Personal leadership extends much further than the boardroom –






Personal leadership is a challenge for all finance professionals who want to make a real impact.

In today’s dynamic organization, finance teams are always faced with new tasks. This makes personal leadership a crucial factor for success, says Joris Nuijten, expert in leadership development and teaches at the University of Amsterdam. “Personal leadership is crucial what if scenarios to work. “

“Of course, as a finance professional, you have to excel in your profession. But it is also about proactively advising management on strategic issues and effective collaboration with different disciplines and different internal and external stakeholders, ”says Joris Nuijten, expert in leadership development and teacher at the Amsterdam Business School at the University of Amsterdam. Leadership development is therefore not just a topic for the boardroom: Personal leadership is a task for all professionals who want to have an influence.

Nuijten has worked for Shell for more than 20 years and has dealt with themes such as continuous improvement, strategy and leadership development. He is also active as a coach, facilitator, coach and consultant for start-ups, scale-ups and NGOs. Since 2015, he has taught leadership modules in various MBA programs at the University of Amsterdam, and since 2018, he has been a lecturer at the Amsterdam Business Schools Executive Master of Finance and Control. “In current financial practice, the theme of management is increasingly on the agenda because the changing position of the economy places new demands on the CFO’s team. Financial professionals are increasingly being asked to do much more than check numbers and provide financial data. “

Current topics such as digital transformation and customer centricity is growing interest in the theme of management in the financial sector, Nuijten points out. “Due to the advancing digitization, an increasing number of tasks are being automated. It provides more space for economics to focus on the human side of the subject and develop into a strategic partner. The advancement of the customer-oriented economy also focuses on soft competencies such as open listening, putting yourself in the position of others and understanding the customer’s questions and wishes. And that’s exactly what personal leadership is all about: empathy and understanding for the other. ”

Keep growing
According to Nuijten, personal leadership starts with self-awareness: an awareness of your qualities, pitfalls, challenges, and allergies. “If you understand your strengths and weaknesses, you can adapt your communication style to the situation, which increases the chance that you will get the desired effect. A challenge for managers is that in a management position it is usually more difficult to receive feedback. You need honest people around you who hold up a mirror for you. You can learn so much from colleagues from all levels of the organization: They often have a sharp antenna for what’s going on. On top of the monkey rock, you are further away from the workplace, and you really do not have all the knowledge in the house. ”

Nuijten advises financial professionals who want to operate efficiently to immerse themselves in the environment on an ongoing basis. “Show interest, listen carefully and put yourself in the other person’s place. The better you understand what the company is about, the better you can tailor advice and reports to the issues at stake – and the more trust you generate, and the more impact you will ultimately gain. In my optics, a leader is someone who truly sticks to himself and who is authentic and with integrity. And above all: someone who is connected to others, who listens sincerely, and who is enthusiastic and positive. This creates a ripple effect: the leader then inspires others to take an extra step, and it releases enormous power in an organization. ”

The growth in personal leadership never stops, Nuijten emphasizes. “Immediately growth mindset – the belief that you develop talents through hard work, smart strategies and input from others – you keep learning all your life and you make real progress. It also means that you regularly step out of your comfort zone. It does not have to be about big and compelling actions. It can also mean, for example, approaching a colleague who does not keep an agreement in a respectful way. ”

In a society in constant change, themes such as agility and flexibility are high on the agenda of finance. What does this mean for effective management? Today’s world can be characterized as VUCA: fleeting, uncertain, complex, ambiguous† It requires a high degree of personal leadership. How do you operate effectively in uncertain situations, such as during a reorganization? How do you react to unexpected events? How can you learn from challenges and mistakes? Of what if scenarios, you can already think in advance about what could happen. The self-awareness and curiosity that characterizes personal leadership are crucial to dealing with such scenarios. “

According to Nuijten, another task for the successful leaders today and tomorrow has to do with psychological security. “You need an atmosphere where all team members have the feeling that they can be who they are and say what they think – and also that they can openly doubt or state that they do not know it for a while. If you enable such an atmosphere, you encourage authenticity and spaciousness – and that creates the greatest chance of utilizing all the talents in the organization. ”

Hold leadership
According to Nuijten, an important part of personal management is successful collaboration in teams. “How can you as a professional function effectively in a team? How do we ensure psychological security as a team? How do we ensure sufficient diversity in a team, and create a culture of inclusiveness? What talents do the different team members bring in? How do we define success and how do we monitor our progress? How do we set our course: how do we make decisions, how do we deal with differences of opinion, and how do we celebrate successes? If you think about such issues at an early stage, you can act faster and more efficiently in a crisis situation. ”

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