The success or failure of a company is directly dependent on the collective decisions of each team member, but the actions of the team are dependent on their leader. A strong leader will inspire their team to develop themselves both personally and professionally, which generates passion for improvement. A unified, passionate team will perform with enhanced productivity and contribute to the growth and success of their company. Therefore, being a great leader is required for running a great business. The following five leadership qualities are essential for any tech-savvy CFO.

Lead by example

It is vital for CFOs to set direction and create an environment to cultivate greatness in each employee. To do this, you must show them the way by doing it yourself – do the right thing, at the right time, for the right reason. Look at legendary businessman, Jack Welch of General Electric. Welch knew that to push GE to new heights, he had to turn everything upside down. And he did. He developed a “boundaryless organization." Everyone from the lowest line workers to senior managers got his attention and he listened to their ideas. If your team knows that you will also do whatever you expect from them, they’ll likely work hard to help you achieve your goal. When leaders don’t “practice what they preach,” it can be almost impossible to trust a leader and enthusiasm will disappear.

Listen to employees

A good CFO understands the importance of listening to and understanding their team. For example, if your team is expressing frustrations and limitations with the current accounting system, take note and ask questions – show genuine interest. Now, this does not mean instantly invest in a new system. But employees must know their thoughts and opinions are valued. Encourage them to do research and develop the business case for implementing a new accounting software solution and present it to you. Listen with an open mind and picture yourself in their position. If their proposed solution is economically sound with the required features and benefits, make the switch.


Self-management is the ability of an individual to regulate their own actions rather than blindly responding to emotion and impulse. Most of us understand that emotional intelligence (EQ) is important and, yet, most of us are unaware as to how to handle emotions effectively. Lacking the ability to self-manage will often result in taking anger out on your team, which can lead to frustration and resentment. This will harm your team’s productivity and decrease morale. As noted by Daniel Goleman, Ph.D., author of the bestselling book, Emotional Intelligence, “Out of control emotions make smart people stupid.” Self-management enables you to take personal accountability for your emotions, actions, and mistakes, which inspires trust and respect from your team. Unlike IQ, EQ can be learned over time. Always be honest with yourself about your strengths and weaknesses and learn to accept your flaws, and vow to never blame your mistakes on your employees.

Speed of Implementation

Encouraging your team to work more efficiently and effectively starts with you. Former automobile executive Lee Iacocca famously said, “The speed of the boss is the speed of the team.” As CFO, it is your responsibility to lead and set the example. By remaining positive and productive, you inspire your team to do the same. Not following your own advice will result in losing the trust and respect of your employees. When deadlines are approaching, it’s easy to feel stress and frustration, but it’s vital to stay on track and hold yourself to a high standard. A good CFO will encourage and inspire employees to improve and evolve themselves.

Find a Mentor

Lastly, an important aspect of developing leadership skills and managing challenges, is to find a generous mentor, who is admired, respected and has consistently achieved excellent results. This may be easier than you imagine, because the best bosses share a common trait of generosity and a nurturing spirit.

This content was originally posted here.