More Accounting Tomorrow Posts

Lessons in leadership from preseason football

August 27, 2012

When it comes to football, my husband and I are in two distinctly different camps. He is the die-hard fan that attends games in minus 10-degree weather and shows up whether the team is winning big or deep in a losing streak. I, on the other hand, belong to camp “Fair Weather.” I attend games when it’s sunny and beautiful and during periods of winning.

Recently, I attended a preseason Chicago Bears game with my husband…and they won! However, even as a self-proclaimed fair-weather fan, the win was not what made me happy. It was the quick lesson in leadership that had my leaving the stadium feeling fulfilled. Here’s what happened:

The Bears were ahead the entire game, but in the last few minutes the score gap started to close. However, despite the threat of loss, the coach did not pull any players. He left his fourth-string in the game, allowing everyone to have their time on the field. Some may not know, but during pre-season, the entire team plays—not just the star players. The coach clearly displayed a confidence in his players, allowing them to rise to the occasion and prove themselves. I was amazed and moved by this tactic, and it got me thinking about how I run my firm. Are my employees aware of the confidence I have in them? Do I over-manage staff, or do I allow them to rise to the occasion?

While I believe I’ve created a positive working culture, there is always room for improvement. As firm leaders it’s important to stop and evaluate our leadership skills. We should be asking questions such as: Have I ever thwarted an employee’s attempt to learn and grow? How can I encourage employees to take on new challenges? What staff skills are being underutilized? Do I over-manage staff and in the process snuff any ambition to shine?

To maintain a positive firm culture, leaders must encourage and foster growth in staff. With that said, I challenge you to assign some “preseason” client accounts to a few of your up-and-coming staffers. Then let them run with the ball!

Jody L. Padar, CPA, MST, is a Certified Public Accountant experienced with Complex Federal & State Income Tax Compliance for Business & Individuals. Jody is an adjunct professor at Oakton Community College, where she teaches Taxation and QuickBooks Courses. She is part of Intuit Trainer Writer Network and speaks nationally on various Technologies and Taxation. She can be reached at

Comments (1)
Great analogy Jody, and it is hard to watch them fail. But, it is in ffailing or just learning from a mistake that helps people grow and gain confidence.
Posted by FranHen | Wednesday, September 05 2012 at 10:26AM ET
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