Will Leading like a Kid Be Enough Tomorrow?
Throughout the course of my career in tax technology, I have seen all kinds of leaders. However, the ones I have admired the most always demonstrate the same set of leadership qualities. Fearlessness. Patience. Determination. Collaboration. Enthusiasm. Bill Fleming, president of Skanska USA, explained his ideas on what makes a leader this week in his New York Times’ interview, when he quoted Russell Ewing, a British journalist, who said: “A boss creates fear; a leader, confidence. A boss fixes blame; a leader corrects mistakes. A boss knows all; a leader asks questions. A boss makes work drudgery; a leader makes it interesting. A boss is interested in himself or herself; a leader is interested in the group.”
In our society, there has been an ongoing debate about whether leaders are born or made. While I do think that leadership skills can be improved on, it is my opinion that leaders are born. Nowhere was this more evident to me than as I watched my two sons – ages 9 and 7 – this summer. It wasn’t readily apparent to me, but as I sat back and reflected on our summer adventures and browsed through pictures I had taken, I couldn’t help but smile as I realized my two little boys are growing up. And, in their endeavor to become adults as quickly as possible, they surprise me by already exhibiting some of the qualities I think it takes to be a great leader. I couldn’t be more proud of them!
However, I wonder if these same leadership qualities – and the leaders born with them – will be what is required of our future leaders. Will there be a transition more to leaders that are made because of a changing global environment, improvements in technology and tools, and a workforce that could be spread around the world? How will this impact our current leaders as they move forward in their careers? What will our future leaders need and how will parents and our schools better prepare them?
In a recent Penelope Trunk article, How to tell if you have leadership potential, she said: “When you look at your own potential for leadership, look at your capacity for transparency, your ability to deliver difficult news to the people around you, and your interest in inspiring grand behavior in people who might not be feeling so grand. These are the tasks of leaders today. It’s a different challenge than leaders of earlier generations, which is why so many people fear there’s a leadership vacuum. In fact, we are entering a new realm of leadership that is collaborative and uplifting. And for some of you this will mean your time has come.”
How do you think what Penelope says will impact leaders in the tax department? What do you think will be required of our future leaders in tax? I would love to hear from you. Please share in the comments below.