In the Spotlight: Emerging Leaders Network

Ryan Davis, Manager Crowe LLP Rachelle Harriott, SVP/Compliance Officer, Magyar Bank

Q. What do you believe are the most important qualities for an emerging leader to possess?

Harriott: There are several important qualities that an effective Emerging Leader possesses to optimize their role in an organization. Some of the most important qualities include:

A. Communication Skills: Strong communication skills are essential for a leader to convey their ideas, provide feedback and resolve conflicts effectively. Clear and transparent communication is vital when making decisions and effectively expressing the rationale for the output and relevant details to their team members. A leader should be able to listen actively and express themselves clearly and eloquently.

B. Strategic Thinking: A leader should be able to think imperatively and strategically to make decisions that align with the organization’s long-term goals.

C. Decisiveness: This is a crucial aspect of leadership development. This characteristic inspires confidence in the team, navigates challenges effectively and drives positive outcomes for both the company and employees.

D. Accountability: Acknowledge and take responsibility for the outcome of one’s decisions, whether they positively or negatively impact the definitive results.

Davis: Adaptability. Being able to stay up to date with the world around you as well as the individuals within your organization. We live in a fast-paced environment, and it is only getting faster.

Q. What benefits do you value most in your organization?

Harriott:

A. There are several benefits that are highly valued in my organization. One benefit that I value the most is the Employee Recognition Program. This program has a significant positive impact on employee satisfaction, retention, employee engagement, performance and the overall productivity of the organization.

B. The company acknowledges and rewards employees for their contribution and efforts while increasing employee morale, which leads to a more cohesive and collaborative environment.

Davis: I value the overall culture of my organization from top to bottom. The partners are easy to talk to in and out of work and will always make time for me. The managers and staff work hard and play hard and have become close friends of mine.

Q. What strategies do you find work best to motivate you and your team?

Harriott: There are different strategies that I utilize to motivate both myself and my team members. It is important to get to know each team member, as the motivational approach may differ within individual specific needs and preferences.

A. Appreciate and recognize team effort and achievements. Recognition and rewards usually motivate individuals’ high-level performance.

B. Provide constructive feedback to assist team members in evaluating their performance relative to their expectations. Clear expectations guide team members in the right direction and promote motivation.

C. Lead by example to inspire and motivate the team to emulate the same level of commitment and dedication.

D. Encourage teamwork and collaboration. Individuals are often more motivated when they feel like they are a part of a cohesive group working toward similar goals.

Davis: In the public accounting industry, there is no ‘one size fits all’ strategy. I am part of multiple teams consisting of three to six individuals, all coming from different backgrounds, with different ambitions and priorities. I try to make a connection with my co-workers, treat them with respect and let them know that we are all in this together.

Q. How do you approach goal setting for yourself and others?

Harriott: The key to setting both personal and professional goals is characterized by flexibility, adaptability, accountability and consistent effort to achieve successful goals.

A. Self-motivation — Stay motivated and seek assistance or support when needed.

B. Accountability — Stay accountable or share your goals with someone who holds you liable.

C. Learn from failure — Understand that not all goals are attainable at the first attempt. Recognize obstacles and utilize them as an opportunity for growth.

D. Collaboration — Involving individuals in the goal-setting process can increase their commitment and hold them accountable. It increases motivation and decreases failure.

E. Monitoring progress and offering feedback is vital for goal accomplishment. However, understand that adjustment may be necessary if it becomes apparent that the goal is unrealistic.

Davis: I may be more on the extreme side of this case, but I treat everything as a goal. Starting all the way from getting out of bed and brushing my teeth to sending an email or picking up the phone to give someone a call. These little goals get me one step closer to finishing a deadline and keep me motivated during the process. When taking this approach, I remind myself and others not to miss the forest for the trees. Taking a step back and reflecting on how far you’ve come and if you are moving in the right direction is just as important as setting these micro-goals.

Q. If you could go back and give yourself one piece of advice before entering the workforce, what would it be?

Harriott: Reflecting on my entry into the workforce, if I could offer myself one piece of advice it would be prioritizing dedication to continuously learning and personal development as a means to cultivate and nurture growth. The industry is in a perpetual state of evolution and expansion. Therefore, the competence and knowledge that holds significance in the present professional environment may potentially lose relevance in the future. Demonstrating perseverance in acquiring new skills and behavior while acknowledging the importance of recognizing and preparing to overcome challenges is vital in one’s career journey.

Davis: Understand that you don’t know what you don’t know. You need to walk into the workforce with an open mind and absorb as much information as you possibly can. Take it day by day and realize that while the overload of information can be stressful, the payoff of taking the time to process the information will be well worth it.

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