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Episode 15: Learn how to become a BETTER LEADER┃Three Keys to Leadership for your Accounting Practice
In this episode of The Wize Guys, Brenton Ward with Jamie Johns, and Ed Chan discuss the three key areas of leadership that accounting business owners should focus on.
Because as the leader of your firm, your priorities should be leading yourself, leading the business, and leading others. Find out how you can be a better leader for your team and achieve better results.
0:36 The overarching areas of leadership
1:08 Why a firm is a reflection of the owner
2:01 Why you should be good at leading others
2:05 How being friendly and inspirational helps
2:32 How to achieve better results with leadership
3:06 The ideal successful firm setup
4:14 Understanding that ‘bypass policy’
6:16 Simple steps to becoming a better leader
6:57 The importance of solutions and outcomes in decision making
"..it's often said over the years that a firm is a reflection of the owner..” - Jamie Johns
“There any obvious gaps in what you would implement it or the leadership skills that you kind of identified within the business that you had and you've since worked on bridging..” - Brenton Ward
“And to be fair, what I think, whether we got a school or university where many of us are taught managerial skills. Are we taught leadership skills or not? I wasn't.” - Jamie Johns
“We're talking about leadership as a whole, and now talking about leadership in three different areas, the whole conversation becoming a better leader can be somewhat overwhelming.” - Brenton Ward
“One said that don't try and change others to try and change yourself first. That's easier said than done a natural and natural state is that it's everybody else's fault, not mine. And you crack this, everybody else's fault, then you can't change things unless you change yourself first. “- Ed Chan
“So if you focus your attention on the solution, you find solutions, but if you look for problems, then you find those as well. And if your excuse, you find those as well.“ - Ed Chan
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Brenton Ward: Setting the context for, I guess, the overarching areas of leadership that we look to focus on and what's required of our leadership skills within the business and outside the business. But then once we've got a bit of a handle on this, looking at some of the fonts of policies that we can start to implement this year, that really help the three areas take shape. So can you take us through these three key areas of leadership?
Jamie Johns: Yeah. Thanks, Brenton. Well, look, basically Ed often said over the years that a firm is a reflection of the owner and one particular circumstance might be where you've got a firm owner and they've got some staff and if a firm owner isn't a good manager or doesn't learn the leadership skills, they'll tend to do everything themselves.
So, there'll be very high productivity. They'll really keep the work to themselves. They won't be that good at delegating. And what happens is that they really hit this first barrier of roughly 600K to a million. They're good at letting themselves and getting good at getting results themselves.
You've got that particular scenario. The next type of scenario is you might be good at leading others and Ed touched on being too friendly with others and you might be even inspirational to others, but then, this was probably my fit that, that I failed to hold people accountable. I had failed to set systems in place around accountability and results.
You get a reflection of a firm of someone like that. And so the last point there is leading the business is really the third pillar. If you can be good at leading yourself and good at leading the others, the second point, but the third pillar is having the ability to bring that team to get results as well.
If you incorporate those three pillars and have those three things working together in combination, whether that's a sporting team or your practice, you're canning a bookkeeping practice. That is the K and that's, that's the synergy. That's where you will get, you will inspire to lead others, their productivity is great, you'll get good results and you'll be really good at leading yourself. But as soon as you sort of drop one of those off, you get anything that's less than what the vision should be of how successful firms should run. And from those three pillars in Britain, we go into, well, what are some of the things, what are some of the leadership policies that we use that we educate ourselves and educate the lead is underneath us and our entire teams of how to implement these ideas of how to go about it.
Brenton Ward: Absolutely. And just touching on these three points here, once these were made clear to were there any obvious gaps in what you would implement it or the leadership skills that you kind of identified within the business that you had and you've since worked on bridging those?
Jamie Johns: Yeah, there were heaps of caps. I'd never heard of the no bypass policy odd I'd had a team. But if you don't have a bypass policy, I was on the morning some of the senior staff and not knowing that I was doing it. I was friendly, but I wasn't keeping people accountable. I didn't have to say the daily huddle meetings, I didn't do the weekly tactical meetings.
It was all, it was all just sort of thrown together and I've got to this point, but where to now, and, quite literally, I just didn't have the knowledge that it had. Then just went on that journey to incorporate it in. And to be fair, what I think, whether we got a school or university where many of us are taught managerial skills. Are we taught leadership skills or not? I wasn't. It’s sort of this self sorted this self out for himself with, with books and, and whatnot.
I think Ed's comment was the other day. Well, a lot of its common sense. Common sense, unless you think of it and implement it, then you don't get the results you're after.
Brenton Ward: Absolutely. And Ed a sorority to you, just kind of looking at that there, we're talking about leadership as a whole, and now talking about leadership in three different areas, the whole conversation becoming a better leader can be somewhat overwhelming.
Especially if putting yourself out there and being the people person, isn't something that's kind of close to your, or in your comfort zone. So how do we approach this in terms of simple steps, towards becoming better leaders in these three areas, what do you think?
Ed Chan: Yeah, absolutely. It's but you have to, you have to start with yourself.
One said that don't try and change others to try and change yourself first. That's easier said than done a natural and natural state is that it's everybody else's fault, not mine. And you crack this, everybody else's fault, then you can't change things unless you change yourself first.
And the biggest thing for me was to focus on one thing. It's about solutions and outcomes that should, that should be the focus of all your decision making.
I'll just give you an example. We had an incident here the other day, where there was a mistake, made a problem and put in our marketing team, this particular person said to me, ‘Oh, it was Jack's fault.’ He caused the problem. And more response to him was that real care whose fault it is. I'm not interested in who fault it is. Let's just find a solution. How can we fix it?
So if you focus your attention on the solution, you find solutions, but if you look for problems, then you find those as well. And if your excuse, you find those as well. So look for solutions. That's the one single this my simplest advice I can give you, which has helped me a lot. So whenever I'm in a particular situation, I just focus on, well, how do we fix this? I don't care. We get it. Let's just fix the problem. So if you use that one thing and that's gonna help a lot,
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