The Finance Leader Podcast

Bonus Episode 40: Gain an Advantage By Becoming More Self-aware and Reading the Room

July 05, 2022 Stephen McLain
The Finance Leader Podcast
Bonus Episode 40: Gain an Advantage By Becoming More Self-aware and Reading the Room
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Show Notes Transcript

Leaders must be self-aware of their thoughts, actions, words and behaviors so they are constantly working to build trust and develop their teams. Self-aware leaders know what is appropriate and what isn’t appropriate. Emotionally intelligent leaders can read the room properly that leads to a positive outcome.

Episode outline:
1) The great leaders are emotionally intelligent,
2) Think before speaking or taking action, and
3) Read the room so you understand the tone and mood of any gathering.

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4. LinkedIn: stephenjmclainiii

Consider joining The Finance Leader Podcast Community Facebook Group, where we can talk leadership and the other topics I present here on the podcast.  This is a good time to jump in and start sharing ideas and thoughts about leadership so we can help each other.

For more resources, please visit On the website, you can download the Leadership Growth Blueprint for Finance and Accounting Managers. You can use this guide to develop your leadership by focusing on communication, and growing and empowering your team.

You can now purchase a course to help you advance your career from It's called Advance Your Finance and Accounting Career: Developing a Promotion Strategy that Sets You Apart.

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Stephen McLain:

Hi, this is Steven McLean of the finest leader podcast. This is bonus episode number 40. Being a leader means you are putting others ahead of yourself. Being a leader means you're setting your team up for success. And being a leader means you realize you can't get it all done by yourself, which means you have to develop your team, so they can help you with the tough tasks and projects. And developing your team means you have to take risk and they will make mistakes. Can you handle your team making mistakes? This is the personal obstacle in mindset that you must overcome a mistake being made by your direct report, but it creates a learning opportunity. And that is when we develop our team to become better. We take risk with a team member on a tough task, they either perform exceptionally well and not much needs to be corrected or they will complete the task to standard but with a few places that need improvement, but that is okay, because that is where the magic of personal growth occurs. So resist micromanaging every task. And if you are a senior leader encourage risk taking so that everyone in your company has an opportunity to grow. Let's eliminate micromanagement at all levels. Because that is how you build a high performing well developed and loyal team that does not feel coerced as they complete their work. Season 11 of the podcast will debut on July 26 I can't wait to share. This week I am sharing episode 63 self awareness and reading the room. I am asking leaders to be more self aware of their thoughts, words and actions so that they are continually focused on building trust. Please enjoy this encore replay of episode 63 self awareness and reading the room. Thank you and enjoy. This week I am talking about self awareness, which is a key component of emotional intelligence. Leaders must be self aware of their thoughts, actions, words and behaviors. So they are constantly working to build trust and develop their teams. self aware leaders know what is appropriate and what isn't appropriate. emotionally intelligent leaders can read the room properly, that leads to a positive outcome. Please enjoy the episode. Welcome to the finance leader podcast where leadership is bigger than the numbers. I am your host Stephen McLean. This is the podcast for developing leaders in finance and accounting. This is episode number 63. And I'll be talking about self awareness and reading the room and I'll highlight the following topics. Number one, the great leaders are emotionally intelligent. Number two, think before speaking or taking action. And three read the room so you understand the tone and mood of any gathering. Author and neuroscientist Robert Cooper said emotional intelligence is the ability to sense understand and effectively apply the power and acumen of emotions as a source of human energy, information, connection and influence. This episode wraps up season seven, and for the next several weeks, I will be offering bonus content while I prepare season eight. So let's review what we covered in season seven. The first episode of this season was episode 57 And that was own your career. Now in this episode, I asked are you planning out your career moves? Or are you waiting on someone else? To give you an opportunity, you must take ownership of where your career is headed in Episode 58. And that was about building your professional foundation. Your foundation establishes your professional credibility and expertise, which is key to being a sought after finance and accounting leader. Embrace a lifelong learning mindset to firmly establish your professional foundation. Now, Episode 59 was about perfecting your presentation skills. Episode 60 was partnered with senior leaders to execute the strategy. Now one of the primary duties that will set you apart is partnering with senior leaders, finance and accounting professionals should be partnering with senior leaders and their teams to better execute the organization's strategy. We know the numbers and can better deliver insights when we open communication with senior leaders and their teams. Episode 61 was about earning your annual continuing professional education credits, and I gave you a few websites where you can earn your CPA ease. And last week was episode 62. what leaders do the most important responsibility leaders have is to grow other leaders. The first task a great leader will do is to build trust. And that begins with our own actions, our attitude and our behavior. This week, I'm talking about self awareness and reading the room essential components of emotional intelligence, which is a person's capacity to be aware of, and in control of one's own emotions. So I have a few questions that you can ask yourself. Number one, can you empathize with another person situation like a tragedy? Or other unpleasant news? Number two, have you said anything in a room of people that created an awkward situation? Number three, have you ever been told that you say inappropriate comments? And four? Do you genuinely care about other people? And do you show it emotional intelligence is key to having a successful career. I talked about emotional intelligence in Episode 27. So you haven't listened to that you can go back and listen to it when you can. being self aware of your emotions, your actions and your words around in with people is essential to everything you are doing as a leader, it affects your ability to lead effectively and to build trust. These are skills related to being the type of leader that people will want to follow. And I talked about that last week and what leaders do. When we are self aware, we can check our bias to ensure we treat everyone fairly. Be aware of favoritism you may have and also the opposite. If you are showing a dislike for someone, be aware of internal bias towards anyone, and act to correct your own attitudes, thoughts and behaviors. Have you ever been in a meeting when someone has said something inappropriate, are so out of subject that you have questioned their judgment? Every meeting has a tone, and the tone can change from moment to moment. high emotional, intelligent people keep up with the changes in tone. Sometimes it's happy. Sometimes it's tense. Sometimes it's about problem solving, or idea generating. And sometimes it's sad. And sometimes it's all business. The tone determines the appropriateness to responses and to statements at the time. This is incredibly important to your credibility, and your ability to lead with confidence. Have you ever dealt with someone who is so oblivious in the meeting, that they continually say inappropriate things, or things out of context, or things that can be taken as offensive that actually proves the person has no idea what they're talking about, or even cares about other people? Be aware of your own limitations, and always check your arrogance at the door. In other words, be humble always, and acknowledge that as soon as you think you are better than others, another person, maybe your supervisor will judge you unfairly. When I was in the army, we were taught to have situational awareness and it helps in many ways, situational awareness, AIDS and giving you understanding of what is happening even before it happens. This skill helps military leaders as a battle progresses, and before the enemy can achieve an advantage against you. And it helps in so many other ways. Be aware of your surroundings. Be aware of the tone, and be aware of how people are feeling around you. So you act and speak appropriately. So let's talk about a few key points about self awareness and reading the room. Number one, the great leaders are emotionally intelligent. They are in control of their emotions and their actions. You must continually monitor your attitude, your thoughts, your actions and your words. The leaders who control their emotions will have more career opportunities available to them. Now when situations get tough, how do you handle them? Can you handle a crisis on your own? Are you self aware enough to know how you handle a crisis, self awareness becomes a skill and will become a gift to you as you advance? Because you will be able to navigate tough situations more easily than others. Know how you have responded in the past. So you don't make the same mistake going forward. Can you do that? Are you able to see yourself and how you affected others, how you reacted versus how you should have reacted? I reflect often about my own actions and thoughts to not dwell on them, but to learn and grow from them. I won't let a mistake stop me but a mistake in the past can grow me to be a better leader in the future. If I can understand myself better and apply my learning to my own leadership ability number to think before speaking or taking action. approach every situation will a cool head and ready to lead with confidence. A leader makes everyone around them better And this is achieved by leading with compassion, confidence, and situational awareness to achieve a positive outcome. Don't let your emotions take you to an unpleasant place where you lose your credibility, your team, and the next opportunity that could help you in accomplishing your long term goal, be composed be the commonest doram be the rational presence in the organization. Because if you do, your patient leadership might be noticed during the next crisis. Additionally, acknowledge and understand any bias you have. So you treat people fairly unrecognized person personal bias leads to unfair outcomes for those you lead and your entire team. When you don't check your bias and learn to correct it. It may lead to bad outcomes for yourself, including the loss of your friends and your career. The number three, read the room so you understand the tone and mood of any gathering. Reading the room is a skill to know what to say, and when to say or not say it. If you get it right, you'll be sought out to lead. And if you get it wrong, you will lose your credibility quickly. gatherings, meetings and other people situations have a tone. Something said in one gathering may not be appropriate in another gathering. Not only you must be aware of what you're saying should be fitting the tone, but also ensure you don't talk too much. Know your role. And don't be the irritating one in the room contribute the right amount to the dialogue. We all have a story about someone speaking too much or out of context, or who thought they knew something when they didn't. If you want to be taken seriously and maintain your credibility, you must have self awareness and be able to read the room. Emotional Intelligence is a key component of leadership in advancing your career. I have seen many times when someone in a leadership role says something awkward or inappropriate in a meeting because they did not recognize the tone of the meeting, or were completely unaware that what they said was wrong or offensive. Additionally, reading the room helps you to navigate when and how to shape positive outcomes for whatever the discussion or meeting goal is for action today. How self aware are you? Are you aware of how your thoughts actions, words and behaviors affect the people around you? Do you have trouble reading the room. If you don't really know ask a trusted friend or colleague. Actually I want you to do this anyway. Because if you have little self awareness already, you may not be able to self assess this correctly. Ask a colleague who will tell you the truth and where you will not be offended when you hear it. Strive to think and assess before speaking and acting. So you are in line with appropriate behavior. The goal of leadership is to grow others and to shape positive outcomes. But if you lose credibility, you will not be able to conduct either. This episode is sponsored by my website finance leader And my career development course called advance your career developing a promotion strategy that will set you apart. To achieve your career goals. You must be willing to take risks to set yourself apart from your peers, finance and accounting professionals are already expected to be technically competent. This course helps you establish your professional Foundation, and how you can set yourself apart from your peers. By growing your leadership skills and developing your executive presence, you can go to Finance leader For more details on this career advancement course. The link is also in the show notes for this episode. Thank you. Today I talked about self awareness and reading the room and highlighted the following points. Number one, the great leaders are emotionally intelligent. Number two, think before speaking or taking action. And three read the room so you understand the tone and mood of any gathering. People lead through confidence, caring and trust, or, unfortunately, through coercion. Part of that is the ability to empathize and be emotionally intelligent. Lacking control of your emotions will lose trust on the team, especially when you can't read the room properly. When you interact with your team, are you aware of what you say and how you carry yourself, your team and those you work with like your peers and senior leaders will continually judge your ability to interact well with other people. Be observant of your own thoughts and feelings, so you will improve your outlook and approach to situations. For the next few weeks. I will be sharing bonus episodes as I prepare season eight. Season Eight will be all about becoming and performing as a CFO I can't wait to share. And don't forget that I have a Facebook group called the finance leader podcast community. This is a place where we can help each other to grow and be prepared for the next step in our careers as finance and accounting professionals, so please join the live Link is in the show notes for this episode. I hope you enjoyed the finance leader Podcast. I'm dedicated to helping you grow your leadership, because it is leadership that will set you apart from your peers. You can get this episode wherever you find podcasts. Until next time, you can check out more resources at finance leader and sign up for my updates so you don't miss an episode of the show. And now go lead your team. And I'll see you next time. Thank you