Get LaBron the ball and he’s likely to score. It seems like Tom Brady can thread a needle with a football. That single star athlete can make for an exciting game. However, having only one all-star on your team isn’t enough to snag the title. It may sound cliché, but what applies in the wide world of sports also holds true for the business world.
Success takes a team. While finance executives may not necessarily be the best players, they do need to be great coaches. In his article on CFO.com, John Touey explores why it’s perhaps more important that CFOs grow their team and make all-stars of the people who work for them or risk limiting not only their company’s growth but their own career potential as well. Read the article here.
If a CFO spends most of their day, and most likely some of their evenings and weekends as well, doing the work of their direct reports, that is a sign that they’re not doing the job for which they were hired. This practice demonstrates that the team isn’t working together and may be a symptom of poor leadership. Not to mention, the extra workload limits the CFO’s own ability to develop personal skills and raise their professional profile.
Like the best athletic coaches, financial executives should develop appropriate succession plans for their departments. Who will step up when your star player goes on the injured list or leaves your company? Who in your department can step into the leadership role when the CFO retires? Developing a department full of high performers will enhance a leader’s own promotability.
Here are four suggestions for progressive CFOs to develop a super team in their department:
Trust your team to do their jobs, in some cases better than you. It will both free up time for the leader to focus on more important tasks and give your report greater job satisfaction.
Be a coach, not a player
Focus less on “doing,” and more on “growing.” Create performance objectives, collaborate with staff members and give them feedback to drive up their overall work productivity.
Give your people stretch assignments
Executives work broadly while their direct reports typically perform more specific tasks. Instead, give your people projects that push them outside their comfort zone so they can expand their skills sets across different areas.
Look to your boss to do the same for you as you are for your team
Push yourself professionally as well to get more stretch assignments. Show your superiors that you are open to new opportunities that expand your expertise and get the recognition of your boss.
A CFO that feels that their development as a senior finance executive has stalled should examine how well they have been doing to develop their team. The hold-up may not be a lack of capability, but how effectively they cultivate the skills of their team.