Monday, April 5th, 2021

A Good Leader is Self-Aware

“Know thyself.” – Socrates

How do you know if you are a good leader?

You are an experienced CPA. You have supervised and mentored people for several years. People take your advice and do what you say. Does that make you a good leader?

Being a leader is rewarding. Yet, sometimes being a leader can be challenging and puzzling. An important part of being a leader is being self-aware.

In CPA firms, as people advance they receive feedback from various supervisors, coaches and mentors along the way. Once a person becomes a partner (shareholder/owner) feedback often ceases. You are “the boss” and people don’t question your motives.

That is when self-awareness becomes an important tool for a leader. You have to reach out to others. I hope your firm has a periodic upward feedback process for all partners. But, that isn’t enough. You need to reach out personally.

At least a couple of times per year, interview the people who report to you. Talk with your peers, too. Use the Keep, Stop, Start method: What should I keep doing? What should I stop doing? What should I start doing?

Compile the information you receive from the personal interviews and use it for reflection. Take time every day, 15 minutes in the morning or 15 minutes at the end of the workday to reflect on your leadership behaviors. Ask yourself if you are focusing on the most important things each day and if you are learning new things.

If you learn you are not progressing, that you are stuck with the status quo and that you need to set a better example, hire an executive coach or enlist the help of a trusted advisor to hold you accountable.

  • "Don't be afraid to take a big step. You can't cross a chasm in two small jumps."
  • David Lloyd George

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