By Matthew White, IC of Social Media
Leadership has been of utter importance to human civilizations throughout history. Since attending business school at Baruch, along with partaking in workshops, mock interviews, and networking sessions with CFOs, it has become apparent how vital leadership is in the business world. For business organizations and employees to succeed, they must possess strong leadership ability, which is a major reason it is stressed at Baruch.
So what is leadership? In the broadest sense of the word, leadership is the ability to influence a group towards achieving a common goal. While this sounds simple, breaking down what makes leadership effective is far more challenging, because good leaders do more than simply instructing people what to do and assigning tasks.
In my most recent management class at Baruch, Professor Vredenburgh spent extensive time breaking down leadership beyond its broad dictionary definition. He explained that good leaders are either task-oriented, participative, or relationship oriented. There are also various leadership styles that work, such as commanding, visionary, affiliative, democratic, pace-setting, and coaching styles.
Since there are many factors to consider, there are many ways to become a successful leader. What works for one leader may not necessarily work for another depending on circumstances and the individuals’ personality traits. However, there are several aspects about what makes leadership effective that are widely agreed on.
Leadership must inspire and motivate the team. A leader can accomplish this by setting challenging goals, providing feedback and praise, and holding people accountable. Motivation can also be enhanced naturally when leaders have another essential quality, ambition. Ambition creates hard work, determination, and a desire to achieve, which is contagious to other members of the team. A leader who lacks ambition will suck the energy out of an organization because team-members will be unmotivated.
In addition to ambition, good leaders must also have a positive attitude. A positive attitude involves holding emotions in check during difficult times and providing positive encouragement throughout the process of tackling goals. If a leader is demonstrating a negative attitude while finding people to blame when times get tough, he will drag the entire team down. If a leader does not provide positive energy, then it will make it harder for a team to accomplish goals.
In addition, good leadership is displayed when the leader understands and relates to his team-members. A good leader listens and is able to understand what each individual wants, thus being able to motivate them to achieve success. A good leader does not distance himself from his team-members, but rather engages and helps them succeed. This creates trust in the workplace, which is absolutely vital to an organization’s success.
Finally, good leaders set an example in the way they act each day. They set the tone for the team and organization by how they interact with staff, partners, and customers. These characteristics are widely shared by leaders, not only in the business world, but in politics and social settings.
By Ming Tang
What did you do on April 30th, 2015? On this day, there were numerous events occurring at Baruch College. Early in the morning, there was “Mentor for a Morning” hosted by Executives on Campus (EOC); and during club hours, there was Accounting Careerfest 2015, which was hosted by three accounting clubs - Zicklin Graduate Accounting Society (ZGAS), Zicklin Graduate Tax Society (ZTAX), and Graduate Beta Alpha Psi. Below is a recap of my experiences from these events.
In Mentor for a Morning, I was lucky to meet with Allen J. Zabusky, Managing Director of AXA. He was a very humble gentleman and shared his life and work experiences with me. Allen graduated from Baruch College and returned to school as an alumnus to help students grow. Having nine years of experience at KPMG, three years as VP of Finance at Merrill Lynch, and experience as a Controller and now Managing Director, Allen told me, “Never get yourself too comfortable; if you are, you will become bored and sloppy.” He also shared ways to improve yourself and said to ask yourself the following three questions: 1) Do you learn something every day? 2) Do you felt like you drag yourself going to work every day? 3) Where do you see yourself in two years and five years?
After my meeting with Mr. Zabusky, I was very fortunate to meet with Miriam Silverberg, President of Miriam Silverberg Associates (Publicity). The first thing she shared with me—In U.S., if you want to get a good job, you need to master English well. She provided a number of ways for me to improve my English skills. She quoted to me, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression to anyone,” which is very true and it is something we all have to work on. Also, she told me whenever you have crisis, do not lie. It is much easier to tell the truth so you do not need to remember what you said.
The third person I met with was an old friend, Anupama Ragharan, who is a Senior Manager at EY. She was very personable when sharing what her experiences. She mentioned that employees are looking for strong skillsets and a positive attitude.
After Mentor for a Morning, I took part in CareerFest 2015. As a board member, I was able to see all the hard work and dedication put towards the planning and execution of this event. This event provided opportunities for students to engage in discussion with professionals through mentoring sessions and mock interviews. I met with Charles Zhang from Grant Thornton and Defei Yu from Friedman. Both of them provided advice to face everything with a positive attitude, which is essential to survive in the public accounting world. Regardless of whatever happens in life, you should be able to learn from your experiences. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
After a five minutes break, I meet with David Kaplan, financial service Tax Manager from KPMG, who was the former President of ZGAS. Once again, he was another alumnus to come back to school to share his experiences.
Later in the day, I spent most of my time to networking with peers, who will be the future leaders of the accounting industry. We should cherish every single moment to network.
It was an honor to be part of CareerFest and I look forward to the next event in school. You should consider joining a club at Baruch so you can experience the rewarding feelings of planning and taking part in a successful event, such as CareerFest.
Life is tough, but it can be more beautiful than you can imagine. I hope you can learn from my experiences and take advantage of every opportunity to network.
Internal Committee of Social Events(your social event)
Hello ZGAS Members,