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KPMG's Greg Limb explains the importance of building a legacy as a leader

26/02/2018 Will Sidery

Private wealth practitioners in leadership roles should endeavour to leave a legacy in place for successors to build on when they hand over the reins, KPMG’s Greg Limb told an audience of young professionals in London at the sixth eprivateclient Leadership Seminar in London last week (22/02/2018).

Mr Limb – who is in charge of KPMG’s UK private client team which comprises around 200 staff in 11 offices and who also chairs the firm’s international private client network – said that leaders must “build a legacy” and “build something different” when in charge whilst at the same time building “the firm’s legacy into your leadership.”

For Mr Limb, the start of his leadership path was in KPMG’s Leeds office in the early-2000s when he was promoted to a senior manager position in charge of a team of around 45 who ranged from graduates to older more experienced colleagues.

In charge of the day to day running of the department, Mr Limb said that he quickly realised that you have to change your personality and persona and “develop a thick skin” as a leader as people who may also have coveted the role may resent you but that it was important to realise that you cannot always be universally liked as a leader.

“Sometimes you have to do things you do not like and upset people that you do like if it is the right thing for the team,” he explained.

Mr Limb said that the role was good grounding in leadership and enabled him to “cut his teeth as a leader” and develop his own leadership style.

He went on to say that employees working within in a large organisation such as KPMG were already leaders to an extent as there are always people looking up to you and these experiences help in transitioning to official leadership roles.

Mr Limb said these experiences had helped him in his current role which he has held since September 2016 and in the subsequent time to now time has had to “develop ‘steel’, think hard about tough decisions and learn to say no.”

“There are challenges that sit within the role but you have got to be your own person and be true to yourself,” he added.

Mr Limb said that when in a senior role it can be lonely “as more often than not the buck stops with you” so it was important to have people around that you can talk to and having that support should not change when in a senior role.

He said having a confidant or mentor to bounce ideas off was invaluable and that being open and talking to other people can be “amazing as it allows you to declutter your thinking.”

Having this support structure around also helps prevent a leader becoming “an isolationist” and that it helped talking to other leaders outside of your own profession, be it those in leadership at private banks or law firms for example, Mr Limb explained, adding that it can be “fascinating” talking about the issues facing them and that these other insights are a great way to develop different skills.

Mr Limb said that when looking for leadership role-models, you should not look up to just one person. Instead, future leaders should aim for “a blend of the good you see in leaders and eradicate the bad elements you see - take inspiration from leaders, but do not copy one leader.”

The sixth eprivateclient Leadership Insight Seminar was sponsored by Ruffer LLP and hosted at the London office of Wedlake Bell on 22/02/2018.

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