Leadership Lessons – The Importance of Rest

Accountancy practices large and small will be ramping up activity and galloping towards the busiest time of the year.

But what good is a successfully delivered tax season if it results in leaders who are on their knees come February?

In this article we want to help leaders in accounting practices up and down the country understand that rest is just as important as productivity and if you don’t factor in enough manpower to your firm to allow your leaders to rest, you’ll be starting 2022 on the wrong foot and risk having a firm that’s burntout by the Spring.

As a busy leader it’s very normal to forget both the importance of rest and even how to do it!

But before we explore ways that you can start ro re-connect with rest, let’s take a moment to understand why we need to. The concept of rest is pretty straightforward to understand: investing your time in regenerating your energy will lead to an increase in productivity, creativity and growth. If you don’t rest, you won’t grow as a person and a professional, you won’t be innovative or produce useful ideas and you certainly won’t inspire a team.

Here are some other reasons why resting is a non-negotiable activity for a successul leader in accountancy. 

Your brain is a muscle. And just like a bicep that’s lifting weights or a hamstring that’s propelling someone around a sports field, if it isn’t allowed time to regenerate, it will wither. If you want your professional knowledge, skills and leadership to flourish, you’ll need to factor in rest.

If you don’t take a moment to stop, you’re not allowing any time for reflection and consequently you (and your firm) will fail to learn from your mistakes. And as a leader it’s your job to learn what works and what doesn’t and making bad decisions again and again is not a mistake you can afford to make. So taking true time out to pause will allow reflection and growth for you and your teams.

Ever felt like you’ve fallen out of love with what you do? Nine times out of ten it’s because you’re not taking any time away from it. If you enjoy baking as a hobby but set yourself a target to bake 13 hours a day, six days a week, you’ll forget why you ever enjoyed it in the first place. This applies to all aspects of our lives, work included.

But let’s get real. It’s manic in the world of accountancy practice so how can leaders find the time to rest?

Start with the basics and prioritise your sleep. Sleep isn’t an optional activity for leaders who are high performing. They know how much their mind and body needs to perform at its optimum and they ring-fence that at all costs.

And while you’re at it, take a look at whether you’re meeting your other basic human needs. You won’t win any prizes for being the leader who burned out because you were failing to exercise, hydrate and rest – even prisoners are afforded those basic rights so don’t think anyone will be admiring you if your neglect to claim yours!

Take a look at your workload. Are you a perfectionist? Is your need to micro-manage everything impacting not only your own workload but the attitudes of the people who work for you? Take a look at this article and see if you recognise any of these traits.

Are you outsourcing as much as you possibly can? Again successful modern practices are the ones that concentrate on smart working and efficiency – if you don’t need to be the one that completes a task, delegate or outsource – we’re here to help with your recruitment as an obvious place to start!

Recognise that the time you feel least able to step away and rest is likely to be the time that you most need to rest. And just once or twice, try doing what feels totally counter intuitive in those mile-a-minute moments when you feel least able to pause. Recognise the sensation and step away for an hour, a day, maybe more. And when you come back we’re absolutely sure you’ll be better able to perform and see what’s going on from a blue-sky viewpoint. A refreshed brain is much more likely to spot obvious solutions to problems than a burntout one.

And if that refreshed and rested brain and blue sky perspective spots what may be a really obvious workforce related problem, take a pause, don’t be reactive and consult the very best niche recruiters in the industry for advice on how to plug a temporary gap with an interim accountant (or two) and how to build a bigger picture, permanent workforce that’s fit to take your firm into the next era of accountancy (with some space and time for rest factored in!)

We can’t wait to hear from you! 


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