Do you believe that leadership should only be left to the “higher-ups” in the company? Are you wasting time waiting for the Managing Partner to set up a meeting, lay down a policy, or implement an improvement? Do you ever think, “That’s not my job; it’s up to the management or owners to set that policy and tell us what we can or can’t do”?
Instead of “passing the buck” on responsibility, I want to encourage you to own your job, regardless of your position in the company.
Boomer team members write and talk a great deal about leadership and accountability; leadership not only at the executive level but leadership throughout the company. We foster leadership by allowing each team member to participate in the development of the company’s annual strategic plan and then to construct their own quarterly game plans based upon the company’s objectives.
Each person is then held accountable through quarterly game plan meetings, weekly staff meetings and through involvement in smaller teams. Note that I did not say quarterly game plan evaluations. That’s because the quarterly meeting is more than an evaluation of one’s performance; it is truly a time to review the past, but more importantly, plan for the next quarter. It is a team effort to create the plan – and honest, open communication is encouraged, expected, and a key principle in the process.
So what would make this relationship a success? The first element that comes to mind is trust; trust and confidence in your relationship with your supervisor and peers. In a recent article written by our human resource guru Sandra Wiley, she discusses several actions that can build trust. Among them are:
- Be transparent
- Ask – don’t tell
- Show gratitude
- Extend trust
I’m sure you could add to this list. An important factor is that these actions must extend up and down the chain of command.
A second element that should be credited for our success is ownership.
In a book I am reading, Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin, the authors note that extreme ownership is a mind-set; or an attitude:
“With a mind-set of Extreme Ownership, any person can develop into a highly effective leader.”
Furthermore, they state that training is necessary to develop the foundations of leadership and build confidence in one’s ability to lead. By exhibiting extreme ownership, a leader will empower members of their team to achieve success.
Encouraging this culture throughout the team propels the team toward a win-win result. Owning up to mistakes does not decrease respect; instead, it increases respect and confidence (sounds a little like being transparent). They point out the need of leading up and down the chain of command (sounds like a team effort).
How does any of this relate to the accounting profession? I believe taking ownership of one’s position is vital. The level of position makes no difference. In fact, the more one takes extreme ownership of their duties, the more potential for success by the team member and the firm.
I encourage you to take extreme ownership of your position and march on to success in your career.