Are you creating Leaders or Followers?
Having worked with many teams over the years, both as a leader and contributor, I have come to appreciate the importance of team work.
In more recent years I’ve entered companies as a Controller & CFO, privileged to lead finance & management teams with varying degrees of education, experience and drive.
These teams have generally consisted of a great group of individuals that were dedicated, committed and looking to grow. However, as a result of previous management styles (or lack thereof) the absence of structure, communication, guidance, team culture and/or vision set these teams up for failure.
There are many trains of thought on proper leadership, there are however a few that consistently resurface:
Targets – Every team is formed with a purpose. Whether it’s the implementation of a new process or the maintenance of the companies’ financial reporting. Targets and goals should always be established. They provide a common expectation for the team and establish a preferred outcome to work towards.
DON’T FORGET to allow your team members to contribute into the development of the goals. This will show that their contributions are valued and develop team “buy in”.
Transparency – Providing a goal or target by itself is rather meaningless.
Providing insight as to the impact of a successfully reached target will provide the basis for clarity and mitigates ambiguity.
A simple example is to explain the importance of processing payables on a timely basis to an accounts payable member. Their efficiency provides management with a clearer and more accurate picture of disbursement cycles. In turn allowing for better cash flow management.
OR, work with your operations team to improve billing cycles by implementing daily or weekly billing cycles. Often times operational staff will see these requests as impractical and unreasonable requests from accounting. Doing so however will provide data to support the hiring of additional staff during busy times. Billing once a month (or less frequent) results in blended billing and the details are often washed away..
Talk with your team – Communication is the best tool to facilitate a great team dynamic. This can be in the form of group discussions or individual member interactions. As a leader you want to drive this process frequently and contribute on a regular basis.
When working with a young or inexperienced team, follow up frequently and give them your undivided attention. Consider scheduling one-on-one time with your team members.
Clear and concise communication of expectations early on will result in fewer questions and/or guidance requirements down the road. As a leader this will free up time to monitor project progress and steer actions more easily.
Teach – “True leadership creates new leaders, not followers“.
As a Team leader, you are responsible not only for the success of the project, but also the growth and education of your team.
A great leader should see each project as a privilige and opportunity to educate, grow and develop their team.
Together – “There is no “I” in Team”. A teams mindset is the foundation for success (and failure).
Through creating clear expectations, facilitating open communication, and allowing opportunities for growth, it will strengthen the bond as a team and the commitment to reach the goals established.
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Through leveraging resources and easing commitments.
Peter Teunissen, CPA (ca)
Founder & CEO
– Leverage Consulting Group –