You would think accountants and finance professionals have an edge over other professions when it comes to leadership in business.
However in practice, they are not usually the best at motivating or inspiring people. Of course there are exceptions and I know some great leaders who have finance background.
Excellence At Numbers Is Not Enough
The language of business matters now. If you can’t speak finance, it’s very hard for you to be a CEO or senior leader. The catch is accountants and finance professionals might have to unlearn some of the things that made them experts in the first place to make successful transitions to leaders.
In fact, my experience is that unless they have a high level of emotional intelligence (EQ), they can be “interpersonally inflexible” and too controlling or have a tendency to micromanage.
As an accountant you are not meant to make mistakes, take risks and you always have to focus on details.
Good leaders tend to make more mistakes, take several risks and see the big picture rather than the micro detail.
5 Ways To Accelerate The Transition To Exceptional Leadership
According to research from Dr Byron Hanson from Curtin Graduate School of Business in Perth there are 5 critical changes or transitions that will accelerate the journey to successful leadership:
- Moving from being the expert to leveraging expertise
Accountants pride their expertise, but despite what some people think you don’t have to be the smartest person in the room to be a good leader.
- Moving from the apprenticeship model to a coaching model
it is good to help hone a learners technical skills – a leader is more a coach, less doing, more motivating and influencing
- Moving from being a reporter to a translator
providing the numbers is no longer how they add value – leaders need to “create meaning”
- From having the right answer to navigating multiple answers
Finance professionals are taught to see problems as complicated but having a correct answer – they need to unleash their thinking a bit!
- Moving from being a value protector to a value creator
learn how to create wealth, rather than think in terms of being risk-averse and a protector of wealth
I have worked with many very powerful leaders with finance backgrounds. Not only do they have the critical financial insights but a high level of knowing when to lead, when to manage. All of this comes back to their ability to stop and look in their leadership mirror.
Let’s discussContact Us how Bridgeworks can support you and your teams to transition to exceptional leadership and performance.
(Some references made from Tony Malkovic’s article in Acuity “Five changes that will make you an exceptional leader”)