As an ambitious professional, you’re on the lookout for opportunities to step up and stand out. Bigger clients. More complex work. Sitting in the big meetings. Conversations with the senior practitioner.
Leadership is one factor that you must address to be truly successful. It’s something that not every finance professional gets right and therefore when you get it right you’ll have a crucial advantage.
When you evaluate those that you admire and aspire to be, you’ll notice that they are more than good at their job. Each of those people has the ability to lead others through their ability to:
Lead crucial conversations.
Lead complex work.
Lead the closing of deals with clients.
Now you’re asking what it will take for you to unleash your leadership superpower? (It’s ok it’s not about training and qualifications)
The four cornerstone leadership skills you need to have to be a more effective leader are:
- Listening to pay true, genuine attention to the whole situation
- Emotional Intelligence particularly self-awareness
- Communication and effective presentation skills
- Strategic thinking and problem solving
Let’s cover a few tips for each
Listening – It’s important to listen in order to understand rather than how to respond. If you are thinking about what you will say next, then you aren’t really listening. Effective leaders listen for the words that are spoken as well as what is unspoken. Effective leaders use a range of verbal and non-verbal techniques to demonstrate to the speaker that they have been heard.
Self-awareness – leaders cast a long shadow. What that means is that leaders are always being observed (and copied). Being aware of your mood and the impact that has on others is really important. Being emotionally intelligent is more than “being in touch with your softer side” and is far from being a pushover. It is a quality that enables you to connect with others and good quality connections with people are essential to effective leadership.
Communicating and presenting yourself – have you ever known an effective leader who can’t communicate effectively? One simple strategy for preparing effective communication is to make sure that your message answers 4 key questions: why, what, how and what if? (you can search 4Mat by Berneice McCarthy for more information)
Strategic thinking includes the ability to think more broadly than the task (or people) in that moment. Effective leaders keep things in perspective and are always tuned in to the broader context of events and the overall purpose of the work.
Effective leadership skills can be your career superpower if you’re willing to refine and unleash them.
Having made multiple successful career transitions, Pam Macdonald has turned her passion for people (along with her energy) into powerful and practical coaching and leadership development. Known and respected for her ability to cut to the chase, Pam is also highly effective at guiding people into new and effective levels of leadership performance. Pam is a speaker at the upcoming Young Guns Workshop event for Smithink.