By: Scott Kroh
The speaker for the March meeting of the Tulsa Chapter of the IMA was Mr. Jim Williams and his topic was Leadership Qualities. Mr. Williams is currently the Vice President of Financial Reporting for the Residential Furnishing Segment at Leggett and Platt, Inc. His experience of over 35 years includes time spent in government, private and volunteer sectors. Much of Mr. Williams career has been spent serving as an Army Officer in a variety of roles which included Theater Finance Operations Officer for Korea, Director of Resource Management at a bilingual academy and Instructor of Leadership and Operations with his final assignment in the Army being the Deputy Director of the Defense Finance & Accounting Service’s largest office west of the Mississippi.
On the topic of Leadership Qualities he shared four qualities he felt should be utilized by leaders in a management role. The first was to be Just with those that report to you as a manager. Meaning to show respect to all of your team members regardless of their experience or tenure with your team. Listening to both sides of a proposals from a direct report before coming to a final decision and never being dismissive of their ideas before hearing them out. He feels it is equally important for team morale to always praise in public when a good or great job is done and only admonish in private when required.
Next, he said that managers should be Ethical in their dealings as a leader. This means setting both high personal standards and high standards for others. That all appearances and reputation of a group should demonstrate ethical behavior at all times regardless of situation or circumstances.
Mr. Williams also said that managers should exhibit the quality of being Dependable. Part of being dependable means being consistent in your ways and behavior. This way you and your team members can build a working relationship. Dependability also means having the ability to take “bad news” without losing emotional composure, standing behind your employees when they need your help and taking charge when in charge.
Finally, he shared that you must be Invested if you want to be a successful manager. Focus on developing your people and be supportive of them daily. Train your team to be independent and empower them to make decisions. Consider engaging in peer mentoring and even in reverse mentoring when a team member has a strength that they can teach and educate you on.
So if you are a manager with direct reports remember to exhibit the qualities of being (J)ust, (E)thical, (D)ependable, (I)nvested and may the force be with you!