Leadership skills are an important part of enabling management accountants to perform as strategic partners within their organizations. To ensure that IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants) members cultivate these skills, the IMA Global Board of Directors in 2009 established the IMA Leadership Academy and with it, a way to provide internal and external recognition of members’ leadership experience, training, and qualifications. Both are equally important and provide valuable benefits to members.

Internal Recognition: Leadership Profile

Members can gain internal recognition by creating an individual leadership profile. These profiles, which are different from a membership profile, become part of each member’s record and provide a way to document leadership experience and goals.

To create a leadership profile:

  • Go to the IMA website (www.imanet.org) and click on the Career Resources tab from the top navigation bar.
  • Once on the Career Resources page, select the Leadership Academy link and look for the link for Update Your Leadership Profile.

There are three parts to the leadership profile:
(1). Leadership Experience, where members identify their specific skills, such as meeting facilitation, leadership training and development, or strategy development and innovation.
(2). Leadership Skills, which uses a five-part Likert scale (1 = Developing, 2 = Acceptable, 3 = Average, 4 = Good, 5 = Excellent) for members to indicate their level of proficiency with areas such as collaboration, communication skills, and self-motivation.
(3). Leadership Goals, which asks for four 256-character or less reflections on overall career goals, things the member wants to accomplish professionally, overall volunteer service and philanthropy goals, and long-term IMA volunteer service/philanthropic goals.

It's important to remember to update this profile regularly. Notes Pem Smith, CMA, CFM, dean emeritus of the IMA Leadership Academy, “Obviously, all the items in your leadership profile will change over the course of your career and lifetime. The intent is to periodically review them and update items as things change.”

Fortunately, IMA automatically adds leadership courses taken and volunteer positions held within IMA once a member has established a leadership profile. And here’s what’s also important, according to Smith: “All this information is available to senior IMA leaders and staff to use when seeking and evaluating candidates for various volunteer leadership positions within IMA. It also forms the basis of IMA’s external leadership recognition program, so it’s very important to keep it current.”

External Leadership Recognition: Digital Badges

When the IMA Leadership Academy was created in 2009, one of its main objectives was to provide recognition for participants in IMA volunteer leadership positions and within the Leadership Academy. The purpose of recognition is to attract members and encourage active participation.

External leadership recognition is now achieved through a digital badge program, a form of micro-credentialing that is gaining currency in the field of education. According to the MacArthur Foundation, “Badges are designed to make visible and validate learning in both formal and informal settings, and hold the potential to help transform where and how learning is valued.”

IMA’s volunteer recognition program allows members to earn Pewter-to-Platinum-level leadership status. These badges can be shared on members’ LinkedIn profiles and other social media channels. IMA awards badges based on accomplishments, according to a very specific scale. When members qualify for an award, they receive an email from IMA showing the digital badge awarded, as well as instructions for claiming and sharing the badge. Once claimed, the badge is stored securely on ProExam Vault (https://ima.proexamvault.com/badges) for future access.

For more information, please visit Leadership Academy.