Building your trading team

Sep 18th, 2016 | By | Category: General Comments
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Performance isn’t exclusively about skill and strategy.  In fact, one top coach leaves all of this out of his top three keys to building a team. This is interesting to us as traders, as some of us trade in teams or something like teams, for improved performance.

Team Trading is part III of our training for new traders on our desk.  Team trading is present at Hedge Funds and institutional desks but uncommon at prop firms.  Most prop firms employ the mentor/coach infrastructure, with some more successful than others.

I am not here to argue which is better, just that we have settled on Team Trading, with great appreciation to Dr. Steenbarger for his help here.  And this is a young shift by us, without many years of data.  But in general we want to offer an infrastructure that allows junior traders to learn from our best traders, while ensuring our best traders can focus on what they do best- trade.

So what goes into developing the best teams?  You might start with the conclusion of innovative strategies, amazing skill, exceptional talent, endless effort, and outsized confidence to win.  Interestingly, in a recent interview with Coach Billy Donovan, he offered three keys to great teams that does not mention any of that.

For those who trade in a cluster/chat room as retail traders online, this video can help you build a better team.  For those who sit on teams at trading desks, Coach Donovan’s ideas may give you a new focus for improvement.  For those who do not trade in teams, this video might inspire you to do so.

Coach Donovan’s 3 keys to building a team are:

1) Love

2) Caring

3) Acceptance

Accept that that Junior Trader will struggle at the start and take time to become good.  Accept that that Senior Trader will not have time to explain exactly what he is doing at all times in real-time.

Care about the traders you teach.  I caught one of our newest traders use language in a monthly review that gave me concern about his emotion health.  I checked his temperature behind closed doors about that language.  It turned out he was just venting in a written review and fine emotionally.  Why would anyone listen to you if you do not care?  Make yourself available via chat or email at all hours of the day.  Dr. Steenbarger proposes the idea of adopting people to make significant connections and improve happiness.  Care that your Senior Trader is in a drawdown and may need a break from your questions during a trading session.

I will leave how you define love to you.  I would and have used the word admire here.  As a partner, you come to admire your best traders.  Team leaders will come to admire their best teammates.

It is unworkable to be a good teacher, absent caring.  It is difficult to be a good team, without caring.  It is impossible to be a good team member, without caring about your teammates.  Performance, says Coach Donovan, depends on this.  Traders must perform.

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