If you’ve recently been promoted to a financial leadership position – congratulations! You will have every reason to feel excited at new possibilities and know that your hard work has paid off.
Alongside the celebrations, as you settle into your new role as a Senior Accountant leading a finance team, there are things to consider. You have achieved promotion because you have the necessary skill set for the role, and likely because senior leaders believe you have the capacity to make a great manager too.
No matter how capable you were in your previous role, leading people requires a very different skillset. A leader’s responsibility is to help the business, and its employees grow and prosper – successful leadership requires the ability to create and sustain momentum to keep your business ahead of the curve, maintaining and building on success.
You will need to prepare for the future while focusing on the present and juggling everyday issues and demands – not an easy task!
Preparation is critical – so here are six strategies you can implement to migrate successfully into your new financial leadership role.
1. Seek Out a Mentor
One of the best ways to prepare for successful leadership is to find a mentor.
Someone who has ‘been there and done that’ can help you settle into your new finance manager role. Their advice and counselling can help prepare you for the challenges to come, as well as reinforce your own training.
Additionally, their networks can provide you with connections, furthering your knowledge and professional development opportunities.
2. Work With Your Team
Although leaders by necessity have to think and move fast in many situations, taking time out to interact with your team will enable you to lead more effectively as you will be in touch with your employees and know what is happening in their work lives.
Do they have all the resources they need to carry out tasks? Do they require additional support to experience fulfilment in their work?
Being available to your finance team will quickly establish a culture of accessibility. This will encourage your team to work with you and build their trust in you as a leader.
Additionally, displaying empathy and taking time to understand your teams’ drivers will foster respect for your leadership, confirming you as a manager who is invested in them and their ambitions, which will encourage further engagement, commitment and better productivity.
3. Lead by Example
Have you ever heard the phrase “Don’t do as I do, do as I say”?
A leader’s work ethic, and how you behave towards others, is critical in ensuring your success – or failure – as a motivator of others. Ideally, you want to be someone who can rally individuals, motivate a team and lead everyone to a joint goal.
Having a positive, can-do, attitude is crucial – but so is leading by example. So, be prepared to roll up your sleeves and get involved if it’s necessary.
A leader who is willing to go the extra mile will inspire their team and gain their respect too. And employees who respect your leadership will be more willing to volunteer to stay late to get the end of month financial report completed or assist in a last-minute request to hit an unexpected deadline.
Building motivation includes recognising each individual’s contribution to the team, so remember to thank individuals when they’ve done an excellent job, or helped out on an additional task.
Furthermore, rewarding work done well and allowing a degree of autonomy and responsibility will increase a sense of investment in the organisation for everyone.
4. Be Accountable
Successful finance leaders never stop being accountable to others and themselves. Whether you have failed to ask the right question, missed a deadline or some other misdemeanour, its critical to take responsibility.
Being accountable for the things that go wrong in your team – as well as the successes – will foster an environment of openness and honesty, where your team recognise and respect your integrity and follow your example.
This creates a psychologically safe environment where each employee knows they can speak, be heard and treated fairly in any situation.
You can’t lead if you don’t listen. Listening will enable you to prepare for and solve situations that you may not even be aware of if you only listen to yourself.
Active listening forms a crucial part of two-way communication with your finance team. The ability to listen to what your team are saying will also provide you with a deeper understanding of their needs, focus and drivers, enabling you to lead more efficiently and get better results.
So, encourage input from your team and listen to their ideas and suggestions. That way, they will feel valued and invested in the business, and you will create an environment for innovation, ready to take action.
6. Develop Your Personal Brand
Finally, successful relationships are built on trust and mutual respect. And it‘s the same for your finance team. As part of developing your finance manager role, consider your personal brand and how it impacts your success.
From keeping your LinkedIn profile up to date to taking up speaking opportunities, creating on-line blogs to engaging in lifelong learning (and encouraging your team to keep learning too), establishing your personal brand will have a positive impact, creating an impression of who you are and demonstrating inspirational qualities to ignite enthusiasm and motivation in your team.
Remember, great leaders aren’t created overnight; it takes time to hone the best leadership qualities.
Following these steps will set you off on the right path, and by developing your soft skills, you will develop into an excellent finance leader with a dedicated and high achieving team.
And don’t forget – a sense of humour also goes a long way in helping you be seen as approachable and likeable – excellent traits for any leader.
If you are looking for a leadership role in the finance sector, contact Rebus Financial Recruitment or call us on 01282 930930 and let’s have a conversation to explore your options. With our help, you can achieve great things.
About Rebus Financial Recruitment
Rebus Financial Recruitment provides a specialist and focused recruitment service to its customers, which historically range from a wide variety of organisations including SME’s to large PLCs.
We strive to offer both the client and candidate a seamless recruitment experience. Using our expertise, we get to the heart of employer and employee needs; and, in doing so, we match the two perfectly. To find out more, get in contact with one of our team today, or you can call us on 01282 930930.