The Finance Leader Podcast

Bonus Episode 55: Let's Talk About Leadership

March 14, 2023 Stephen McLain
The Finance Leader Podcast
Bonus Episode 55: Let's Talk About Leadership
Show Notes Transcript

What does it mean to be a leader? How do you know if you are leading correctly? Leadership is hard sometimes. It takes practice and sometimes failure to get it right. With leadership, always begin with yourself. Are you setting the right example for others to follow? Will others willingly follow you, especially in a crisis or a tough situation? When something goes wrong, what are your first actions?

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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.

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Hi, this is Stephen McLain of the finance leader podcast. This is bonus episode number 55. This week I'm asking you about your thoughts on leadership. What does it mean to be a leader? How do you know if you're leading correctly? Leadership is hard. Sometimes it takes practice, and sometimes failure to get it right. Where leadership always begin with yourself. Are you setting the right example for others to follow? Will others willingly follow you, especially in a crisis or a tough situation? When something goes wrong? What are your first actions? A leader is one who motivates others to perform at their best. The great leaders focus on making everyone around them better, and helping to make the organization better. Overall, the common tools of a leader are number one, communicating a simple vision for everyone to easily understand and follow. Number two, prioritizing the team's effort and tasks. Number three, clearing away any obstacles that your team may be facing and D conflicting requirements and guidance. Number four, using a back brief method to ensure what you said was heard properly, and five, ensuring that your team has development opportunities, so they can grow. Always remember to be self aware and to check your own personal bias so that you lead with fairness and integrity. These are only a few of the tools that the dedicated leader will use to help their team members to succeed every day, there is much to learn. I love leadership. I believe that learning leadership and becoming a leader will make a difference for you personally and in your career. We are expected to be technical experts in our fields. But I will always challenge you to become a leader, so you make a positive difference in everything you do commit to becoming a leader today. This week, I want to share episode 96 leading in a challenging environment, when things are going well is easier to lead. But when the business environment changes, it requires a more leadership emphasis from you. Also, don't forget to check out finance leader Academy, I offer a course called advance your career. I added the link in the show notes so you can preview this course. Season 14 will debut on April 18. Please enjoy this encore episode, Episode 96 leading in a challenging environment. Thank you. Are you facing a leadership challenge right now? Or soon? Do you even know? Have you been complacent? Or are you watching for the signs that change or a business challenge is imminent? When things are going well, it's easier to lead. But when the business environment changes, it requires a more leadership emphasis from you. Be watchful for business and senior leadership changes and be ready to adapt and lead your team through the challenge. Whatever it is, I want you to protect your team. But you must develop a plan to overcome that challenge. And to figure out how to energize your team to win willingly and without coercion. 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. Please consider following me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. My usernames and the links are in this episode's show notes. And also please join the Facebook group I have for this podcast community. Thank you. This is episode number 96. And I will be talking about leading in a challenging environment. And I will highlight the following topics. Number one, acknowledge the problem. Number two, lead and take positive action. Number three, shield your team from everything toxic, and for energize your team to help solve the problem. Author and entrepreneur Jim Rohn said the challenge of leadership is to be strong but not rude. Be kind but not weak. Be bold, but not a bully. Be thoughtful, but not lazy. Be humble, but not timid. Be proud, but not arrogant. This week I'm talking about leading in a challenging environment. I have talked about this before, but it's an important topic when things are going well. Leadership is not often a critical factor. But when your situation changes for the worst, then leadership is what can make your situation better. So you can help your team and your organization through the challenge. And there are several different scenarios for challenging environments from the company losing markets. care to dealing with a toxic work atmosphere to dealing with a major brand damaging situation, or even team members who are destructive, or maybe even dealing with a supervisor who does not respect you. There are so many scenarios, and it takes patient leadership to overcome them and many others. I can't wait to get into talking about leadership, and how you can influence a better outcome. First, I had to delay the debut of season 12 for a few weeks, but I am back. I hope you enjoyed the additional bonus episodes I shared over the last few weeks. That was not the original plan, but that is leadership, we have to be flexible to meet the needs of our team. So I adapted and shared short messages plus bonus encore replays. This time helped me to think and prioritize which are great activities for all of us to conduct. Thank you. I also want to talk about our ongoing goal achievement, we have just a short time left for this year. Now what else do you want to accomplish in 2022? We are in quarter four and we need to start thinking about next year. Does your company have any training funds left over that you can use? Look over your goals and what training you may need and training your team may need. Don't let those training funds go to waste when we began 2022 I challenge you to make 2022 your best year ever. We were going to focus on goals and the special people in our lives. How did you do? I know that I still need to improve on this too. I will continue to focus on the special people in my life. While also accomplishing my goals, I want you to do the same. Now regarding our goals do you still need to earn continuing professional education credits or CPS for your certification, don't wait until December. If you have to submit a transcript to your work. Many of you probably have a work requirement to earn so many CPS per year, because your certification was a condition for employment. Now let's finish them up and get them turned in on time. Well in advance since some CPE teams shut down for the holidays each year. Let's also look to 2023 and start drafting some goals you want to accomplish in the coming year, I have a few myself that I will begin to write some notes about and also looking at the calendar for when I can get them done. Now this week, it's about applying leadership to overcome a challenge the business world the economy in our personal lives are all cyclical. There will be good times and there will be challenges. What we must not become is complacent in our approach. Look for signs of change, even when no one is talking about them. We know the financials. So look for the direction. Are we getting better? Or are we losing market share? are we innovating? Or do we have a popular mature product that is at risk to a better product entering the market from a competitor. It takes courage to address a challenge you have to find courage to acknowledge the problem and then to address it. Depending on the problem. A variety of people may be upset with you no matter what. This is always a secondary condition of being a leader, someone or many people will not be happy with you. It happens and the who is not happy changes. Often. It's important to acknowledge and take ownership of a problem when it becomes apparent that there is one. So we have to be watching Be observant to change. Be observant to a challenge that may affect your team and the organization as a whole and we must always work to avoid and protect our team against toxic behavior. Anything toxic has the potential to destroy your team. It can be an overbearing micromanaging senior leader, or anyone who does not respect boundaries are someone who uses passive aggressive tactics to hurt others. Toxicity comes in many shapes and sizes. Sometimes you don't even realize it until you are face to face with the menace. Work to avoid it and work to keep it from your team. toxicity can also become prevalent within your team. So be watchful and take action to read it quickly. Leaders should always have a plan and don't ever become complacent, complacency, escalates, ineptitude, which leads to problems. These problems can get out of hand when you don't address them. When we take action to avoid complacency, we can improve our chance to avoid problems within the scope of our work and our responsibilities. But we also want to not be complacent within the context of how the organization is accomplishing its major goals and mission. So know what is going on. It's our responsibility as leaders to know what the organization is doing, where it's going, where it's headed, and how it's going to affect itself based on The business environment based on the economy based on competitors entering the market. So be watchful and do your part and helping the organization accomplish its goals. To accomplish that strategy and to overcome any competitor entering the market that may threaten net, the great leaders do not become complacent. To do so you will lose the opportunity to positively affect and influence change. Be watchful for what is happening inside your team and around your team. Pay attention to how senior leaders engage, and how they speak. Watch for changing vocabulary, or a change in attitude and take action. Now let's talk about using leadership during a challenge. Number one, acknowledge the problem. avoid complacency at all times. Be watchful for changes. Be watchful for vocabulary and attitude changes from senior leaders observe behaviors and what senior leaders are focusing on. What I'm asking you to do is watch for the signs of change, and future challenges. We need to do our part and looking at the numbers, looking at the market, observing the economy so that we can be ready. I want us to avoid how politicians from around the world talk about the economy. They have an agenda, we should seek out facts and the truth so we can do our part and guiding the business. Look at the numbers. Now the various departments of the United States Government does a great job at collecting data about the economy, including from around the world, they do a great job at data collection, I'm not sure if they do a great job, what to do with those numbers, but they have incredible databases with numbers and collect data on just about everything from around the economy. Now this raw data can help you understand how your market is acting, I may actually do an entire episode in the future about pulling us government data so that you can use it to help you understand the economy better. But the data is there for you to use for you to analyze without someone else telling you what they want you to believe you can always do your own analysis. Now that's leadership. Number two, lead and take positive action. When faced with a problem, I want you to take action be a leader, which means owning the problem, do the analysis, formulate a plan, communicate and positively influence to the outcome that is best for the team and for the organization. Now this may require having constant and consistent discussions that convinces people to willingly change. It's not about coercion. It's about being a leader and setting the example. It's about communicating a vision of where you want to go and then leading them there. It's about developing a plan, prioritizing your actions communicating those actions, and then holding your team accountable and setting your team up for success, helping them accomplishing their goals. Number three, shield your team from everything toxic. I don't want my team to deal with anything toxic, because it's demoralizing. It's distracting, and it kills motivation. It's my job to shield and protect my team from any toxic behavior and issues within the organization. And this includes me not being toxic too. This is where self awareness comes into play. Remember to set boundaries so your team can avoid any potential toxicity, deal with the outrageous things yourself. So your team can focus on what's important. So they can focus on their tasks and projects, and not be drawn into anything that will distract them or affect their work life balance. Do this to the best of your ability. You may not be perfect, but any effort to protect your team will offer some relief and help them focus on their goals and their tasks. They are projects that they are working on every day for the team and for the organization. Number four, energize your team to help solve the problem. As leaders we want to get the best from our team. We can do that while holding them accountable. At the same time. It's about how you speak to people and how you treat them. It's okay to do a gut check, or an asthma check or an accountability check so to speak on how we are performing. Communicate where you want your team to go and be motivating and not demoralizing. Show appreciation for your team. Always set a great example and behavior and respecting others. Treat others with dignity and show appreciation. Tell your team that doing things great, but when you hold them accountable, you can do it without being demoralizing. Without talking down to people. You can do it at the same time while lifting them up. If someone has an issue with their performance, you can outline the issue and then you can lift them up at the same time and not really look at them in a demeaning manner. create the conditions to win by prioritizing and helping your team to avoid distractions. Always look for ways to help your team succeed. Now for action today, are you observing the world around you for change? When change becomes obvious to you take action to positively implement that change. Challenges will come and go. And it's up to us to develop a plan to lead our team through every challenge and every problem. Now, here are just a few steps to follow. First one is watch for change. What are people saying? How is the business doing? What are the numbers saying that I want you to know what to look for. So you can see a challenge or a problem coming? Do your own analysis and watch for any bias that you may have? This is where self awareness comes into play when you're doing your analysis. What kind of bias do you bring into that analysis? Be self aware, I've talked about bias and self awareness before when we're looking at numbers or looking at a situation, what lens are we looking through? What are we using to filter information out or in and making sure you check that bias? What know what you're using for bias so you can eliminate it from your analysis, then I want you to formulate a plan. Then implement your plan. communicate consistently and constantly with your team and hold them accountable. And finally, evaluate and make corrections as necessary. I want you to lead so you can face challenges as they come. Now if you have not already, I want to invite you to download a leadership guide for finance and accounting leaders, you can go to Finance leader and select Free leadership guide on the main menu. It's free, and it may give you a few ideas for your own leadership development. Today, I talked about being a leader in a challenging environment and I highlighted the following points. Number one, acknowledge the problem. Number two, lead and take positive action. Number three, shield your team from everything toxic, and for energize your team to help solve the problem. The great leaders rise during tough times they display courage as they work to make their teams better and work to have a consistent output. Leaders prioritize and communicate constantly with their teams, with their peers and with senior leaders. I encourage you to pay attention to how senior leaders speak and the overall nature of the business environment and the economy. So you're ready to lead. You are ready to plan for what it will take to have your team do their part and you are ready to advise senior leaders. Challenges are great opportunities to show your leadership abilities. grasp that opportunity when it comes one more reminder. Look at your goal achievement for this year. Start looking to 2023 for what you want to get done. And I want you to finish up those CPS for your certification so you can turn them in on time and you're not rushing at the end, so have a plan. Next week I'll be talking about a few productivity tips you can use to make your day a little easier. I hope you enjoyed the finance leader podcast I am dedicated to helping you grow your leadership skills, to change your mindset and to clarify your goals so you can advance your career. You can find this episode wherever you listen to podcasts. If this episode helped you today, please share and leave a quick review so that others may find the podcast. Until next time, you can check out more resources at finance leader and sign up for my weekly updates so you don't miss an episode of the podcast. And now go lead your team and I'll see you next time. Thank you