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The Best and Worst Performing CFO Leadership Styles

A CFO’s decision-making style can have a significant impact on the success of a company!

CFOs who embrace change and set challenging goals for the organisation are more likely to develop profit growth opportunities for their company, while a strict and traditional CFO could be bad for business. This is not just my opinion but now there is research behind it.

A study by Epicor Software into the leadership and decision-making styles of 1,500 CFOs in 11 countries found that they fall into six distinctive groups: politicians, revolutionaries, carers, conductors, traditionalists and visionaries:

  1. Politicians collaborative consensus-builder, cautious decision-maker:
  • Almost a third of CFOs have this leadership style
  • A more cautious leader
  • Has a methodical, team-based approach
  • Likes to consult widely with staff on important decisions
  • Believes that collaboration is a key challenge that needs addressing

2. Revolutionaries – the bold risk-taker:

  • Tied to companies that have the greatest profit growth
  • Risk-takers
  • Happy to consider changing corporate culture and structures if need arises
  • Likely to set tough and challenging goals
  • Has a less structured approach and works outside of formal systems and processes

3. Carers – solid planner, slow mover:

  • Extremely cautious and would rather delay making a decision than risk mistakes
  • Concerned about having a lack of accurate data
  • Miss good opportunities if they don’t feel that they have the data to back up their decisions, or that they haven’t achieved consensus

4. Conductors creative thinker but skim reader:

  • Quick decision maker and makes decisions based on their gut-feelings rather than hard data
  • Happy to bend the rules and work outside of formal systems and processes
  • Sets tough and challenging goals for themselves and their team
  • Good at making their organisations more efficient

5. Traditionalists – impartial but inflexible:

  • Strict and traditional by nature
  • Prefers to work within existing systems
  • Prefers not to be influenced by reputation and personalities when making decisions
  • Least likely to acknowledge any need for technological change
  • Have the least profit growth
  • Will have implications on business change and innovation, as they are less likely to take on new ideas suggested by employees or peers

6. Visionaries – grand ideas, but missing details:

  • Likes to make decisions based on experiences and intuition
  • Prefers more team-based decision making
  • Fears not having the time or resources to surface meaningful insights and embrace change
  • Enjoys working outside of formal systems
  • Articulates goals with conviction and genuine self-belief, a lack of resources is the only thing restricting them

Take the quick test to see what type of Leader you are: Click here!

Leadership is hard work. Hard work of learning to let go. Hard work of training people, coaching people, believing in people and trusting people. Leadership is a human activity. And no matter what CFO leadership style you have, you must adapt your behaviour to fully grasp opportunities in the workplace and the marketplace….for your team, the organisation and yourself.

That’s where Thought Patrol can help! If you are a purpose-driven CFO we’ll help you become a better business builder and leader, uncover new possibilities and achieve your goals with greater focus, greater energy and greater impact. We’ll help you make decisions with confidence and provide you the tools to ensure you can work effectively across the organisation to achieve consensus with your peers, better grasp opportunities as they arise and maximise your chances to grow your business. Make contact and let’s talk strategy!

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