is an active process. It involves coaching or teaching team members to self-serve, to become adaptive, to make decisions, and to use less of their managers’ time on things that really don’t require their managers’ attention.
Without training or guidance on how to empower, however, managers often simply stop providing direction and let employees figure out issues themselves. The problem: This rarely works. If employees don’t fundamentally believe that they should change and have clarity on what it is they are supposed to change, they can’t. Telling employees to figure it out on their may only slow down the learning and performance process – because employees aren’t necessarily learning.
The “neglect” approach creates a feedback loop that is very difficult to break. Employees who don’t know what to do may ask for help. But when they don’t get a clear, direct answer (like they are used to) they simply resort to past behavior. It’s a proven path that reflects a fear-based response; that is the opposite of empowerment.
Empowering employees means asking good, meaty questions that prompt them to think through the problem. For example, rather than saying: “The sales team needs to boost their numbers,” ask them and their leadership, “How can your team help increase sales by 3% in the next three-to-six months?” In this way, managers and leaders have a very different role: helping to define and shape the problem, so that a team is empowered to develop a solution. The destination is agreed upon, but the path to get there has yet to be paved. (The more tangible and measurable the goal, the more likely it will be achieved.)
Empowerment Presents a Challenge for Managers
Becoming empowered requires a mental shift for many people – leader, manager and employee. According to an ongoing set of surveys by Gallup since 2000, only 30% of employees, on average, are considered “engaged” in their work. As Gallup defines it, “engaged” means ”highly involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work and workplace.” That number has been increasing in recent years to 35% in 2019, but the pandemic is expected to have a significant impact – and likely not for the better.
Using pre-pandemic numbers, Gallup also found that, over the same 20-year period, an average of 17% of employees are “actively disengaged,” which means they have very negative experiences at work and often spread that unhappiness and negativity to others. While that number has been dropping as well — it fell to 13% in 2019 — it still means that at least 1 in 10 of your employees is pulling down the ship. They don’t want to work, let alone be empowered and have to make decisions.
The remaining 50-60% (52% in 2019) are considered “not engaged.” These employees, according to Gallup’s definition, “are psychologically unattached to their work and company” and “put time, but not energy or passion, into their work. Not engaged employees will usually show up to work and contribute the minimum required.” That doesn’t exactly scream empowerment. They sound more like clock watchers.
Taken together, on average over the past 20 years, 70% of employees (65% in 2019), don’t want to be empowered – they barely want to work. That is a massive motivational challenge.
Engaging The Disengaged
Research has shown that motivational issues fall into one of three categories:
(1) performance, or the ability to master one’s responsibilities,
(2) organizational fit, or whether or not one feels accepted by their colleagues and able to contribute fully, and
(3) self-image, or what gives us a sense of gratification and self-worth.
The two-thirds of employees who are not engaged may be struggling with one or more of these issues.
Take Lisa, an operations processor. For the most part, her role is routine. A work order comes in, then she checks to make sure everything is filled out properly and that she has clear instructions to follow. If so, she performs the routine. If not, she sends it back, noting an error. It’s a straightforward process, much of which likely could be automated. But, because it is somewhat mindless, errors are not infrequent. Many layers of processes have been added to prevent mistakes from the past from happening again, so Lisa really has nothing to be empowered to do – unless her role changes or expands. In effect, Lisa’s managers are signaling to her (and colleagues like her) that she is not worth investing in – even though that is likely not their intent.
Lisa may be bored, feeling unable to live up to her potential through her limited role and exposure. She may not feel like she belongs in the organization or has been accepted by her colleagues, so she tries to make it through the day before going home to family and friends. She could be struggling with her self-image: If the work she does isn’t challenging or important, is she?
Without asking questions of Lisa and trying to understand her motivational issues, managers and leaders are likely to write her off, not recognizing the role they play when they design the work. As executives, we make up our own stories about the people who seem to struggle. They are lazy. They don’t get it. They don’t want to work. We rarely spend the time to help them uncover what they truly are struggling with. What manager is ever given that much time to devote to individual tutoring?
Empowering the two-thirds or so of employees who don’t really want to be empowered means getting to know what motivates them, what makes them tick, and using that to turn them into engaged employees. It’s an excruciatingly tough battle every day in the trenches — until the missing pieces fall into place for that associate. Once they do, you’ve helped that employee become adaptive for life. And your job managing them just became a whole lot easier.
As CEO of Magpie Insights, I help organizations develop strategies that are rooted in the capabilities of their people, improving the likelihood of successful change and execution. The results: higher profits, improved organizational efficiency, and greater employee engagement and retention. As a coach, I help executives become more empathetic managers and improve their adaptability and resilience as leaders. Prior to developing the Magpie approach to empathetic management, I spent nearly 20 years as a management and strategy consultant, entrepreneur, and financial services executive, while studying motivation through the lenses of psychology, neuroscience, evolutionary biology, behavioral economics, leadership and negotiations.
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