The first rule of management is to understand that giving your finance team the tools to empower them, and ultimately lead to their success, also allows you to succeed.
Having capable employees who are empowered to do their jobs without you, as a manager, having to constantly check on them, frees time up for you to devote to strategic thinking and planning.
So, it’s a win-win situation.
Let me explore this more with some interesting research and data.
The US Army’s definition of leadership sums empowerment up nicely: “influencing people by providing purpose, direction, and motivation while operating to accomplish the mission and improve the organisation.”
Data from Forbes confirms that of over 7,000 employees who were measured for empowerment and employee engagement, employees who felt a low level of empowerment were rated with engagement at 24 per cent, whereas those with a high level of empowerment rose to 79 per cent.
So, empowerment counts.
And as the finance sector continues to become more competitive, attracting and retaining top talent can be increasingly difficult. By empowering your finance team, you create an environment of ‘can-do’ which will appeal to talent looking to work for a progressive and inclusive finance company that motivates and entrusts decisions to its staff.
See Failure as a Positive
Pointing the finger of blame only serves to undermine an individual’s confidence in their future choices and ability.
Rather than apportioning blame if things go wrong, set-aside time to talk it through, try to establish what went wrong and why, and to put in place parameters to avoid it happening again.
Use the failure as a learning curve to enable the individual to see how they can grow from the experience. A positive outlook will allow them to move on to do better, rather than crippling their confidence.
Provide a Clear Career Path
One of the best ways to empower your finance team is to provide a clear career pathway.
Individuals who can see where they are heading, that there is a pathway to achieving their own goals and there are clear steps that will take them there, are more likely to feel empowered in their work, and committed to your finance company.
Developing others sends the message that staff are valued and your finance company is willing to invest time and money in them.
It’s a simple equation – the things that are rewarded are repeated.
We all grow up knowing this. We know from being very young that if we do certain things, we will get praise. So, what do we do? We do them over and over again. It’s practically hard-wired into our brains.
It doesn’t have to be an overblown gesture of your grateful thanks to a team member. Simple recognition of a job well done can make all the difference to an employee, so take time out to appreciate your team.
A colleague of mine worked for a CEO who wrote her a letter of thanks every time she had organised a customer event. These events weren’t ‘extra’ to her job; they were part of it. She knew that and he knew that, but getting that letter inspired her to want to do even better next time.
Never underestimate appreciation. A ‘thank you’ goes a long way.
Push the Boundaries
Trust your employees to do their job, and to do it well. As well as avoiding micromanagement, trust can be built by extending the boundaries in which your finance team works.
So, for example, allowing your Credit Controller to make more customer-focused decisions without having to refer up the line. Of course, it’s imperative to ensure your staff have the training and skills for this to be successful, to enable them to make the right decisions.
However, the rewards are multiple – and individuals gain a higher sense of empowerment when they have control over their work.
Empowerment also impacts productivity. Zenger Folkmant found that only 4% of employees put in extra effort when empowerment was low, with additional effort rising to 67% when they were empowered.
Listening skills are crucial for good management. Active listening to your employees enables you to see things from their angle – and understand that, sometimes, they might have a better answer to a problem.
For example, your new PQ Management Accountant may have an idea to maximise efficiency in stock movement that you hadn’t considered previously.
After all, you hired your team as experts in their field, so empowering them will enable them to use their expertise, invest in decisions and feel part of the process.
Set Your Ego Aside
Finally, the best finance managers don’t make it all about them.
It’s easy to worry when you first place empowerment in the hands of your team: how do you know that they are doing what you want? Do they understand your intent? Are they fulfilling your instructions or moving in a different direction?
Allow your employees to enjoy purpose, direction and motivation in their role. It‘s crucial to let your team own their work while maintaining an overview. As Regan said, “Trust but verify”.
In other words, empower your team to encourage success, but remember to check in to make sure that empowerment is working.
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.