CPA Chris Falco Examines the First Steps to Becoming an Effective Leader

Share Article

CPA Chris Falco, of the Washington accounting firm Falco Sult, discusses the traits that make one a strong and capable leader.

News Image
We have the knowledge and experience to use certain skills in almost any situation. If, as a leader, you don’t favor or simply lack proficiency with a skill that is deemed important to your organization, there are two steps you can take immediately to get started in your development.

People tend to play to their strengths, choosing to utilize one skill over another due to their personal proficiencies. “We have the knowledge and experience to use certain skills in almost any situation,” said Falco, a founding partner of Falco Sult. “If, as a leader, you don’t favor or simply lack proficiency with a skill that is deemed important to your organization, there are two steps you can take immediately to get started in your development.”

  • No. 1: If you know what to do differently to improve a skill or behavior, do it.
  • No. 2: Create an individual development plan. “Your development plan need not be complex,” noted Falco. “Most often, your best course of action for personal and professional growth and development is obvious and easy to recognize. The most

significant development opportunities take place on the job and are totally under your control.”

Falco further advises people to listen to others and solicit ideas, suggestions, and opinions.

Skills, Behaviors, and Attitudes to Adapt and Practice

  • Pay attention to the speaker and try to benefit from each exchange, even if the topic or information is not interesting.
  • Wait until others are completely finished presenting their point before forming your opinion and response. Avoid judging the speaker and focus on the message itself.
  • Show your attentiveness by using body language, such as eye contact, nodding, and smiling while others are speaking.
  • Listen patiently without interrupting others and avoid becoming distracted while they are speaking.
  • Ask questions that require more than a “yes” or “no” response when seeking others’ input. “Doing so could yield valuable information beyond a superficial answer,” added Falco.
  • Encourage others to share their opinions, listen to all ideas, and consider everyone’s point of view to gain the maximum benefit of others’ contributions.
  • Promote an environment that is free of judgment to encourage others to share their ideas. Allow time in meetings for items not on the agenda to be discussed.

Challenging Activities

Thinking about issues or problems according to a set of guidelines can improve the listening skills of the entire team. Make a list of issues, problems, or tasks that require input from your team. Identify ideas and suggestions your direct reports could produce for these issues and listen attentively. Ask questions that require more than a “yes” or “no” response, allowing them to elaborate on their ideas and suggestions.

“Let them do most of the talking. Follow through by implementing the suitable suggestions as soon as possible,” stated Falco. “After a direct report has offered ideas, suggestions, or opinions about a work-related issue, check yourself against the following criteria to see how well you think you listened.”

  • Did not tune out boring information; did not fake attention; was not distracted
  • Listened carefully to the main ideas and supporting points
  • Did not interrupt; waited for the person to finish before forming opinions and responding
  • Evaluated the message itself rather than the person speaking
  • Smiled, nodded, or otherwise encouraged the direct report as they spoke
  • Ensured your correct interpretation of what they meant by summarizing their points
  • Asked questions requiring more than a “yes” or “no” answer
  • Listened patiently

“This is just the first step in listening to others. You also need to create a comfortable climate for airing concerns, listen to all points of view and then summarize the input and check for understanding,” concluded stated Falco. “These skills are a critical first step to be an effective leader.”

About Falco Sult

Falco Sult looks at a business’ needs from a broad perspective by knowing where the company is in the business life cycle at all times and designing a plan accordingly. Falco Sult is a West Coast accounting firm serving clients nationwide. For more information, please call (425) 883-3111, or visit http://www.falcosult.com. The office is located at 16150 NE 85th Street, Suite 203, Redmond, WA 98052.

For media inquiries, please call THE NALA at 805.650.6121, ext. 361.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

NALA PR
the NALA
(866) 767-3238
Email >
Visit website