How to Work for a Finance Leader You Don’t Believe In


Most companies don’t develop their future leaders.  Most of the time, an organization promotes based on job competence, longevity or connections. And while this doesn’t necessarily result in bad leadership, it can mean that your manager is poorly equipped for the role. Here’s how to work for a finance leader you don’t believe in.

Identify Pain Points
Great communicators understand a person’s individual drivers and position information accordingly. Ask yourself what keeps your boss up at night. What kind of pressure is he/she feeling to deliver?  The more you can understand why your boss takes (or doesn’t take) specific actions, the more you can avoid lose/ lose situations.

Operate From a Place of Service
Let your boss know that you are willing to help. A simple offer that takes an item off your boss’ “to do” list can go a long way to building a positive relationship.

Facilitate Success
This can be a tough one.

You’re naturally motivated to deliver your best work, but it’s hard to continually facilitate your leader’s success when you feel unsupported. Try to focus on mitigating your leader’s weaknesses. If they’re disorganized, for example, help them stay on top of things. Facilitating your boss’ success creates team success – something that helps your career in the long run.

Stay Motivated
Just because your boss is an underperformer, doesn’t mean that you should stop being top-notch yourself. Stay calm and professional even if your boss isn’t. Ultimately, your professional brand is at stake, so take the high road if you can.

Request a Meeting
Request a meeting to discuss your concerns. Stay solutions-focused. Don’t be accusatory, this will only put your finance leader on the defensive. There are definitely ways to both give and receive feedback that will help ensure the meeting stays on the right track.

Read: For tips on how to give feedback and get the results you want read “How to Give Feedback.”

Be Adaptable
We understand. There is a specific way that you like to be managed. Unfortunately, it’s not always in the cards. To survive poor leadership you’ll need to be adaptable. How does your boss communicate? Does he or she prefer to receive emails, or have conversations in person? Do meetings go smoothly when your boss receives a brief outline of what’s to be covered? The more you adapt to your boss’ natural working style, the more manageable your daily work experience will be.

Be Assertive
There’s no point cowering in fear if your boss is an aggressive communicator. Ask questions, seek to understand and diffuse the situation if you can. If you feel strongly about something, request a one-on-one meeting and rationally lay out your point of view. Always document every conversation you have with a challenging finance leader, so that if you do have to escalate with HR, you have a written record of your interactions.

Key Takeaways
Poor finance leaders can create a toxic and challenging work environment. Try to understand their individual drivers and position information accordingly. Operate from a posture of service, and try to mitigate your boss’ weaknesses. Request one-on-one meetings before things reach a boiling point and arrive with solutions, rather than complaints. Ultimately, a bad leader offers you an opportunity to grow your own leadership skills and perhaps ready yourself for when you’ll be a manager.

Your Next Step
No one should walk the job search or hiring road alone. At Clarity Recruitment we help others realize their success through a process that marries proprietary technology with unwavering commitment. Contact us today to take control of your career, or to partner with us to hire well.

Clarity Recruitment, connecting exceptional people with remarkable companies.

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