5 Leadership Books Accountants Should Read Right Now

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As the world continues to change rapidly, finance professionals are turning to their shelves for advice on how to lead in times of uncertainty.

We asked several CPAs what leadership books they are reading right now to help them navigate a changing landscape.

Here are their suggestions.

A nicer question, by Warren Berger.

People are sometimes afraid to ask questions for fear of appearing ignorant, but in 2014 A nicer question, Warren Berger argues that asking the right questions with a curious mindset can lead to better solutions in both life and business.

“I decided to read this book because, with the rapid pace of change that our profession has experienced, especially over the past year, it is more important than ever to ask the right questions,” said Jessica E. McClain, CPA, Controller at Brand USA, based in Washington, DC “Asking questions can spark innovation, uncover unanticipated problems, risks and challenges, and unleash organizational value. “

McClain said his next reading will be Questions are the answer: a revolutionary approach to your toughest problems at work and in life by Hal Gregersen.

The infinite game, by Simon Sinek.

In The infinite gameSimon Sinek argues that unlike over games like chess or baseball, business and life don’t follow a clear set of rules. As a result, leaders who use a limited mindset to play the “endless games” of life and business might find it more difficult to innovate and navigate a rapidly changing landscape. For example, a leader with a limited mindset might focus on beating the competition, while a leader with an infinite mindset would focus on the purpose of their business and actively work on it. create long-term value for its customers.

Adopting an infinite mindset has perhaps never been more important than it is today, as the world continues to change from moment to moment. Cheryl R. Olson, CPA, CGMA, solutions strategist at Clark Nuber PS, said her firm’s leadership team read this book in 2020 to help them align their practices during the pandemic.

“It was important for us to make decisions today for the leaders of tomorrow to ensure a strong and viable business in the future,” said Olson.

More time to think: the power of independent thinking, by Nancy Kline.

Quality decisions result from quality thinking. In this follow-up To Time to think: listen to ignite the human mind, Nancy Kline describes 10 ways people can start thinking imaginatively and rigorously, while creating a “thinking environment” for more effective teams.

“When things change, it’s even more important that we understand the conditions that foster the best thinking in ourselves and in our teams,” said Dan Griffiths, CPA, CGMA, president of Salt Lake City-based Lume Deodorant. . “This book describes exactly what we can do to help everyone think clearer, faster, and deeper.”

The EQ leader: instilling passion, creating shared goals and building meaningful organizations through emotional intelligence, by Steven J. Stein, Ph.D.

In The head of equalizer, Steven Stein argues that today’s greatest leaders are not the authoritarian figures of the past, but rather individuals who inspire their teams with authenticity, coaching, insight and innovation. Especially after the events of the past year, teams need leaders with high levels of emotional intelligence who can strike the right balance between compassion and motivation. Jaclyn T. Badeau, CPA, CGMA, career coach and founder of Badeau Consulting LLC, based in Lexington, Ky., Recommends that accountants read a book on emotional intelligence, whether it’s Stein’s or Ego vs EQ: How Top Leaders Overcome 8 Ego Traps Using Emotional Intelligence by Jen Shirkani.

“Research shows that people who use emotional intelligence (EQ) skills a lot are happier, more resilient in the face of obstacles, better leaders and more successful,” said Badeau. “In fact, EQ is the biggest predictor of career success.”

The innovator’s dilemma: when new technologies are failing large companies, by Clayton Christensen.

The past year has proven that organizations and professionals who fail to innovate are at increased risk of failure. In The innovator’s dilemma, Clayton Christensen examines how various companies have responded to emerging technologies and offers advice on how to capitalize on disruptive innovation.

“While this is a book on how businesses can dominate their industries (or fail) with disruptive innovation, it is an important reminder to CPAs of the importance of growing and innovate with our customers to deliver a great customer experience and deliver value, “said Jim Buttonow, CPA / CITP, senior vice president of post-filing tax services at Jackson Hewitt Tax Service Inc., based in Summerfield, in North Carolina.

– Hannah Pitstick is a freelance writer based in North Carolina. To comment on this article or suggest an idea for another article, contact Chris Baysden, a JofA associate director at [email protected].

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