Finance managers: how do you lead your team?

With the technical and financial responsibilities that the ‘day job’ brings, the managing part of the job may sometimes seem an encumbrance. It can feel like the bit that needs to be fitted in rather than something that helps the organisation.  However, as any enlightened manager will tell you, the more time, energy and thought you can give to the people in your team, the greater the rewards and the more time saved in the long term.

With management and leadership the place to start is with you

If we, as finance managers,  cannot be aware of ourselves, how can we manage others?  Too often managers ignore their own feelings. Some adopt the mantra “business is not about feelings” and in so doing often ignore the feelings of others too. Underlying our core and everything we do is the emotional aspect of life. As such we need to ensure that we address our emotions, especially those that distract us. As managers we are concerned with achieving the best with those who work for us. To be able to do this we need greater awareness of ourselves and our impact on others.  This is emotional intelligence.

Self-awareness allows managers to interact effectively with the team, who otherwise may build their own relationships and barriers which exclude the manager. John Adair has been at the forefront of leadership thinking for more than 30 years and his notions of the balance of task, team and individual are as significant today as they ever were. It is important for managers to recognise their strengths and how their style and approach can change under pressure and conflict. For example, a task-focused manager may neglect the people, yet they are the means of achieving the task.  Caring too much about the team and individual differences may mean the tasks are neglected.

Building a team of clones is not a good solution

Teams thrive on healthy differences and inputs in order to deliver the best solutions and outcomes.  So, practical actions like regular team meetings and one-to-one support are equally important in maintaining a balance and building an effective team.

Finally, managing our own inner resources or our resilience can be critical to our success as leaders and managers.  There are no right or wrong approaches, but managing our own well-being is important.  It is also useful to have a confidante or mentor with whom we can share things.

What may often keep us going too is personal commitment or passion about what we are trying to achieve in the organisation.  Whatever your own goals and motivations, passion and commitment are key drivers as well as shared belief and values with the organisation.

Self-confidence grows with success and achievement. Confront situations and not people and you are more likely to succeed.  Share success and celebrate it. Know what makes you ‘tick’ as a manager.

Find out more about managing your finance team at The Charity Accountants’ Conference