Leading through crisis and beyond
In my latest recruitment blog, I examine some of the key leadership skills that senior finance professionals are drawing upon. Do you have what it takes?
In the face of the current global crisis, the need for strong leadership from Finance Professionals in both Professional Services and in Industry and Commerce has never been more important. As a senior finance stakeholder, you will be well placed to manage and advise on the finances of the business, and your leadership skills will help to guide your team and the business through these stormy Covid-19 waters. In my latest blog, I examine some of the key leadership skills that senior finance professionals are drawing upon.
Almost exactly a year ago, I wrote about the growing importance of ‘soft’ skills in accountancy. Fast forward 12 months, and we find ourselves in a vastly different and uncertain world that nobody could have ever imagined – a world in which these soft skills have become increasingly important.
Leading through a crisis requires more than just strong operational management skills. Fighting ‘fires’ may be an immediate necessity, but senior accountants and managers are increasingly being looked to for strategic direction. They, therefore, need to have the capacity to tackle both the immediate challenges as well as having the vision and long-term planning skills for the future. And being able to develop solutions for the future requires flexibility, creativity and an openness to change.
Never have good communication skills been more important than during the current crisis. I read a great quote recently which said that communication is the bridge between confusion and clarity. A practice manager, therefore, needs to be able to offer clear, consistent and timely communications, delivered in such a way as to reach team members wherever they may be located.
The ability to present solid and reliable information is one thing, but the ability to deliver that with empathy and understanding is the hallmark of a truly great leader. And, in order to be a strong communicator, you also need to have the best possible listening skills plus the emotional intelligence to enable you to ‘hear’ the things that are not said.
Listening to your own needs is also vitally important. Maintaining a high level of mental and physical energy is something that the best leaders tend to do naturally, but it can take its toll over a sustained period of time. Taking time to recognise and address your own need for ‘down-time’ is therefore as important as it is for your team.
During times of crisis, problem-solving and the ability to think clearly under pressure are essential leadership and management skills. The only thing we can be certain of at the present time is uncertainty; and as the business and economic environment around us continues to change, so senior finance leaders need the flexibility to digest new information quickly, changing direction where necessary.
While it may not seem like the highest priority, when you have got your sleeves rolled up and are fighting the fire, now is the time to be investing in and empowering yourself to further your career and prepare yourself for the step up to accountancy practice management.
Indeed, for the development of leadership and management skills, many of our industry’s training bodies and providers, such as the ICAEW, ACCA, BPP and Kaplan, have made great strides in delivering their training and CPD courses virtually, enabling even remote workers to continue their personal and professional development and to hone their key leadership skills.
Director, Fletcher George Financial Recruitment
Fletcher George is an independent finance and accountancy recruiter working, primarily with finance and accounting professionals in South West London and Surrey including the Hampshire and Sussex borders. We recruit for both Public Practice and also for commercial businesses in the local area.
For more information, please contact Lisa on 01372 364 160 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org