You could write a book about business leadership. In fact many, many people have; enough to fill a library I am sure. It is an elusive thing to nail down and discuss. To do so, like many other things in life, I believe you have to experience it properly, including all the ups, downs, bumps and cheers. My experience will be different to someone else’s but, as we are assured in all the management/leadership books, there are some common themes that come through time and again. I have read books, attended conferences and seminars and spoken to many people in business leadership but I would like to share the main things that have impacted me over the years.
- Leadership can be exhilarating. It can also be lonely.
I hear this time and again when talking to clients and associates who run their own small and family owned business. Having someone to talk to, explore ideas with and act as a mentor or encourager is really important. Most of the issues we experience, albeit with their own nuances and complications, are not new and a wise counsel can help with vision and perspective.
- Leadership should inspire others to follow you.
John Maxwell, author of the 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, asks the question – are you really leading or are you just taking a walk? Every leader needs to turn around sometimes and see who is following. To inspire others, you need a clear vision of where you are heading and the ability to communicate this to those you are leading.
- Leadership puts you in the spotlight
When you are leading, you need to lead by example. Importantly, you have to live what you preach otherwise you will undermine your message and your integrity.
- Leadership is different from management
Managing people, projects and tasks is very different from leadership. Some people are excellent managers but they are not leaders. Some great leaders are terrible managers. And then again, some people are both great leaders and great managers. But be aware, leadership and management are very different.
- Leadership makes a difference
Your team is looking for leadership. You will make a difference in their lives one way or the other. You can inspire them, frustrate them, bore them or just lose them.
- Leadership is about people
Leadership is about others, it is not about you! It requires respect of and understanding of those you are leading, and a belief that together, you can achieve great things. It is about teamwork.
Beyond the numbers
So what does this have to do with accountants; how can we help with business leadership?
We firmly believe in the potential of every business person as a leader. Our role as a trusted advisor is to encourage our clients to be more effective in their business – that means they can and must become more effective leaders. We love to assist our clients in all areas of business, not just with tax, financial statements, auditing, super and financial planning but in building better businesses and running better organisations.
We value the opportunity to get beside our clients as a trusted advisor who understands the diverse issues of business including leadership, helping in many ways:
- Acting as a sounding board; being the person to bounce an idea off or to turn to for wisdom and insight.
- Assisting with the development of business strategies so that you can have a clear vision and direction that will inspire your team
- Providing an outsiders’ view of what is happening inside your business, coaching and encouraging you to focus on the things that will make a difference
- Assisting with good governance, systems and processes which are essential for successful businesses.
General Colin Powell, former US Secretary of State, gives a good piece of advice, “Leadership is solving problems. The day people stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help or concluded you do not care.” We look forward to the opportunity of encouraging and helping our clients to be more effective leaders.