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  • Writer's picturePGAA Tax

We only recruit tax leaders with these 11 traits

After over 20 years of recruiting tax leaders across various industries, PGAA Tax noticed a distinct set of qualities shared by all truly fantastic tax managers, directors, and top-seated tax leaders.




1. They Care (genuinely)

Exceptional leaders realize their priority is investing in the well-being and advancement of their staff. Who you are in the role and its accompanying responsibilities comes second to caring about the bigger picture of you. We sniff this out in the phone calls and interviews before we even present the candidate to our clients based on a number of factors, but how they treat and engage with us is a major tell.


2. They Welcome Feedback

Rather than paying lip service to opinions and critiques from their direct reports, they actively solicit constructive input on their management approach and decisions. Your perspective is essential for their growth. PGAA Tax uses a number of approaches to test how candidates receive feedback. We share how they are doing against the other candidates, we relay information from the clients, and our background checks uncover this trait.


3. They Set Clear Expectations

They understand that continually moving targets and surprise assignments undermine team success. They collaboratively set transparent objectives, projects, and deadlines so you can perform at your peak. In how they work with us and the clients over the recruiting cycle or during the years we've spent getting to know our network, we know how they operate and communicate and how that would fit(or not) with our client's workplace culture.


4. They Don’t Leave Loose Ends

You never have to second-guess whether they’ll follow through on commitments large and small. They see promises and plans through to completion, so you don’t have to clean up the trail they leave behind them. Following the careers of tax leaders allows us a deeper understanding of our tax leader network and all they set out to accomplish, what they follow through on, the curveballs they field, and the strategies they execute. We have a long-range view of the tax leaders in our phone book.


5. They Have "Real-talk"

By opening up about their own mistakes, lessons learned, uncertainties, and past failures, they lead by example in creating a human connection. This breeds trust and inspiration. PGAA Tax doesn't really work without vulnerability. If our candidates aren't honest during our briefing, debriefing, screening, interviewing, and negotiating, we politely disengage the candidate. After 23 years of recruiting, Phil doesn't get blindsided anymore by candidates just looking to get a counteroffer from their current employer.


6. They Celebrate you Publicly and Problem-solve Privately

Great tax leaders realize highlighting your accomplishments and capabilities to colleagues, senior executives, and external partners accelerates opportunities and successes. Any criticism is delivered transparently but discreetly to uphold respect. While LinkedIn isn't perfect, we do take note of which tax leaders engage with their staff and celebrate their accomplishments and promotions on the platform.


7. They get in the Trenches

Unafraid of getting their hands dirty, you’ll find them tackling tasks, mentoring and training alongside staff when big projects require an all-hands-on-deck push. They don’t just delegate. This means they put in long hours during quarterly and year-end, too.


8. They Respect Boundaries (theirs and yours)

Top-tier tax leaders establish clear work/life separation by not sending late-night and weekend emails, protecting staff time off, discouraging overwork, and leading a balanced lifestyle...


Happy New Year, and we hope if you don't have at least one already, that 2024 brings you a leader like this to your team!

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