By Jim Wong, CPA | September 10, 2014

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”
– Abraham Lincoln

Becoming a leader or manager can seemingly give you power and influence over your staff, colleagues and peers, but when it comes down to that power, how you ultimately lead your business function shows your level of success. For a leader/manager running the finance and IT operations, it’s more than just overseeing the bottom line and computer systems, it’s also about managing people.

And even at the leadership or management level, everyone can make mistakes.

Often times, what you do following your mistakes with your employees or processes, shows your level of character – good or bad.

Recently, there have been a few industry articles, such as the popular blog Leadership Freak and industry publication CPA Insider, that touch upon similar topics surrounding leadership/management behavior.

We thought it was a good idea to share a few Do’s and Don’ts from their lists and ours. Take a look:


1. Be human

Everyone likes to think that a leader or manager deep down is really just like them. So, it’s OK to show humility or vulnerability at times, without fearing a loss of respect. It’s also important to be empathetic to others’ emotions and circumstances. This will build trust with those you work with and will drive productivity and morale.

2. Make decisions

As a leader or manager, your role is to make the hard decisions. Whether you’re delegating the company’s budget forecasting to your top accounting professional or implementing an entirely new network system, you must make a finite decision. Any indecisiveness among your teams can cause confusion, frustration and can impede productivity.

3. Remain calm

Even if the company’s financial condition is looking sour or if you’ve lost an important IT asset, you have to stay composed in every situation. Take a breath and show your employees why you’re at the leadership or management level that you are, and handle each circumstance with grace and poise.


1. Fail to communicate

If you keep your employees and colleagues in the dark about important information that directly affects them, you can lose your trust and appear dishonest. This can lead to a lack of motivation among your team. In order for high productivity, everyone needs to be on the same page and that starts with the leaders and managers communicating down appropriately.

2. Be greedy

Especially in the finance and IT functions, a leader or manager cannot be greedy. Making financial decisions or big data decisions for your own personal gain when the company at large is at stake can not only breach legal and ethical commitments but can diminish trust, resources and work levels among your teams.

3. Misuse talent

While a leader or manager may think that they know best, you really have to recognize the expert levels under you. If someone excels in a certain area, add more job responsibilities that correlate to that expertise instead of assigning them tasks that may take them longer to complete or catch onto. Knowing your employees’ talents and putting them to good use is key to grow any business function.

What are other Do’s and Don’ts to add to the list? Comment below and let us know!

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