Five emerging models for CFOs

In the previous article, we looked at the four types of CFO that you commonly find in businesses. But those types are starting to change. Increasingly, the focus is on the style you adopt to manage your team and communicate with the wider company, to assess where you can improve your approach. 

I am sure many of you have undergone some kind of Myers Briggs type indicator test. This is designed to identify the best fit in terms of career routes, how you like to manage and communicate and how you tackle decision making processes. Based on that, here are the five new models for CFOs:

  1. The Pioneer – visionary leader

The Pioneer definitely leads from the front. Driving a new vision of the future and prepared to take risks, they seek out the most efficient way of getting the business where it needs to go. They seek out competence and expertise around them but aren’t always great at listening. 

2. The Connector – relationship maker

The Connector is great at building and maintaining large networks of personal and professional relationships. They’ll always have someone in the business (or outside of it) that they can call on for a favour. They dislike process and always has the loudest voice at the table. The connector is highly motivated but hates public criticism. 

3. The Guardian – steward of responsibility

The Guardian respects and values logic, order, procedure, and process. He or she seeks clarity, likes logical and proven decision-making criteria, and will the tough questions to get them. While the guardian will try different approaches, they’d prefer to see established track records of success to justify them. He or she values competence and evidence of a great track record in their people. Change is hard for them, and they don’t suffer fools gladly. 

4. The Creativeinnovator

An outside the box thinker who always believes things can be better. Will come up with several solutions to the problem knowing that some won’t necessarily think. Is willing to try new approaches and encourages creativity. Sometimes, the Creative can be a bit of a perfectionist, and sometimes gets lost in little details.

5. The Nurturer  – people person 

The Nurturer is always concerned about the relational health and harmony of the team. They are completely committed to protecting values and principles. The nurturer innately understands how certain actions, behaviours, or initiatives will affect people. They look to build trust in the people they work with and value more than just capability in their people.  

Applying your strengths

People tend not to fit exactly into one of these types – it’s how you recognise and address your own tendencies can help you to manage interactions, avoid clashes and deliver change. Recognising the strengths and weaknesses of how others in your team approach their role is equally as valuable as understanding your own. 

CFOs are often Guardians: good at process, executing tasks and meeting commitments, and conversely less good at listening, empathy and nurturing others. They value competence in others, with stress on attention to detail.  

Whatever style of CFO you may be, the challenges remain the same: meeting profit targets, managing data, delivering growth, improving efficiencies, and meeting regulatory and compliance demands. 

There are ways you can learn to value other approaches. Allow quieter personalities a voice at the table and temper some of the extremes in others, will help you to get more from your team. As a CFO you will be interacting with connectors in sales, pioneers on the board and creatives in R&D. Being aware of your own tendencies means you’ll have more empathy with others. Building teams with a mix of styles is the only sure way of avoiding extremes.

This blog is by Charlotte Taylor, director at Formulate. Formulate’s event are on the following dates, Thursday, 31st October, Central LondonThursday, 28th November, Central LondonThursday, 12th December, BirminghamSave your place now!

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