Great financial leadership: stand out among peers.

Author:Hewertson, Roxana Bahar
Position:Quick Study

Financial leaders need to know if they are an "at risk" or "effective leader" as much of their peers in other disciplines. Success depends entirely on the integrity of their work and their word, and by extension, the work and word of the people they lead.


A chief financial officer who fails to effectively lead his or her people puts the entire organization at risk.

Attitudes and behaviors are the biggest differentiators between great financial leaders and failing ones. They demonstrate four factors that are directly correlated with leadership attitudes and behaviors that greatly impact a leader's success or failure. The four well-researched core emotional intelligence metrics are self awareness, self management, social awareness and relationship management.

The following focuses on attitudes and behaviors that most training of financial leaders omits. Too often leaders are taught how to be star individual contributors, instead of leaders of other individual contributors. These skillsets are as opposite as credits and debits: Being proficient in numbers, logic and objectivity ignores the fact that a leader's success is completely dependent on the contributions of others.

The most effective leaders learn, develop and increase their own emotional intelligence. It takes assessment, self motivation, learning, awareness, practice and feedback. Improving one's emotional intelligence is a life-long journey--and one that great leaders choose to take.

The attitudes and behaviors of great financial leadership include the ability to:

1 'Read' and understand emotions and recognize the impact of themselves on self and others. By developing an accurate view of, and aptly managing, one's own emotional responses to situations, the rest of the leader's skills and talents are magnified and leveraged. These leaders pay close attention to their impact, regularly seeking feedback and acknowledging when their impact and intent are out of synch.

2 Pick up on other people's signals and thus demonstrate empathy. This emotional intelligence skill relates directly to social awareness. One cannot be a good leader without empathy, period. A leader with blinders on will miss important information, ideas and perspective.

3 Know one's own strengths and limits. The best leaders understand they can never know and do everything ... and don't pretend to. Instead, they recognize what they are good at and leverage those skills. They surround themselves...

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