My last project afforded me a new opportunity; for the first time, I would have direct reports. One of the key factors in demonstrating growth at Accenture is leadership, and I was thrilled to embrace the chance to lead. As I met my analysts, fresh out of college, I reflected on all the lessons – good and bad – that I had learned in my years with the firm. I shared one of my favorite adages, that a rising tide lifts all boats, and offered to answer any question they could devise.
They challenged me for every detail from each of my projects, and I explained not only the end results, but the process of learning what made my work better as well as my work-life balance. While my prior work had given me sole ownership of documentation and singular responsibility, I embraced the chance to delegate and manage. When they grew frustrated with the work load, I led an exercise where we mapped the work process, identified bottlenecks and devised a plan to mitigate those issues. While they understood the work well, they were not comfortable voicing concerns; I explained that unless we are aware of those problems and could address them, they would loom in the future as likely failure points. I realized that I would have to be more of a manager of tasks than overall project lead until they could take full ownership of the tasks and made every effort to help them rise to that level. Where at first they had hesitated to contact clients, they were now empowered to pursue the resources they required and make decisions to escalate issues. During this time, I realized how my first boss had held my hand and given me highly specific instructions until I could run on my own, I was inspired to write him a note of gratitude for his patience.
When I was transferred to a new role, I told my team to continue to keep in touch and to always feel free to contact me. A network should always grow, never shrink, and maintaining contacts allows us to maximize our knowledge within Accenture and better help our clients. While I’m delighted to be in my new role, where I am challenged to learn and apply knowledge quickly, I am grateful to have had the opportunity to pass on some of my experience.