Now more than ever before, strong leadership is critical to maintaining a competitive edge in business. In professional services firms such as architects, engineers, technology, consulting and law, people and talent are the staples of success. From start to finish, people are the driving force behind the value chain, so making sure your employees are aligned with the company’s vision is essential. Here are some proven lessons when leading in professional services:
Make Coaching/Mentoring a Priority
Not only does mentoring foster a culture of learning, but it also shows employees you are invested in their career growth which nurtures your firm’s leadership chain. The first step in aligning your employees with your company’s mission is to understand their career objectives. Sustained growth in a successful professional service firm correlates to the successful development of all employees.
Firms that keep their principal leaders aligned with each other and cultivate a sense of stewardship within their business culture tend to perform better than their competitors. Servant leaders exhibit humility and integrity while acting as a proactive part of the team. As a steward of your company, approach each day focusing more on contributing to your team rather than what your employees can provide you.
The hiring and development of talent is key to attracting a community of people who share the same values. Potential and current employees care about the reputation of the company they work for, which includes the brand you show to potential clients and the social responsibility efforts taking place behind the scenes. As a leader, set the example by making kindness and volunteerism a priority. And while the leader sets the example, your company culture should be built by all employees.
Importance of Teams and Collaboration
Like mentoring, encouraging collaboration will foster a happier and more educated workforce. It inspires a sense of community and the feeling they are part of something bigger than themselves. The most successful firms maintain a strong sense of collaboration and innovation. This is no accident. These firms have a career model in place that promotes talent flow.
Communicate with Clarity
An effective leader is able to clearly communicate the vision for the firm. When providing feedback or discussing project ideas, be as specific and concise as possible to avoid any confusion. If you find yourself constantly running off on tangents or using excessive words, chances are people will lose focus and tune you out before you make your point.
Lend an Empathetic Ear
Great leaders also know when it is time to listen. It’s important to engage in meaningful conversations with your team in order to build trust and develop authentic connections. When your team feels you are listening, they will be more loyal and feel a sense of belonging.
Don’t Be Afraid of Change
One of the most destructive sentences a leader can say is, “Well, this is the way we’ve always done it.” Change can certainly be bittersweet if unexpected, but it is best when you are the one to initiate it and can control it. Change should be an intentional strategic move rather than a counterattack, or worse stagnation.
The takeaway from these leadership lessons is to make sure you’re working alongside your employees as part of the team, investing in their future, and not afraid to conquer the unknown. If you have built a strong team who feel confident sharing new ideas, you and your company are bound for success and to stay ahead of the competition. If you need more ideas on leadership or creating a succession plan for the next generation of talent in your organization, contact an Aldrich consultant to create a plan of action.
Meet the Author
Aldrich CPAs + Advisors LLP
Steve is a Partner Emeritus of the Aldrich Group of Companies, which includes Aldrich CPAs + Advisors LLP, Aldrich Wealth LP, Aldrich Benefits LP, Aldrich Retirement Solutions LP, and Aldrich Technology LLC. He began his accounting career in 1974 and served as the president and CEO of Aldrich for over 30 years. In addition, he…
- Strategic planning and business consultation
- Executive coaching and human resources
- Business mergers, sales and acquisitions
- Certified Public Accountant