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ABCs of Exceptional Leaders

Have you ever heard the quote, “people don’t leave bad jobs they leave bad bosses?” This quote was proven in Gallup’s comprehensive survey; they found that 50% of Americans have left a job to “get away from their manager at some point in their career.” Today retaining top employees ranks as one of the top three issues CPA firms have. No one wants to be known as a “bad” boss, but what are some things you can do to help you become a leader in your firm. Here is a quick ABC strategy.


Accept responsibility

As a leader, if something goes wrong with your team, you are the one who is ultimately responsible. This task is harder to implement than it sounds. When I was a young staffer at KMPG, I put the wrong address on original documentation and sent it out to the wrong client. I was in tears because this was a huge deal. My manager called the client, and instead of blaming me, she took 100% of the blame. I asked her why. She said you are my team; anything that happens on with my team is ultimately my responsibility. If we are mailing out wrong documentation maybe, we need a better process. Knowing that my boss had my back made me not only respect her but work hard always to make sure our team looked good. As a leader, this has not always been the most natural path to follow, but ultimately, it’s my team and my responsibility.


Belief in your people

If you don’t believe in your people and your goals, neither will your team. A great example of how vital belief is was a Harvard study where teachers were told specific kids in their classes were designated as unique and will have “dramatic” growth in IQ. During the next two years, these kids were followed, and these random kids all had a dramatic increase in IQ. Why? Teachers had high expectations, more touchpoints, more feedback, and approval. When we believe we have the right team and believe in our team, we will gain a so-called “mental telepathy.” If we don’t think we have the right team and think we have inherited bad employees most likely the way we treat them, our attitude and body language will not motivate them to work to their full potential.


Challenge your team

Another reason people leave jobs is they feel unfilled at their job. Challenge your team to develop new skills and work on a new task. At Facebook, they don’t wait until an exit interview to find out what people enjoy or other skills they may have. They do an “entry” interview to determine what additional skills and tasks employees may have an interest in. Allowing employees to take on new duties will help your team grow and find new challenges in their work. If you have someone who enjoys presentations, let them run the 2019 tax update for the group this year.


Moving forward, try some new leadership techniques.  The ABCs are three quick strategies you can implement before the busy season starts.   Leaders are not born they are developed.  The Sales Seed launched a brand new learning experience for current and aspiring leaders in 2021.  Learn more here:

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