Guiding Leaders to Shape the Next Generation
When a professional is part of a firm’s leadership team, just made partner or is a senior executive in a corporate accounting department, he or she usually has the best interests of their organization at heart. That means he or she not only has to lead in the most effective manner but train the next generation to be leaders as well. Leadership training varies, though, and not all training is alike.
So, what’s the best place to start? According to Ed Guttenplan, CPA, MBA, CGMA, managing shareholder at WilkinGuttenplan, a good place to begin is realizing there’s too much talk on the subject and not enough action. “Developing leadership for the future of our firms isn’t done by talking about it; it’s best done by creating real opportunities for others to lead,” he says.
He supports creating programs that lead to tangible opportunities for the next leaders, such as having formal, branded leadership development initiatives at firms. This, he adds, should incorporate regularly taking younger generations out on sales calls, involving them in marketing activities or participating in client meetings. “This is a clear message of our investment in them,” he adds.
Thomas Metelski, CPA, ACC, ELI-MP, Jump Coaching & Consulting, LLC, agrees. “Employees want a purpose, not just a paycheck,” he says. “To prepare supervisors for leadership, a firm must explicitly define and hold associates accountable for achieving the competencies required for leadership roles. Supervisors need to understand what skills are needed to obtain those competencies as they progress.”
Another key ingredient in training for leadership is to listen to staff. As life coach Baily Frumen, MSW, LCSW, explains, “discovering the strengths of your team can be accomplished by listening to your team, asking more questions than giving directives and utilizing assessments.”
She adds that the first step towards effective leadership is to inspire one’s team to step into leadership for themselves and be clear about the type of leader they want to be. “As executives, we motivate the next generation of leaders through two endeavors — working on ourselves and working on people development.”
And clients can tell when an accounting firm, for example, is grooming the next generation of leaders in the right way or not at all. “Who wants to do business with a firm that is not united in its operations? Are your employees and clients getting mixed messages? If so, check the messengers at the top,” says Metelski.
Edward I. Guttenplan
Ed Guttenplan, CPA, MBA, CGMA, is the managing shareholder of WilkinGuttenplan. He was the 2017/18 president of the NJCPA and serves as chairperson of the Nominating Committee and trustee for the NJCPA Education Foundation Board of Trustees.
More content by Edward I. Guttenplan:
Thomas W. Metelski
Thomas Metelski, CPA, CPC, ELI-MP, is principle at JUMP! Coaching & Consulting LLC. He has extensive business financial experience, including operational risk management and leadership positions.
More content by Thomas W. Metelski: