What Key Skills Will Be Required by Financial Leaders in 2020 and Beyond?

Traditionally a Financial Professional has been required to be competent in their area of specialism (Accounting, Tax, etc) before then diving into the world of managing people and aligning team objectives to achieve company goals.

What specific skills will be required in future? DeakinDigital published an interesting study, in which the four main skills areas of focus for future leaders were revealed:

Lead and Develop Others – Leaders must be able to communicate the company’s vision in a clear, concise and compelling way to their employees. They must also be able to develop the capabilities of individuals in order to achieve their agreed outcomes and ensure the workforce is aligned, motivated and committed. By doing this, they will lead and develop their employee’s performance, talents and capabilities in an efficient and effective way.

Empower Others – Another role of future leaders will be to empower and encourage their team to strive towards their goals. By empowering people and delegating authority and responsibility among the team, emotional engagement and encouragement of teamwork, communication and collaboration will flourish. According to DeakinDigital, “Leaders earn people’s confidence and inspire meaningful commitment through engaging others, delegating responsibility, empowering people to act and working collaboratively to capture opportunities that optimise how others achieve their responsibilities”.

Adapt and Change – Workplaces will soon become entrepreneurial from management down. Leaders will need to encourage their employees to be responsive and be able to suggest changes that will benefit the workplace and work towards reaching business goals. Studies have shown that leaders who embrace and adapt to changes, positively influence their staff and increases the likelihood of building a culture and team with the same ambitions and capabilities.

Drive Strategic Results – Staff performance and the measurement of goals and outcomes, will be vital to future success in the digital age. Leaders need to be able to set compelling goals for their team and be able to encourage, motivate and praise staff for achievements.

If these skills gaps are filled and future leaders adapt and change accordingly, workplaces will be positive, successful and collaborative. But above all, leaders should be able to connect with a higher purpose, motivate their team and align them with purpose and give them the opportunity to create value.

What is the current view?

One-third of Financial Professionals believe their leaders have enough skills to drive global growth, and fewer than half say their leaders are equipped to lead a diverse workforce or know how to inspire and engage employees, according to Oxford Economics.

Furthermore, the Oxford Economics study found that:

  • Only 53% (finance professionals) say their leaders has the skills to effectively manage talent.
  • Only 52% of leaders know how to inspire and empower employees.
  • Only 50% of leaders can drive and effectively manage change.
  • Only 46% believe their leaders are prepared to lead a global workforce.
  • Only 32% believe their leaders are prepared to lead a diverse workforce.

 What should I focus on?

Google recently reported on their Project Oxygen study, which assessed the top behaviours of their best performing leaders. The messaging is similar to the DeakinDigital piece. Their study found these behaviours included:

  • Being a good coach
  • Empowering the team and not micromanaging
  • Creating an inclusive team environment while showing concern for success and well-being;
  • Being productive and results-oriented
  • Being a good communicator — listen and share information
  • Support career development and discuss performance
  • Have a clear vision/strategy for the team
  • Have key technical skills to help advise the team
  • Collaborate across the company
  • Be a strong decision maker.

In our next piece we will evaluate what Change Management Skills will be required for future leaders. We hope you found this piece useful. For a more detailed discussion about aligning your business with talented Financial professionals or to discuss your career, speak to Paul McClatchie, Engage People.

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