Keep It Simple When Managing and Leading

The usual route for an accountant and professional wanting to move up the career ladder is to become a manager and leader.

Some do this easily.  Some get by.  Some struggle.

Of course very little of your professional training equips you for managing and leading.

Equally there really is no manual that equips you for success.

Yes there’s plenty of advice around.  What I’ve noticed over the years that a lot of it is contradictory.

Over the years I’ve learned that you can dress things up as complex.  Alternatively you can keep it simple.

Management is essentially about:

  1. Determining what needs done.
  2. Deciding when it needs to be done.
  3. Determining who is best to do it.
  4. Setting clear expectations.
  5. Helping clear the obstacles that might be preventing others move forward at various times.
  6. Making the best use of resources at your disposal.

To do that you need to:

  1. Be able to plan.
  2. Be able to prioritise.
  3. Know your people and what matters to them.
  4. Help others perform to their potential.
  5. Be aware that you don’t need to be involved in everything.
  6. Build relationships.

Equally leadership is essentially about:

  1. Setting out the direction of travel.
  2. Getting support of others.
  3. Moving things forward.
  4. Taking decisions.
  5. Challenging others in a positive way.
  6. Achieving results.

To be able to do that you need to:

  1. Be clear about your message.
  2. Be able to influence.
  3. Be future focused rather than lost in the day to day.
  4. Know the key drivers and key levers of success.
  5. Get comfortable with balanced risk taking.
  6. Build relationships.

In truth leadership and management is both rewarding and challenging.  What you will specifically do will depend on the circumstances.  On the other hand it doesn’t need to be complex, so focus on keeping it simple.