Financial experts and leaders often accumulate a wealth of knowledge and experience, some of which they’ve received as career advice that has been instrumental in their success. From the importance of continuous learning to the significance of building relationships and taking calculated risks, these bits of career advice offer valuable guidance for both aspiring and established financial professionals looking to excel in their roles and navigate the complexities of the financial industry.
Below, Forbes Finance Council members share the collective wisdom they’ve received as accomplished financial professionals and leaders to uncover the best career advice they’ve ever received.
1. Empower, Don’t Micromanage
Empower your team to be the absolute best they can be and don’t be a micromanager. Coach your team towards their career path even if it is not with the current company. Delegate to show that you trust your team to take charge and be great leaders. Be empathetic, fair and equitable in decisions made and build a strong network of diverse but aligned thought processes to broaden what you know. – Nike Ajao, Spitfire Strategies
2. Keep Your Customers And Your Boss In Mind
3. Be Transparent About Your Faults
Speak up about what your faults are. We’re all familiar with tech debt, but what about management debt? We need to remember that we’re human beings and so are the people around us. It’s therefore important to speak up, share, listen and talk about our disagreements and frustrations. Given the choice, we’d sooner know the challenges we face and learn from them than rely on guesswork. – Niccolo Perra, Pleo
4. Don’t Avoid Making Mistakes
Making mistakes is part of doing any job well. Don’t avoid making mistakes, but understand why mistakes happen and incorporate that wisdom to become a better employee. – Gale Simons-Poole, BHG Financial
5. Just Keep Going
Keep going, control what you can control and keep going. You complete big goals by taking one step or task at a time and keep moving forward. Try not to allow the outside noise that you have no control over to keep you from moving forward. – Zachary W. Herzog, Wolfgang Capital LLC
6. Take A Step Outside The Box
Too often, we get stuck doing the status quo because we know that it works. I think it’s great to hop out of the box every once in a while and try something different with an open mind. – Jody Grunden, Summit CPA Group
7. ‘Get Back Up Twice’
The best career advice I received was, “When you get knocked down once, you get back up twice. It doesn’t make sense until you do it.” And it didn’t make sense to me until it happened. You learn that the first time you get back up is when you learn why you got knocked down. The second time you get back up is when you learn from the issue and don’t make it again – Frankie DiAntonio, Lexington Capital Holdings
8. Focus On Making A Difference
At all stages of your career, it is more important to make a difference than it is to make a point. While it may be easier to point out how others should have done things differently when something goes wrong, real change comes from investing time in solving the root of the problem and engaging in creative solutions with your team. – Luz Urrutia, Accion Opportunity Fund
9. Don’t Be Ashamed Of Failing
It was around this period that I went bankrupt—and several of my friends left, that my parents urged me to get back up and keep pursuing my dream, and to never let anything stand in the way of my success. There is always hope, and our mistakes and failures help us grow as people, so I should never be ashamed of failing. – Neil Anders, Trusted Rate, Inc.
10. Use Other People’s Criticism As Motivation
It goes back to my days as a gymnast and reading a quote by George Bernard Shaw that hung on the wall that said, “People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.” When it comes to leading teams and businesses; it’s always easy to point out the things that are wrong, but using that to fuel innovation and see better ways to do things, that’s where the magic happens. – Fiona Roach Canning, Pollinate
11. Remember To Treat Others With Respect
Be kind. We can easily forget in the motions of business, negotiations and trades that we are dealing with real human beings. Consider how you treat others and remember at the core of this field you are working with people and their livelihoods. – Guadalupe Rodriguez, Talipot Holding
12. Don’t Stop Learning
Never stop learning—it’s a continuous process. The financial industry is dynamic and ever-evolving, with new technologies, regulations and market trends constantly emerging. To excel in this field, it’s crucial to stay updated, expand your knowledge and adapt to change. Continuously seek opportunities for professional development, whether through formal education, certifications or self-directed learning. – Pankaj Vasani, Cube Highways InvIT
13. Don’t Let Your Skillset Become Stagnant
The set of skills that mostly contributed to your career advancement so far might not be the set of skills needed to bring you further. Thus one needs to continue learning, developing and sometimes even reinventing oneself to remain relevant and be in the lead. – Vlad Spiridon, Novartis
14. Choose To Do Something You Are Passionate About
Do what you love to do! Career success is closely tied to passion. Identify your true passion, immerse yourself in it and set clear goals aligned with your interests. Embrace challenges as opportunities for growth, build a network of like-minded individuals and be open to taking calculated risks. Hard work, persistence and a willingness to learn from failure are crucial. – Xingyu Yang, T&J Brothers Group LLC
15. Never Stop Learning Or Adapting
The best career advice I’ve ever received as a financial professional and leader is to never stop learning and adapting. In the ever-evolving world of finance, staying up-to-date with the latest trends, technologies and regulations is essential. – Jared Weitz, United Capital Source Inc.
16. Help Everyone
Be responsive and help people from all over your company. I used this strategy to earn trust and rise in my career. In finance and accounting, we need the trust of people to do our jobs, and those same people often need information from us to do their jobs. There is strength in being kind. – Dave Sackett, AIOne, Inc.
17. Be Consistent
18. Understand All Aspects Of Your Company
Know what the company does and how each of its products and services makes money. This will then translate into meaningful metrics and analysis and orient your thinking to what matters economically and business-wise for the company. The true way to be strategic and add value is to understand the company and its place in the market, not how to make its internal processes more efficient. – Aaron Spool, Eventus Advisory Group, LLC
19. Create A Strong Foundation
A strong foundation is what keeps your business healthy. My team is my most valuable asset, and as a remote-first business leader, I prioritize nurturing an environment where our team can learn, speak up and propel their professional growth to feel confident in taking on challenges in a virtual environment. You have to invest in the team you have and allow them to become more. – Nick Chandi, Forwardly
20. Manage Your Stress
Stress will be ever-present and we must learn to manage it. Stress, tumult and adversity are part of the game when you’re a leader. Learning to manage stress and to perform calmly, even when under great pressure, is what differentiates leaders from others. Good leaders sail the same ocean as everyone else. But they make it look like a smooth harbor instead of rough seas. – Todd Sixt, Strait & Sound Wealth Management LLC