What you need to know:
Work Pressure: “Working under pressure makes us prone to errors. When not picked up in time, these errors can explode in your face,” says Sandra Nakaggwa, the branch customer service manager at Bank of Africa
What does the role of a bank teller entail besides sitting behind a counter?
Being a bank teller is traditionally known as receiving and issuing cash to customers. It is the oldest role in the history banking.
In the earlier years, a tellers’ job was specialised to only receiving and paying cash. Today, a teller is expected to have experience in various facets of banking; a bank teller must demonstrate a well-rounded understanding of the bank they work for. They are responsible for customer experience, build and maintain the bank’s customers and corporate brand image.
Today customers cannot afford to line up and later be bounced to the next teller point for a service.
How many years of experience do you have in this field and what virtues have you carried you over the years?
I joined banking in 2012, so that is 10 years of progressive experience from teller, customer service, head teller and now branch customer service manager.
Throughout these years, it has been all about integrity, patience, attitude and delivering on my key performance indicators under a rigorous and fast-paced environment.
How would you describe your leadership style?
Being part of branch leadership, especially a department that manages customers’ needs, keeps you on your feet all the time and you need to always be equipped with solutions. It is never an easy task; you must deal with several people, internal and external to the institution. I mean people with diverse cultural backgrounds. My leadership is transformational in the sense that it involves creating a valuable and positive change. I engage people’s minds and hearts towards a common goal in line with the institution’s wide strategy.
The bank is high-pressure environment, how have you mastered the art of working under pressure?
In life everyone encounters pressure, both in their personal and professional lives. Specifically in the workplace, this pressure often manifests itself in the form of tight deadlines, demands from your boss, employee performance issues, and other obstacles that get in the way of you doing the job.
For me to better manage this pressure, I have had to master and be aware of the environment I work in both external and internal. Additionally having the vision and strategic goals on top of the radar, communicating these goals to the team, having a workplan, holding Each other accountable on achieving the set objectives, tracking performance often and giving constructive feedback have helped a lot.
What do you think makes you efficient in your work?
Well, banking is a place where a lot is learnt on the job. At the human resources level as well as branch level, frequent trainings are held to equip and refresh teams on what is new on the market as well as critical aspects in banking that must keep one engaged. New procedures are always shared and implementation reviewed periodically through audits. As a branch customer service manager, I am tasked to ensure knowledge and compliance at branch level. Additionally, banking is arguably one of the most regulated industries in Uganda. With our supervisor being the central bank, there must be adherence to well-defined processes and procedures that guide in the efficient execution of duties.
What do you think should be done better at workplaces to motivate employees?
Constant review of staff propositions is a good first step. Every member in the workplace must have smart key performance indicators that gives them direction and focus to deliver on their performance. From the onset, the teams must know the overall objective and strategy of the bank to encourage buy-in since this motivates them to contribute to the bigger picture of the business.
Training staff and delegation of duties plays a great role in supporting them execute their individual tasks since they are equipped with knowledge and skills to get the work done. Also a good reward system has its place in driving teams to perform since they have something to look forward to at the end of the performance review.
What challenges do you encounter in your line of work and how do you resolve them?
Working under pressure comes with typical errors (schoolboy errors). When not picked up in time, these errors can explode in your face. To be able to manage this, I have to be diligent in reviewing all sorts of documents so as to pick up any issues and ensure quality control is in place.
I also must carry a positive attitude and be flexible since sometimes the team you are working with is inexperienced. Lastly, if it so happens that something has gone wrong, then I must swiftly come in to solve the problem in a timely manner.
If you had to change some things today in the bank teller department, what would that be and why?
The role of a banking officer/teller is quite tasking. What I would do is make it more attractive to those wishing to join the banking system. This would work best if the tellers felt that there was room to grow. There is a general feeling that when you join as a teller, you remain as one because growth opportunities are not easy to come by. I would also introduce quarterly rewards and recognition initiatives which would motivate the teller to keep at it. Often, rewards have only come at the end of the year staff party which happens just once a year.
What are your final remarks on managing pressure in the workplace?
As workers, you realise we spend most of the day at work. In other words, workplaces are our second homes. It is, therefore, important to manage the associated pressures by doing the following; self-composure, positive attitude, be open minded. You need to understand the business. Take time to have information about the products and services at your fingertips because once you attain detailed knowledge of what you are dealing with, tasks become a piece of cake.