Leadership Spotlight: Alan Hawrylak, CPA, Managing Partner, Hartman Leito & Bolt
In this month’s Leadership Spotlight, we would like to introduce you to Alan Hawrylak. Alan has been a friend of ConvergenceCoaching for many years, and in that time we have had the opportunity to witness him step into the role of Managing Partner and lead Hartman Leito & Bolt with extreme dedication, strength and confidence. Alan has been instrumental in developing HLB’s infrastructure, image and culture. During their numerous years of sustained growth, his focus has been strategic in nature as he guides and coaches the partner team to meet the firm’s strategic goals. It was our pleasure to have the opportunity to learn more about Alan’s leadership approach so we could share some of his thoughts with you.
We asked Alan a series of questions related to leadership, leadership styles and attributes and his own leadership philosophy and here is what he had to share:
ConvergenceCoaching: Whose leadership style do you most admire and why?
AH: One that immediately comes to mind is Herb Kelleher, the Founder of Southwest Airlines. His humility and “dare to be different” leadership style continues to be his living legacy permeating the airline. I admire his persistence to go against the grain and his ability to do things differently than his competitors, even in times of economic crisis. His ability to entrust and credit his surrounding team with the success of the company is both humble and modest.
ConvergenceCoaching: What do you think the single most important leadership attribute or characteristic is and why?
AH: Humility is the cornerstone of an effective leader. Great CEOs reveal their vulnerabilities, admit fault, apologize, and lead by example. All leaders struggle with pride and ego – their ensuing response to this is what truly defines a leader. By understanding my shortcomings, I learn from them to make me stronger, and am therefore able to lead more effectively. It’s not always easy, but it is something I strive to do every day.
ConvergenceCoaching: What do you look for in young up-and-coming leaders?
AH: Development of specific leadership skills such as servant leadership, is an essential part of Hartman Leito & Bolt. We look for individuals who have a predisposition to serve others, a positive attitude and work hard. As young leaders develop and mature, it is rewarding when they break the mold and stand out while putting the needs of others first. These leaders embody the future and provide the foundation for the growth and success of the firm.
ConvergenceCoaching: How do you develop leadership in others?
AH: My goal is to educate every person in the firm, regardless of their role, on how they contribute to the success of the firm. Kelleher credits the entire success of Southwest Airlines to the employees. When asked who is most important to the airline, Kelleher placed his employees in front of his customers. Without positive, successful and empowered employees, he believed he would have had no customers. When a company’s hiring practices are centered around employing people with character and compassion, the culture will become one of servant leadership and will inherently create new and sustainable leadership.
ConvergenceCoaching: What advice do you have for those looking to step into a leadership position in their firms or businesses?
AH: While leading by example may not always be the most popular approach, remaining genuine and gaining the respect of your surrounding team is critical. Consistency in regards to taking ownership of projects and being proactive in everything you do are cornerstones of an effective leader.
ConvergenceCoaching: What three words best describe your leadership style?
AH: Vulnerable. Optimistic. Passionate. I approach all situations with respect for others. Whether it is talking with clients about how we can help them achieve their dreams, or working with younger staff members, I try to approach everything I do with these three attributes in mind.
If you have the opportunity to meet Alan in person, you will see that his interest in people is genuine. His authenticity and genuine care and concern are evident and you can probably sense this even through his answers to our questions. He is sincere – Alan is the “real deal.” It is his commitment and dedication to his team and his partners that make him such an effective Managing Partner and a tremendous role model for servant leadership. As you read this interview, what ideas came up for you on how you can better serve your team and be a model for servant leadership?