Soft Skills Spotlight: Leadership

No matter your job title, good leadership skills are a must-have for accounting and finance professionals today. Good leaders inspire. They motivate employees and coworkers to achieve better results. They delegate effectively and communicate clearly.

While some people seem to be natural leaders, it’s also possible to develop these skills. Add leadership abilities to your career toolbox with the following tips:

Know Yourself

Take stock of your strengths and weaknesses. Analyze where you can improve and what you’re already doing well. Ask for help and feedback from trusted colleagues and professional contacts to do this. Personality tests like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and the Keirsey Temperament Sorter can also offer insights into how you work, think and lead.

Next, pinpoint what leadership style best suits you. Some leaders are like coaches. They are patient and like to mentor and teach, but they may take too long to make decisions. Other leaders like to challenge their employees. They set high standards and push hard to achieve them, but they may not be particularly empathetic. Know your leadership style, and work on improving your weak spots.

Seek Role Models

Observe how others lead. Think about people whom you respect with good leadership skills. It could be a manager you admire in your company or a contact you know through a professional association. What distinguishes that person from other leaders? How do they handle challenges, communicate and manage teams? If you have the opportunity, shadow a leader in your organization.

Keep Your Eyes and Ears Open

Good communication is a vital soft skill for accounting and finance professionals. That means knowing how to listen as well as speak. Pay attention to what people are telling you, verbally and nonverbally. Work to improve your writing skills too. It’ll enhance your ability to share insights and engage others. Being able to see the “big picture” — and communicate it effectively— will be an invaluable asset throughout your career.

Practice Makes Perfect

Good leaders know professional and personal growth has no finish line. You don’t have to wait until you are a leader to act like one. An easy way to act like a leader? Reach out to others and tactfully share your know-how and expertise. Listen to coworkers and help inspire them to action.

You can also volunteer for a leadership role in an industry association. You’ll learn new things and show your commitment to the industry.

How do you improve your leadership skills? Let us know in the comment section below.

Related post: Take a Page Out of The Apprentice’s Playbook: Tips For Finding and Developing Future Leaders