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Leadership Insights that Free Your Team to Thrive

June 7, 2022 TaxPlanIQ Support team

What is it that you want to do in life? At the end of the day, we all want to help people, right?

It's what we're trying to do every single day, as accountants. And it's ultimately why we're in business. If your team didn’t provide value to clients, they’d go somewhere else. But if you really want your firm to help more people, it’s important to know—you have to empower your team. 

And that's what’s covered in this resource—several actionable ways you can help your employees thrive via leadership.

Know Your “Why”

Your why is the end all be all, in your company. Any decision you make should align with this "why". So if your “why” is to help people, let that guide you as a leader. It doesn’t have to be a complex statement, but a core desire. When you look back and remember your career, did you [insert ‘why’ here]? 

A great example of this is former CEO and current chairman of Intuit, Brad Smith. While he was with the company, Brad treated every employee like family. And his employees recognized he valued them—not just as workers—but as whole people. 

In return, they loved him. 

He has said his why was to "Power Prosperity for People". This is the why by which he judges every decision. 

Align Hearts with Purpose 

You have a why. That's the first important step. Now, others need to know about it through your words and actions. When your company's core values align with this reason, you can show your genuine commitment to this purpose.

Through these values, you create a culture in which employees thrive and people feel united in the why and share core values. 

Aligning your team with the purpose involves connecting everything they do to the goal for your clients. For instance, if you provide tax services with the goal of saving your clients as much as possible, connecting the two is powerful. 

Your team will look for credits, strategies, and plans to keep anyone from paying more than they owe in taxes. It’s in the place between your “why” and your output (services) where you’re able to measure employees by the company's core values. 

Be Trusting, and Trustworthy

Most like to think of themselves as an honest person. It's got to be a top personal value, especially for accountants. 

“I'll be honest with you and expect others to be honest with me.”  Break that trust, and it takes a while for you to earn it back. That's just how we’re wired. But trustworthiness is something completely different. 

Be honest. Do you assign work, and then try to swoop in, save the day and take it back? We’ve all been there, and thought we were helping. On the one hand, you’re saying to an employee, "I trust you to do this". But then, the moment they hit a snag, boom, you intervene. 

As a result, I was saying without words, "I don't really trust you can do this."

You think you’re helping, but really creating an environment where people can't learn and grow. 

Promote Freedom

You really want to help people (meaning your clients)? Begin by helping your team. One of the best things you can do is give people freedom within your organization. That's how they grow.

Jackie once had an employee who chose to quit during an evaluation. They were discussing how her behavior didn't align with some of our core values. And the employee said, point blank, "I don't align with these core values. I'm not a good fit for the company." 

There were no hard feelings. She was expressing her freedom to not work in a place where she felt she didn't align. 

But not every leader creates that kind of environment. Is your team afraid to speak out, or diverge from something you say, even if they know it’s not the best idea?

Our advice? Help people. Be a leader people love, not one people fear. 

True love is actually freedom and not control. If you want to help people, don't in the same breath, micromanage everything about them and expect them to jump when you say so. 

Learn to Speak Their Language

This isn't just for relationships outside of the workplace. When we try to motivate and inspire people, we need to make sure we speak their language. To do that, we need to listen to others actively, show we genuinely care about them as real people, and demonstrate that value through our actions as a leader.

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