M A Y / J U N E 2 0 2 0 12 nebraska cpas on the personalities you are trying to motivate or situations you find yourself in. What success looks like: Managers who successfully develop the skills of influence are savvy communicators who think strategically before responding and practice active listening while appealing to all teammembers. This manager is accessible to the team, clients, and prospects, and demonstrates gratitude for the contributions of others. As he or she earns credibility with other team members, they’ll be viewed as a leader and will more easily be able to rally others around organizational goals. Problem-Solving & Decision-Making Effective problem-solving is a powerful tool for managers. It allows them to lead teams toward success, reduce frustrations, foster collaboration, and encourage continuous improvement. Decisive and focused leaders have the ability to remain even-keeled in times of high stress and pay attention to detail, yet they are not closed off to new ideas or a different take. How do you grow these skills? • Focus on the solution, not the problem – Not only does this approach reframe a challenge in a positive way, but it also helps leaders keep an open mind. Cultivate a habit of deep probing: think meticulously, take all angles into account, and be relentless in your pursuit of new information. Often, the solution is right there in front of us, so it’s important that managers recognize patterns in behavior or processes that are the crux of the issue. • Get out of your own head – Nobody knows it all. That simple statement is not revolutionary, but some don’t heed that truism and too often that is a roadblock to solving problems andmaking informeddecisions. The strongest leaders are receptive todifferent perspectives and seek out opportunities to test their assumptions. This stems from a basic humility about leadership and a respect for the talents and insights of teammembers. Stay open-minded, curious, and engaged with your teammembers and colleagues. This mindset will allow you to stay nimble if circumstances around the problem or decision change unexpectedly. What success looks like: Sometimes problems fly under the radar, so managers must ask substantive questions and keenly listen to responses to detect lower profile issues and isolate the root cause. A decisive leader invests the time to understand everyone’s concerns and welcomes feedback through brainstorming sessions. Keep in mind that being decisive does not mean making snap decisions; instead, strong problem solvers systematically think through facts, analyze the situation, and find an accurate and appropriate solution. As new managers and emerging professionals consider the above skills, here is one final piece of advice: don’t go it alone. It is important to form trusted relationships that support your personal growth. Find amentor in your firmwho can be your sounding board, help you work through challenges, and offer advice and guidance. There’s no need for leadership to be lonely; more engagement and a continued openness to feedback will help you tap into your leadership abilities and fully embrace professional opportunities. t Kathy Gutierrez, MSHRD, CPLP, PHR, is director of human resources for RKL LLP in Lancaster, Pa. She can be reached at email@example.com. Reprinted with permission of the Pennsylvania Institute of CPAs.