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Self-Awareness: Conquering the Inherent Barriers to Effective Leadership

CFOs of companies of all sizes are being challenged to lead across the enterprise.  There has been much written of how should be done, and I have had the privilege of listening to hundreds of CFOs of discuss how this can be accomplished. I believe that the biggest challenges many CFOs face in effective leadership across departmental lines involves overcoming inherent barriers to success which include the following:

  • Themselves
    • Not listening effectively
    • Not investing in knowing & valuing our colleagues
    • Failing to embrace change
    • Avoiding instead of engaging and leveraging difficult customers
    • Not valuing colleagues who cause friction
    • Failing to be a “good follower” as well as an effective leader
    • Not understanding the impact of our actions
    • Failing to realize that Perception can easily become  Reality without Proper Management
    • Avoiding people who challenge us
  • Colleagues
    • Apathetic co-workers
    • Those resistant to change
    • Those with personalities that clash with yours
    • Mr. and/or Mrs. “No”, who always ask “why” instead of “why not”
  • Process
    • No mechanisms to facilitate continuous improvement
  • Company Culture
    • There is none
    • People work in Silos (no collaboration)
    • Friction is viewed as bad
    • Failure in any respect is not an option and not valued
  • Technology
    • Inhibits visibility
    • Inhibits growth by dictating business practices
    • Inhibits innovation

Recognizing the inherent barriers we face to achieving success often get us 90% of the way there. Even self-awareness in the aforementioned areas will help anyone be a more effective leader.  When CFOs learn how to get out of their own way, and identify the other inherent barriers they face within their organizations, their path to effective leadership across the enterprise often becomes self-evident.


Beatrix Aroni
Title: CFO
Company: Nedbank Malawi Limited
(CFO, Nedbank Malawi Limited) |

I strongly agree with this opinion

John P. Martin
Title: Analyst - Finance
Company: Own
(Analyst - Finance, Own) |

I absolutely agree. Great piece.