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CPA Now Blog

Leading with Humanity

In a human-centered, inclusive, and collaborative work environment, successes in business and leadership are defined by relationships, values, and the kindness shown to others. This blog highlights the humanistic leadership characteristics of trust, leading by example, and kindness.

Apr 1, 2024, 05:03 AM

Elizabeth WilsonBy Elizabeth Wilson, CPA, MBA


It has long been my belief that every one of us has a part in teaching and influencing future generations of leaders. Some impart wisdom in the classroom, some teach on the job, some influence by blazing a trail, and some do it all. Regardless of the “where,” the end goal is the same: sharing new ideas that result in growth and lead to success. But how is success measured?

Success in leadership is subjective but, in my opinion, it is defined by more than just certifications, titles, and paychecks. True success in business and leadership is defined by relationships, values, and the kindness shown to others. It is human-centered, inclusive, and collaborative. Coupled with technical knowledge and skill, these components are the foundation of transformational leadership and the legacy of learning I wish to leave with future generations of leaders. This blog in particular highlights the humanistic leadership characteristics of trust, leading by example, and kindness.

Trust

Trust is the foundation for all relationships. People will work with you when they believe they are interacting with the authentic you, when they have faith in your judgment and competence, and when they feel that you care about them. Others must believe you have their best interest at heart, will fight for their growth and success, and that you will roll up your sleeves and get in the trenches with them. Effective leaders promote a feeling of safety while, at the same time, encouraging independence and risk-taking. Without trust none of this is possible.

Leading by Example

Young leader showing the way and inspiring people to follow.Leaders are constantly in the spotlight. Someone is always watching, imitating, and learning from their words and actions. Leadership is not about telling people what to do, but rather it is showing the way and inspiring people to follow. Leading by example is a style in which you model the behavior you want to see in your team members, such as respect, friendliness, honesty, kindness, and tolerance to name a few. Exhibit unselfish behavior and make it a priority to do things for other people without expecting a reward. Express appreciation and gratitude and offer thanks and compliments. When you lead by example, you don’t push team members toward excellence; rather, you actively demonstrate that excellence. There is no better way to influence than by being a role model.

Kindness

Lastly, and most importantly, kindness comes into play. Showing kindness is so simple to do, yet oftentimes it is forgotten. Many people regard kindness as a weakness, but that is far from the truth. Kindness is like a muscle that functions best when trained properly. Be considerate, praise others for work well done, and show appreciation. Your behavior has the power to influence and inspire people to be the very best versions of themselves.

Bringing humanity to leadership is not just a good goal to have, it is essential in both good times and challenging times. In a world increasingly defined by rapid change and complexity, humanistic leadership enables teams to navigate challenges with resilience and grace while nurturing the potential of every team member. Take a moment to reflect on your own leadership style. What can you do to evolve your humanistic leadership skills?


Elizabeth Wilson, CPA, MBA, is chief financial officer and treasurer with Cedar Crest College in Allentown, Pa., and is a member of the Pennsylvania CPA Journal Editorial Board. She can be reached at esvizz13@gmail.com.


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Statements of fact and opinion are the authors’ responsibility alone and do not imply an opinion on the part of the PICPA's officers or members. The information contained herein does not constitute accounting, legal, or professional advice. For actionable advice, you must engage or consult with a qualified professional.



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Disclaimer

Statements of fact and opinion are the authors’ responsibility alone and do not imply an opinion on the part of PICPA officers or members. The information contained in herein does not constitute accounting, legal, or professional advice. For professional advice, please engage or consult a qualified professional.

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