How often do you challenge your personal leadership skills? Why is this important to your organization? Surveys have shown that great leadership is an invaluable tool in retaining top talent.

What is Leadership?

Leadership involves motivating a group of people to pursue a common goal, or to accomplish a shared task. We frequently think about the coaches of sports teams, the successful ones certainly ‘check the box’ for motivating their teams to win, but in most businesses, it has to go deeper. Being a good leader means that you not only have to ‘talk the talk’, but you’ve got to ‘walk the walk’.

Where does it begin?

Your answer should be, ‘It starts here, with me!” Regardless of your specific industry, serving any contract, and having hopes of renewing the contract, means building your team at all levels. Treat your employees and team members as you’d like to be treated. 

Be willing to mentor, take a personal interest in your team members’ careers and help them reach their goals. Try to remember some of the most influential mentors in your life. It could’ve been a parent, uncle, teacher, or a coach, but they demonstrated a true interest in you and your development as a person. They may have intended to motivate you for an initial goal, but their impact extended farther. 

Communication is Critical

How do you communicate with your employees or team members? Is it by phone, email, or the old fashion way, looking them in the eye and speaking? It is not only important to establish the correct channel for communication, but also to establish the right frequency. To be effective, communication should be honest and regular, the more predictable, the better for everyone.

Communication means ‘listening’, I was raised as an only child, and believe me, listening didn’t come easy to me. I’ve continued to work on that skillset my entire career. Not only must you listen, you must be an ‘active listener,’ where you demonstrate concern. There is no better way to prove you are listening than to paraphrase their discussion points, showing that you understand, and delivering nonverbal cues, like nodding your head and maintain good eye contact. Ask open-ended questions, and you’ll be surprised at the impact on the individual who is speaking to you. Learn to read the body language of your team members and you’ll be much more successful in motivating them.

Motivation

Remember, every employee is different and they may need motivated differently. I remember my son’s high school football coach speaking to the entire parent group at the beginning of the season. He surprisingly said, “I’m not going to treat all of your boys equally…but I am going to treat each one of them fairly.” That made a lot of sense to me. He had the ability to understand that different people respond differently to the same action. What a great message to share. 

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Identify the strengths and weaknesses of your team members. Lead by example and demonstrate your soft skills or ‘people skills’ like listening, being flexible and teamwork. Demonstrate emotional intelligence – the ability to understand your own emotions and the emotions of your business associates. You should be open to their concerns and make them feel important.

Good leaders know how to delegate, and they do it well. Remember, when you give responsibility, you also need to give them a measure of accountability; the two go hand in hand. Frequently seek feedback from your mid-level managers and staff below them. Consider rewarding them with time off, bonuses and other extra perks when warranted. Be sure to get to the core of any problems to provide conflict resolution when needed. Don’t be afraid to acknowledge your own weaknesses, surround yourself with those who complement you and make up for your shortfalls.


A lot of research has been done on effective leaders and how they grew their organizations. YHB continues to invest in its leadership team at all levels. If you’d like to hear more about how we promote a culture of working together, or suggestions on how we can help you improve your organization’s efficiency, please contact YHB (Yount, Hyde & Barbour, P.C.) Principal Tom Moler by email at tom.moler@yhbcpa.comor by phone at 703-777-7739.

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