Rule with an iron fist? Not so much.
There’s nothing like the perks of power. At least until that first unpleasant problem gets lobbed over the wall and lands at your feet.
Leadership, as you may have already discovered, can be tricky. It requires knowing how to do things like resolve conflicts before situations get ugly. And how not to do things like rely on military-style command-and-control. In fact, understanding the difference between leadership and authority—and learning to improve the former by being frugal with the latter—may be the biggest eye-opener of all.
As with most “Essential Skills For Success,” leadership is something that has to be learned – even “natural-born leaders” don’t know everything. And the best time to start preparing to take the wheel is before you actually have to turn the ship. (Depending on your work environment, you could find yourself thrust into a position of leadership at almost any time, even if it’s “just” a small project or assignment. So you should be prepared to seize opportunity whenever it crosses your path.)
One good way to learn is by searching out the effective leaders in your organization; find a mentor and watch what they do. Another good way is to take advantage of the wellspring of leadership wisdom conveniently assembled here. And when you feel like you’re ready to take the next step, consider applying for the AICPA Leadership Academy—a selective program designed to identify and inspire new generations of leaders.