Are You a Leader? Honing The Skills that You Need to Succeed in Accounting
Accountants aren’t generally thought of as natural leaders, but Lewis Daidone argues that strong leadership skills are essential to a successful accounting career.
What makes a great leader? Opinions differ—many believe charisma or charm is crucial to leadership; others think confidence and authenticity are the most important qualities. Whichever components ultimately form the building blocks of your particular leadership style, it is incredibly important to communicate, in words and actions, your ability to effectively lead, manage and take control whenever the situation demands it. Here are three ways you can convince your audience, interviewers, and team members that you have the skills to provide firm and valuable direction, even in the most difficult circumstances.
Look the Part
Whether it’s fair or not, humans are heavily influenced by perception. The way you carry yourself when you enter a room can convince an audience of your capabilities, even if you haven’t said a word. While having a clean and professional appearance is important, the way you walk, gesture, and make eye contact can positively or negatively influence those around you. If you aren’t confident in your ability to present yourself or command a room, it could be helpful to spend a session with a career coach.
Speak with Confidence
Have you heard yourself speak? If not, have a friend record you the next time you have a conversation so you can listen to the way you communicate. Is your voice tentative? Do you pepper your phrases with “like”, “ummm”, and “kind of”? These are little tics that diminish the authority of your message, and tell the listener that you aren’t entirely confident of the message that you are trying to convey.
Write with Style
When you communicate through email or text message, craft your words carefully. This is especially important for accountants when they have to communicate concepts that might be unfamiliar to clients or colleagues in different parts of the organization. Make sure your written communications are easily understood, concise, and to the point.
While leadership comes naturally to some people, with some practice and a little effort most people can improve their leadership skills and their opportunities for promotion and advancement.
Lewis Daidone is a Certified Public Accountant and a consultant to tech companies and financial services firms.