Good leaders must know how to motivate their teams, making sure they are staffed by individuals with the experience, skills and wisdom to be personally fulfilled and successful in their roles.
The good leader must be observant, untiring, shrewd, kindly yet demanding, simple and crafty, a watchman and a robber, lavish and miserly, generous and stingy, rash and conservative. The leader must know his or her business and the strategies and tactics required to achieve the desired goals and outcomes for success.
Leaders’ relationships with their subordinate team members are critical for success. It is important for a leader to know each of their team members’ “characteristics”—which can be trusted with an independent mission, which must be held back and urged on, and which must be kept under a carefully perceptive eye and ear. Every individual is unique with their own gifts, experiences, fears and doubts; all wrapped up into what we might call their personal “DNA.”
No method of education, no system of promotion, no amount of common-sense ability is of value unless the leader has in him or her, the root of the matter – the determined “fighting spirit” to be successful, and the courage to always tell the truth. No business plan, no sales call, no client meeting, was ever ineffective or lost until the leader thought it was so.
Interview by Deborah Lazaroff
DL: What is your biggest challenge as a leader?
SS: My biggest challenge is to help people realize the necessity for change. This stage in our business’ lifecycle requires that we emphasize our business skills as much as our investment skills. We need to strike a balance between the two. That’s my primary leadership challenge.
DL: What are some of the actions you do as a leader to gain your team’s buy-in?
SS: It’s very simple, and it’s a key aspect of Bob Mobley’s philosophy, which is speaking to the benefits for each individual. This involves understanding the people who work for you, their business interests, and what they want to achieve in their careers – then helping them to understand what’s in it for them. To achieve our goals each of us has to realize that there is a reason to change, that we need to change and that it’s in our best interest to change.
DL: How has Bob’s coaching helped you and your team?
SS: Bob has helped us to establish a set of objectives and a game plan to identify the particular skills we each want to improve. He takes the time to get to know people and understand what each particular individual considers a win, and what he or she wants to improve. Bob understands that it’s not simply about our business objectives. It’s also about the personal objectives of each team member, and how these are an important part of obtaining the team’s objective.
DL: That’s something Bob teaches, because that’s how he sees life.
SS: Thanks to Bob, I can see that clear benefit through my own eyes and it feels like a personal epiphany. Realizing that helping others benefits our clients, our business, and each of us personally is striking.
In building this business, I was the driver, the player/coach. I like playing, but coaching is becoming even more satisfying. I sense the opportunity, and the competitiveness within me recognizes the challenge, but I also see the benefits and the virtues. That’s very different. It’s become much les about me, and much more about the team. That has truly been the epiphany.
DL: What would you say is the number one benefit Bob offers?
SS: What truly stands out is the time Bob takes to understand each of his clients. Bob listens and offers great ideas, and he does so in a way that makes it easy to recognize their inherent value. You’re never on the clock with Bob. He wants to get it right as badly as I do. Bob understands that it’s much more than the project, the job, the business transaction – it’s the investment in the relationship and a deep desire to get it right, to see genuine improvement.
Scott Spalding is an executive vice president for PIMCO, where he leads a team in developing PIMCO's asset management business among private banks and trust companies. He has been with PIMCO for eleven years. A former guard and co-captain of the UCLA football team, he is married and has three children. In his spare time he enjoys wrorking in his garden.