CFO's need to see themselves as a "Leader" first
There is one skill that every CFO needs - it's the ability to LEARN LEADERSHIP.
Every leadership journey starts with "self-awareness" so it was with amazement a few weeks ago that I read some research by education consultants CarringtonCrip titled Time for MBA 2.0, which concluded that the self-awareness was last in a list of 17 skills which prospective MBA students wanted to develop.
Despite students' disdain for developing their self awareness, most of them apply to do their MBA in order to improve other soft skills. Top of the list are leadership, critical thinking, negotiation, communication and an entrepreneurial mindset.
Could it be possible that senior professionals have the same view - that they just don't want to develop self- awareness as a critical skill to assist in becoming effective leaders.
In "Learning Leadership" by Kouzes & Poner they argue that learning is the master skill for every leader and the best leaders are the best learners. Effective and targeted learning should always start with "self-awareness"
Here are just a few questions for you to assess if you see learning as a priority:
•Are you curious and want to learn something new?
•Do you have a growth mindset ?
•Do you make learning a daily habit ?
If you want to be a CFO or are looking to expand your influence as a truly strategic CFO, then you must become the "best learner"
Kouzes & Posner propose you ask yourself this question everyday
"What did I learn in the last 24 hours that will help me become a better leader ?"
It could be something about you, other people, the context in which you work, the external environment, a new technique, or anything else that contributes in some way to your knowledge, skills and attributes about leadership. Take a moment and consider your leadership journey ......
Use a journal so you can see how much you have learned and improved over time. You can also identify where you are stuck and how you need to take a new path to get yourself out of a rut.
Another option to improve your self-awareness is seeking some valuable feedback directly from your manager, peers and direct reports around your overall business acumen capability. The Business Acumen Gauge was developed by Quad Assessment as a result of a recognised need for this element of leadership and organisational performance to be mapped, measured and managed.
The term Business Acumen is mentioned frequently in the public domain yet there is no universal agreement on what constitutes Business Acumen. The Business Acumen Gauge aggregates the critical capabilities identified by top tier leaders as being fundamental for organisational success. The diagnostic process allows you to identify which of those capabilities are most crucial for your organisation and use that agreed matrix to map, measure and improve leadership capability. Most of all it provides valuable insights into improvements you can make to be more effective as a CFO.
James O'Brien is the Founder of CFO Accelerator which offers exclusive mentoring and coaching to CFO’s across Asia Pacific. Book a FREE CFO Power Up Session to see how the Business Acumen Gauge can assist you in your leadership journey.
Sign up here to receive our latest CFO Thought Leadership direct to your email.
James is accredited in the Business Acumen Gauge from Quad Assessments
B Babu Reddy B.COM FCMA