How to Establish Authority and Leadership: The Mindset That Gets You There

Becoming a Better Leader

Being a respectable leader appears attainable until you reach the point when you take complete control over your business. Fortunately, there’s a way to overcome that challenge. 

Heather Townsend is a sought-after growth expert and best-selling business author. But it’s a far cry from how she started her career. After she obtained her engineering degree from Oxford University and worked as an engineer, she quickly realized the job wasn’t for her. So, she went on to seek a different career path.

Heather spent a brief spell in supply chain management before joining a top five accountancy firm in the UK. And it was there that she became intrigued by how one could establish authority and hone leadership skills. Not long after, she realized that there were talented people who couldn’t move up the ranks and build a career. And there were also those she describes as “a bit flaky”, those who didn’t seem to have the capacity to rise to the top. Surprisingly, it’s the flaky ones that managed to climb the corporate ladder, more so than the talented people. 

Why? Heather understood that it was because of their mindset. These flaky people were able to adapt quickly to the rapidly changing business environment. Their competitive advantage was that they had the ability to embrace business changes and technologies. They acted on intuition, rather than getting stuck in analysis paralysis. You can do the same.

To help you establish authority and become a better leader, this article explores some of the critical aspects of the winning mindset. 

The Mindset of a Bookkeeping Industry Leader

What kind of mindset makes you a great leader? This is a tricky question to answer since each person may have different challenges when spearheading their business. However, there are some general guidelines that can help most business people, bookkeepers included. 

To figure out what drives the winning mindset, Heather had to go deep into neuroscience. She then figured out that much of the leadership stuff doesn’t have anything to do with what we know about neuroscience. How come? The study hasn’t yet explained where your passion comes from. It also doesn’t bring you closer to the complex mechanisms that drive people to become great leaders. To cut to the chase, your capacity to lead depends on what you’re passionate about. Beyond that, you can channel that passion for motivating others to excel. 

Now, the key is to understand that, as a bookkeeper, you’re the salt of the Earth. The work that you do is critical to the success of others. However, many bookkeepers lost their passion for fear of becoming redundant in the advent of automation. If you feel the same, you’ve got to snap out of that mindset - it’s not like automation is going to wipe out the entire industry. The reality is that most business owners need someone to help them shepherd their finances and make the business stronger. This knowledge can help rekindle your passion for the bookkeeping business. But having the right mindset isn’t only about your passion. 

You also need to understand that the way you are today is the accumulation of your thoughts, ideas, and experiences. It’s your worldview. Now, what if someone came in and said, “Oh, there’s a better way…”? It’s a sort of interruption indeed. However, you need to be able to see and accept new things. Being open to improvement is a critical aspect of your mindset. It’s what allows you to create new pathways and ways of thinking that can achieve remarkable outcomes. Most of all, it’s hard to position yourself as an authority if you keep reverting to your old habits and behaviors. 

Building Authority and Leadership Through Books

Books are an invaluable source of information and motivation for you to improve your leadership skills. Not only that, but they can also help you overcome hesitation when you’re faced with something new. The bottom line is that books can have a significant impact on your life and business. 

To be clear, the idea is to use books as inspiration to take action. But, of course, you can also get first-hand insight into what taking action involves and how to overcome the common pitfalls of growing your business. If you can do all that, you’ll have greater clarity about your business and career and become a better leader. 

In a way, books help you create a great little roadmap that leads to professional growth and business success. They may point you in the right direction about what skills and actions to focus on. You may even find step-by-step frameworks that you can use to improve your leadership skills. Always remember that education is a vital aspect of professional growth, whether it’s in terms of becoming better at decision-making, people management, or something else. 

Now, all of that sounds great, but which books should be on your reading list? 

The book that you absolutely must read is Atomic Habits by James Clear. It’s an actionable guide on how you can build and sustain habits that will truly move the dial in your business and life. The main takeaway is that you don’t need to change how you do things from the ground up. It can be enough to do your best to improve in small increments, like 1% a day. Because a year later, you’ll be amazed by the cumulative effect of your new habits. 

Think Fast Think Slow by Daniel Kahneman is another book that comes highly recommended. And most likely, you’ll keep going back to after the first read. It’s because it provides unique insights into the systems that inform your thought process. That’s why the book is excellent for improving your decision-making skills. And it points out the biases and faults that may thwart your progress. 

Books have a pivotal role in your development as a leader.

Are You Ready to Excel?

Indeed you are! Knowing that your mindset is the key may urge you to start changing for the better. But remember that you need to trust your abilities and what you bring to the table. It’s also worth repeating that automation and software solutions won’t put you out of business. In fact, it’s quite the opposite, they may help you scale your business faster if you’re courageous enough to adopt them. 

The bottom line is that you have to open your mind to novelties that have the power to streamline your operations. You can combine technical innovations with the wisdom gained from books and through other people to put yourself in a mighty position to lead others. 

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Michael Palmer

Article by Michael Palmer

Michael is the CEO of Pure Bookkeeping, the host of The Successful Bookkeeper podcast and an acclaimed business coach who has helped hundreds of bookkeepers across the world push through their fears and exponentially grow their businesses and achieve the quality of life they've always wanted.