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Career Development: Stepping up into a Management Position

Written by: Evie Courtier
Published on: 14 Apr 2023

How to be a good manager

All celebrated finance careers start somewhere. A profession that presents a prosperous and celebrated career path, the finance and accountancy industry offers an almost linear route to the top. Starting from an entry-level position, accruing knowledge and skill over time, you can advance to higher positions, such as Finance Manager, Finance Director, Finance Business Partner, Chief Financial Officer (CFO), or eventually CEO level.

Naturally, it’s not an achievement gained overnight. Progression to a senior management position requires key leadership skills, illustrious knowledge, and expertise in how to excel in a managerial role. Assuming a senior finance job can enhance your earning capacity, demonstrate your expertise, and lead to increased job fulfilment. Yet, stepping into your first finance manager job can be a daunting prospect.

It’s easy to forget that with a promotion comes the need for a completely different skill set. Granted to those who are good at their job, promotions are both a compliment, as well as a step up into a new way and level of working. People management seeps into your day-to-day, with your workload increasing to accommodate responsibility for your teams’ output, as well as your own.

Whether you’re managing a team of 2, or 10, we have collated some of our top tips on how you can successfully step up into your new management role.

The leadership proposition:

Leadership qualities are crucial to those acting in a managerial position. An effective manager must be able to unite their team, build strong communication strategies, and be a voice of authority and reason. Inciting others to perform to their best potential is a skill that many people lack. Being a ‘leader’ doesn’t sound difficult, yet to be a successful manager you need to constantly work on yourself, develop your expertise, dedicate yourself to the process of self-improvement and understand where your strengths and weaknesses lie.

As a first-time manager, it’s worth considering working with a mentor. Having an objective voice, outside of your organisation, who you can trust completely will help boost confidence, expertise and overall leadership skills.

The communication concept:

Communication in the senior finance landscape transcends the conveying of financial information to stakeholders, shareholders, customers and employees. As a senior management member, you have to be able to communicate your vision, goals and strategies to your team. In return, you should demonstrate your willingness to engage in dialogue with your employees. Having an active listening ear ensures that opinions are seen, heard, and valued. Naturally, not all initiatives will be implemented for objective reasons, however, a good leader will provide calculated and competent feedback.

Holding personal meetings with individual employees amongst the finance team allows a two-way conversation about the trajectory of further development, self-improvement, and current projects. Having an ‘open-door’ policy not only aids workplace culture but sees you as a communicative boss, willing to listen and learn from their team.

Understanding new logistical challenges:

With communication in mind, it’s good to consider the new logistical challenges faced by managers in a post-pandemic workplace. Adjusting to the world of hybrid and remote work called for businesses to invest in building capability; taking care of connections and culture. Our current candidate-driven market puts pressure on managers to retain loyal and experienced employees. It’s therefore crucial, as someone stepping up into a management position, that you’re flexible, adaptable and proactive in your understanding of the unique challenges posed by a hybrid or remote team.

With 26% of our audience noting flexibility and hybrid working as their most valued aspect in a job (according to GAAPWeb’s latest Audience Insight Survey), it’s vital to solidify your management style for heading up a remote or hybrid team.

Upon starting your role, consider:

  • How you will integrate company culture across the digital working sphere; fostering a sense of team identity for employees who aren’t physically present in the office. Whether it’s in the form of virtual team-building activities, social office drinks, or recognizing colleagues for their milestone achievements.
  • How you will monitor and track productivity across the team.
  • How you will motivate and engage team workers across a variety of locations and time zones.
  • How you will ensure that all employees have the equipment they require to do their work effectively.

Being transparent and honest:

Starting afresh in a new company as a senior member of the finance team introduces you as an authoritative figure from the off. Cultivating managerial status when promoted within your current finance department, therefore, poses a unique challenge. Being honest and transparent in your communication will help to build trust amongst the team. By setting clear expectations and talking openly and honestly with your colleagues, you will help to establish your managerial status.

Keeping employees informed of what’s happening with the company, sharing news in a timely manner and not shying away from difficult topics will cultivate trust and demonstrate that you’re keeping them in the loop.

Being proactive:

Proactivity is a key skill found in a successful manager. The art of being proactive and taking initiative is important in any managerial position. Acting before problems have a chance to arise, helps you to identify potential financial risks, and allows you to develop plans to address them if the situation arises.

Finance is an ever-changing and constantly evolving field. Being proactive with industry trends and developments, being creative and putting forward ideas, and seeking opportunities for professional development, will help establish and maintain your reputation as a successful and sought-after manager.


 

For further advice on how to excel in your finance career, discover the GAAPWeb blog.

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