PracticeAccounting FirmsIn the classroom: develop a leader

In the classroom: develop a leader

Are you a leader or a manager? It can be taken to imply that the two are mutually exclusive, but they are not

Leadership and management are reliant upon each other. Both are needed but
what you become may well depend upon your behaviour, attitude, personality and
skills.

Whether involved with in the running of a multinational partnership or an
SME, people are at the heart of an organisation. The competitive advantage of a
company depends on the skills and inventiveness of its entire people. As a
leader, the main priority is to get the job done, whatever the job is.

If organisations focus on developing not only the leaders of today, but the
leaders of tomorrow, they will reap tangible benefits in the areas of
productivity and profitability, customer and market share, and importantly
people management and satisfaction. To put it simply, investment in leadership
training pays its own way.

A continuous professional development course in leadership training can
create the environment for individuals to develop and practise their leadership
skills. Courses provide learning through doing and are designed to encourage
delegates to participate in games of strategy, financial awareness and the key
skills needed to manage change. Self-assessment tests can identify the
behaviours that leaders in businesses need to develop.

This is important, particularly as most finance professionals tend to rise to
senior positions by being high performance managers, but once they reach that
position, they tend to lack the skills to truly lead. It’s often seen in
professional partnerships where achieving targets and impressing colleagues earn
the promotion; or it may have been by default, rather than by design. This leads
to organisations that then tend to be over-managed, and under-led.

The only constant in today’s business environment – is change. Leadership is
about coping with the change and helping others to do so. As rules of business
change daily, leaders must be agents of change, but also recognise that being at
the top of an organisation can often be lonely. By committing to their own
ongoing personal development programme, it can feel less so, as every training
programme also provides the opportunity for the leader to network and share
ideas and experiences with other like-minded people!

Bob Hawken is chief executive of professional development at
BPP Professional Education

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