Top Leadership Skills for New Finance Mangers

The CPA Competency Map is fascinating (ok fascinating might be bit of a stretch, but it is revealing). While technical skills such as finance and taxation are listed, so too are skills such as ethical behaviour and leadership. For new finance managers, who are just getting their leadership legs underneath them, guiding a team to greatness can be slightly overwhelming. Here’s a brief look at some of the top leadership skills that new finance managers can use to build trust, score quick wins and establish themselves as ready to lead.

Tips for New Finance Managers 
Build Trust
As a new finance manager it’s imperative that you earn the trust of your team. Consider doing the following:

  • Sit down with each of them.
  • Keep your communication style collaborative.
  • Your goal is to identify what is working and what isn’t.
  • Sometimes the fix is simple. Other times it’s a more complex process. What’s important is that you’re seen as someone who follows through. If you can take action right away – fantastic. If you can’t, then it’s important to explain why.
  • Great leaders ensure that each member of their team reaches their potential. Recognize strong points, but also provide your team with the help and resources that they need in order to improve their weaker aspects.
  • Identify 3 tweaks or quick fixes that could yield the greatest gains in the productivity and emotional well-being of your team.
  • Ultimately, you need to be seen as responsive and reliable.
  • For some great tips on how to communicate collaboratively with your team, read this article.

And since people quit their managers, not their jobs it’s important to deliver.

Being a great leader isn’t just about understanding the needs of your team, it’s also about getting a grasp of the big picture. Since you’ll be dealing with staff across the company’s various departments, it’s critical that you gain the respect of people from diverse professional backgrounds. Meet with each business unit.  Try to understand what each senior manager expects of you.  To be successful you’ll need to build strong, cross-functional relationships and the sooner you start doing this, the better.

Lead By Example
As a finance manager, you’re going to be pulled in different directions.  But remember, your actions will set the ethical tone for your team. Regardless of what you say, people tend to feel that your actions are the greatest representation of what you truly believe.  Demonstrate that you’re an ethical leader whose moral compass guides your decision making. If a team member makes an ethical gaffe it’s important to address it gently, but firmly. At the end of the day, your team will be more likely to buy-in if they understand the reasoning and morals behind the decisions you make.

Audit the Role
Take some time when you first start to audit the role. Look at the finance function in general. Are the right internal controls in place?  Could efficiency be improved by re-working a process?  Ask yourself, “What do we need to do to achieve our short-term objectives?”  Follow this with, “Where will the company be in two years.” By auditing the role you may identify areas that can help you accomplish some quick wins.

There will be challenges that await you as a new finance manager.  Focus on building trust with your team and fostering cross-functional relationships. Great leaders model the behaviours they want to see in their team. They are forward thinking.  By considering the tips above you can get your managerial career off on the right foot, and that shows that you’re ready to lead.

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.

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