Why We Must Change The Way We Lead The Finance Function

This article is co-written by Talita Ferreira and Anders Liu-Lindberg

Last week we explored the history of Finance Transformation. We identified that something is missing in the transformation. What’s missing is the transformation of how we lead the finance function. We can transform systems, processes, and individuals all we want, but if we don’t transform the leaders too, we will never realise the full potential of the transformation. The way leaders lead in Finance must be transformed, and it will not be an easy journey

In fact, it might be the hardest part of the transformation. However, it need not be complex. We’ll introduce you to a model of how to transform leadership in the finance function. Before we do that though, we’ll dig deeper into why the current leadership model is challenged.

The world is changing but has our leadership style changed?

Traditionally, as finance leaders, we have embraced the more analytical right brain activities, the trusted analysis; after all the numbers don’t lie. However, we mentioned in our first article that there are new skills that are required like creativity, emotional intelligence and cognitive flexibility to cope with the challenges of the future and that creativity, collaboration, persuasion, time management and adaptability are the skills that companies are hiring for.

We know that there are already five different generations of employees in the workplace that want and need to be inspired differently. It is our job as leaders to inspire, engage and bring out the best in every individual that works for us, no matter how different they are to us or how difficult that might seem.

But where are we today and what do we see?

Source: ‘The Authenticity Dilemma Resolved®’ by Talita Ferreira

Leaders are normally very focused on themselves; on their careers and their achievements. We observe a lot of ego-based behaviours; wanting to be right or looking who was to blame when something goes wrong, instead of just taking responsibility as the leader and attempting to do better next time.

Sometimes we are driven by our limiting self-beliefs, which we so carefully hidden from the world. We might not feel like we can do a new job effectively, or that we always have the right answers but instead of asking for help or brainstorming with other people, we try to hide the feelings or control situations because we don’t want to be caught out.

Sometimes we have a very competitive nature as finance leaders and want to make sure we can control or plan for every possible scenario – again that we won’t look bad or stand out. We call this state of behaviours “the state of doing”. It can sometimes create this feeling that something is missing, and we live from one holiday to the next. Or we are held back from truly connecting with our business partners and creating relationships based on mutual trust.

Is that really a way to lead?

None of these behaviors are particularly good for leading in todays world and while we likely can’t change our natural tendencies we can certainly manage them in a better way. We need our fuel for leading to come from a different place. We need to be motivated by something else.

If we don’t change we will fail in our leadership and the performance of our teams will suffer. The team will lack engagement as do most teams today and value will be left on the table. That’s why we must dig deeper into how to lead the finance function into the future. Next week we’ll introduce you to the “state of being” model that’ll show us a new path for leading the finance function.

Are you with us so far? Do you believe in the case for change or you think we’re fine the way things are now? We truly encourage discussion on this topic that’s so important for the future of Finance!

Finance Inspired 4 Success powered by Authentic Change Solutions

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