Here’s How Finance Leaders Must Lead In The Future

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

Over the past weeks, we’ve uncovered that a new leadership model is needed in Finance. That’s because the function has been transformed over the past two decades and look vastly different. Finance is now a people business as opposed to systems and processes. That requires a completely different leadership style.

Last week we discussed how the current way of leading quickly gets leaders into trouble, sends engagement towards the bottom, and your employees flying out of your company. We might even say that this is a burning platform.

This week we’ll start to address the burning platform by showing you a new way to lead. A new leadership style that requires you to adopt a growth mindset and see your people as the most important asset to deliver company value creation. Are you ready to challenge your inner-most self and start leading in a new way?

Without a growth mindset, you will get stuck and doomed to failure

World-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck spent years researching achievement and success. Her research shows that people with a growth mindset, approach problems in a ‘can do’ way, learn from their mistakes and are willing to adapt.

People with a fixed mindset believe when they have failed, they will be doomed to failure in the future; they are far less likely to try new things, they believe in the power of natural talent and abilities, tend to blame others when things go wrong and have a desire to look smart.

To be effective as Finance business partners we need to adopt this can-do mindset where we are willing to try new things, experiment, adapt and learn with our teams and find what is right for the business overall. If we have a fixed mindset, we might believe that we can’t grow, change and move forward.

In contrast, people with a growth mindset see problems as a challenge and an opportunity to learn. With all the challenges facing us in business partnering, BI & analytics, finance operations and outsourcing, etc. we need to embrace the growth mindset that will allow us to learn and adapt as fast as we can. Here’s a look at the new you — the new leader in the finance function.

Introducing the Authenticity POWER Model®

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

Authenticity = Consciousness + Connectedness; to unlock intuition and purpose

Consciousness (emotional intelligence) = self-awareness + connecting to our inner core

Connectedness (social intelligence) = connected relationships + purpose-driven collaboration

Self-awareness is the state of a deep understanding of ourselves. It is the ability to observe our behaviours, motivations, thoughts, habits, feelings and emotions. For example, when someone is pushing our buttons in the work environment, it is to try and understand why and which limiting self-belief this is activating for us. Or when we have a repeated emotional response, it is being able to trace it back to the underlying value being crossed.

For instance, if you get very angry when you present numbers to the leadership team and they challenge the numbers continuously, you might have values of transparency and openness that are being crossed. The leadership probably don’t like what has been presented, as they want better results. You feel you have been true to your values, did the best job you could, but was still triggered by the whole event.

Understanding yourself better will mean that you can see the situation a bit more at a distance. The ego is the underlying state that might be holding us back from a greater self-awareness.

Connecting to the core is having a deeper understanding of our core values, biases, ethics, passions and purpose. Our purpose is not merely doing a job, but rather what motivates and drives us and gives us a feeling of immense pleasure as we are adding value and making a difference.

It is doing the things we love that unlock our passion. It is about not only being interested in targets and objectives within the finance department but rather providing our finance teams with a greater ’why’ of how we are making a difference to the organization overall and how we are adding value.

Simon Sinek always says people don’t buy what we do; they buy why we do it. A greater purpose for finance is, for instance, that we empower the business to make better financial decisions aligned to the long-term strategy. We empower them by providing insights that lead to greater decisions.

Fears and limiting self-beliefs can hold us back from unlocking our greatest purpose. Before we connect with other people or engage with social intelligence effectively, a deep understanding of ourselves is crucial. Without self-awareness, we cannot start the journey of connected relationships or purpose-driven collaboration with other people.

Connected relationships are rooted in trust with unconditional respect for differences. The ability to be brave, not being afraid to carefully show vulnerability – after all, it is a sign of strength – and to have more empathy for our counterparts and to learn to suspend judgement of other people.

For example, putting ourselves in the shoes of Sales or Marketing and trying to understand their motivations and behaviours, instead of judging them when they do not think exactly as finance professionals do. Our innate human competitiveness and the desire to be right can hold us back from having a deeper connection with other people, fostering trust and emotional safety.

Purpose-driven collaboration is when we create new purpose-driven relationships and partnerships. It is only possible once we have done away with ego-driven, competitive behaviour based on fear and limiting self-beliefs, and when we stop trying to control every situation.

Once we achieve this, we will be co-creating in a way where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. This is when we are more conscious of ourselves and more connected to other people and acting as true business partners.

When we can truly unlock our inner Authentic POWER, this will lead us to be phenomenal finance leaders, creating cultures of trust and focusing on developing individuals to become amazing leaders themselves.

Our Authentic POWER shines through all the following aspects of our lives:

  • Presence;theconfidence of knowing who we are;
  • Overcoming fear;and our limiting self-beliefs, which help us to discover the potential behind our greatest fear and creates a;
  • Whole Integrated Being; which allows;
  • Effortless flow; between all the various aspects of our lives;and creates
  • Resonance with purpose.

This new model will help us as finance leaders, to embrace this new mindset, to drive change more effectively and understand ourselves better. Leaders, who foster creativity and use the diversity of opinions in their teams to unlock innovative ways of doing things.

Leaders, who coach and develop people instead of telling them what to do, moving away from the traditional command and control behaviours. Finance leaders who cultivate trust and are direct, open, honest and bring out the best in other people. We want you to take the first step and realize that it is all about your mindset as a business partner and as a leader that wants to be more connected and conscious and lead more effectively. Our next article will be about gaining a greater self-awareness; in our opinion, after the right mindset, self-awareness is a critical piece in the puzzle to unlock how we need to lead for the future. How is that for a start to leading differently? Do you agree that something must change and what that change is? Tell us your story, and we’ll help you bring this model to life!

Finance Inspired 4 Success powered by Authentic Change Solutions

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