Latest News

Becoming an influential leader takes practice

Written on Apr 7, 2022

By Jessica Salerno-Shumaker, OSCPA senior content manager  

Leadership is meant for everyone, not just for those in positions of seniority or those with decades of experience.  

“We can all be leaders,” said Tracey Holecek, CPA, shareholder and managing director of client service at Kaiser Consulting. “No matter what level you are at in an organization, we all have the ability to influence others.”  

Holecek will present at the Hot Topics for CPAs Virtual Conference on April 26 covering “Make an Impact: Leading with Influence.” She said whether you’re in a senior position, you can have influence with your circle of peers or teammates. Becoming aware of your leadership style is about knowing yourself.   

“It’s about becoming self-aware of what your own strengths and traits are, and where there are opportunities to strengthen, build and develop those,” she said.  

Self-assessment tools can be helpful in growing these skills and understanding yourself, along with opportunities to grow within your organization. Holecek also said that leadership style can be influenced by a company’s culture and vice versa. For example, if you find yourself in a negative culture, you might have more of a positive leadership style to raise people’s spirits and create change. 

Being an influential leader is about inspiring people to follow you, Holecek said, and not forcing people to do what you say. She said the willingness of those supporting you is key.  

“It's not a direct force,” she said. “It's a persuasion based on behaviors and how people feel about what you're presenting.”  

Just because someone has an impressive title doesn’t mean they’re a leader, she said, and it’s a common misconception that people will support them because of their level. Rather, true value lies in listening to what others have to say and influencing positive, lasting change.  

“We can all be influential and to some people, it might come naturally. But I think most of us have to work at it,” Holecek said. “And it's intentional and it takes practice.”