Don’t Let Your Accounting Boss Keep You Down

Stern Businesswoman

Earlier this week, I caught up with an old friend who is going through her first busy season. She was having a pretty tough time with one of her accounting boss/managers and was telling me the story.

She said she was being a little giggly in the conference room and cracking jokes. She also forgot the managers dinner on multiple occasions.

I was torn.

I remember when I first started working, the more quiet, stoic, focused you were, the more you were rewarded. If you were excited, laughy, or making jokes early in your career, you could be seen as young or immature.

Greg Kyte wrote a post on authenticity at work and I felt really conflicted about this.

Part of me has always believed, as I learned in a speech from Ex-Apple Retail CFO, Michael Kramer, KYFHD (standing for keep your f&*$ing head down). Kramer was a big advocate of knowing when to keep your head down and work hard vs. being a change agent and standing out in the crowd.

I have to agree.

In the beginning of any new venture, it has always helped me to keep my head down, work incredibly hard, and gain the trust of my partners and superiors. Then, you pull the trigger on complete authenticity.

I won’t say that I am happy about that. I’m not. I wish it was the opposite. But I just didn’t see it as a young person starting their career. It was just very different, and very overwhelming.

If I was advising any young person entering the workforce, I would tell them to be guarded. Open up once you understand the culture, people, how to manage your behavior given the context.

I will say, that the degree to which I felt open was almost completely related to my supervisor at any given time. So if you’re responsible for people, I’ll leave you with this chart. I first heard about these qualities from Carl Johnson, Managing Partner at Blum Shapiro (podcast out this week), then saw the picture below 15 minutes later on LinkedIn.

If you want to create an open and authentic workplace, where your staffs (and even intern) feel comfortable in their vulnerability, here is a place to start. And if you’re working under a “boss”, do everything you can to get out. The best managers don’t make you feel tiny, they make you grow:

“Leaders don’t create followers, they create more leaders” – Tom Peters