Growing Leadership Potential in Finance Business Partnering: Strategies for Success

Growing leadership potential in your finance team can unlock unprecedented growth and success. This process involves identifying potential leaders by evaluating their performance, problem-solving abilities, communication and influencing skills and the capacity to adapt well to changes. But identifying is just step one. What surprises many is that nurturing this potential is often left to trial and error rather than designing and planning a blend of job role responsibilities accompanied by the right level of training and mentoring. Developing a high performing finance business partner is of immense value to the health of any company.

Developing leadership potential in finance business partnering involves gaining deep knowledge of the business (breadth of expertise) and refining and enhancing their finance skills (depth of expertise), contributing as a key influencer in decision-making, and actively driving business performance through collaboration with colleagues. By understanding the financial implications of business decisions and actively participating in strategic discussions, one can cultivate their leadership potential within finance business partnering.  So where do you start?

Recognising Leadership Potential in Finance Business Partners

Identifying potential leaders within the finance field is pivotal for an organisation’s long-term growth and success. These individuals possess unique qualities, such as engaging and leading a team toward a common goal, inspiring confidence through effective communication, and adapting rapidly to challenges. They are often the initiators of innovative ideas and can influence others positively.

In the context of finance business partnering, it’s essential to recognise these emerging ‘adaptable to change’ leaders of your organisation. One crucial indicator of leadership potential is the demonstration of strong problem-solving skills. The ability to approach obstacles confidently, provide proactive solutions, and effectively navigate complex financial scenarios could indicate a budding leader.  Here’s a quick self-reflection question worth exploring your problem solving skills: “Do I excel at figuring out tricky problems and coming up with smart solutions?”

Additionally, adaptability within evolving work environments is another significant trait to consider when identifying potential leaders. A person who remains unfazed with constant changes, embraces new technologies and methodologies, and continues to excel is likely to demonstrate foundational leadership skills.  Here’s a quick self-reflection question worth exploring your adaptability skills: “Do I find it easy to adjust to new situations, learn from changes, and stay effective even when circumstances shift?”

Furthermore, a quality often seen in future leaders is a profound commitment to personal growth. Those who actively seek learning opportunities, challenge themselves with new responsibilities, and consistently strive for self-improvement are likely to exhibit the qualities necessary for effective leadership. Therefore, when evaluating finance professionals for their leadership potential, please pay attention to their dedication towards continuous professional development. Here’s a quick self-reflection question worth exploring your commitment to personal growth: “Am I consistently seeking opportunities to learn, improve, and develop new skills to become the best version of myself?”  

Consider a senior financial analyst who consistently demonstrates exceptional problem-solving abilities by finding innovative ways to optimise processes within the finance department. Their track record of adapting during company restructurings while maintaining high-performance levels illustrates a strong sense of adaptability. Furthermore, their active involvement in seeking additional qualifications and certifications showcases a genuine commitment to personal growth.

Moving from recognising leadership potential, let’s now explore how to nurture and develop this potential through career opportunities across finance.

Nurturing Finance Leadership Potential through Career Opportunities

In a dynamic corporate environment, nurturing leadership potential among finance business partners is crucial in preparing them for future leadership roles. An effective way to achieve this is through ‘rotational programs’.  Great in theory and works very well in practice, however, many companies lack the decision adaptability to execute ‘rotational programs’, where company and employee mutually benefit.

Through participation in rotational programs, finance business partners gain exposure to various organisational functions, allowing them to develop a holistic understanding of the business. This diverse experience significantly contributes to their leadership potential as they become well-rounded in the company’s operations. By working in cross-functional teams and understanding how different business areas interact, finance business partners are better equipped to provide deeper strategic insights and guidance that contribute to overall business success.

Leadership programs and workshops also play a pivotal role in shaping the leadership abilities of finance business partners. However, ensure they are fit for purpose and aligned to the learning outcomes of your organisation and employees. Impactology allows individuals to hone essential leadership skills like decision-making, strategic thinking, and build trust across their team and business. Programs and workshops offer a practical approach by providing real-world scenarios and case studies that empower finance professionals to expand their problem-solving capabilities and enhance their strategic thinking.

For instance, a leadership workshop run by Impactology will focus on effective communication strategies, fostering collaboration among team members, as well as understanding and articulating the value you deliver to stakeholders.  By better understanding the value you deliver, you are able to measure relative success of your work and that of your broader team.  

The benefits of these developmental opportunities extend beyond individual skill enhancement; they contribute to a more cohesive and effective overall leadership strategy within the finance function.

These career development initiatives play an instrumental role in fostering the growth of leadership potential among finance business partners, empowering them with a diversified skill set necessary for future organisational leadership roles.

Strategy and Resources for Leadership Growth in Finance

Leadership development plans are essential for shaping future Finance leaders. Tailoring these plans to emphasise specific competencies, behaviours, and skills required in finance is critical. For instance, effective decision-making, strategic thinking, commercial acumen are just a few of the pivotal skills that should be nurtured in these development plans. By focusing on these key areas, individuals can cultivate a well-rounded skill set that enables them to thrive as finance partners.

An exercise in introspection is necessary to identify the unique leadership styles, strengths, and areas for development among finance professionals. This is where employing psychometric assessments becomes insightful and helpful. These assessments serve as a valuable tool for self-discovery, allowing individuals to gain insight into their leadership tendencies and areas that require further development. By understanding their unique traits and competencies, finance partners can adopt targeted growth strategies tailored to their needs.

The Mentor’s Role in Finance Leadership

A mentor holds the key to unlocking the potential of a finance professional. They are often a senior leader or manager with an expansive understanding of their industry and organisation, offering real-world insights and experiences that can’t be acquired from textbooks and Google alone.

Knowledge Transfer: When a mentor is involved, it’s like having a guide. They contribute to the mentee’s growth by sharing industry insights, experiences, and knowledge obtained from years of navigating through similar challenges. This knowledge transfer helps the mentee understand real-world scenarios, emerging trends, and practical strategies for dealing with complex financial situations; it’s almost like being gifted a treasure trove of practical know-how that would otherwise take years to accumulate.

Mentoring isn’t just about offering out advice; it’s about fostering an environment for self-improvement. For instance, a mentoring session might involve discussing ways to communicate effectively in a meeting or strategies for addressing conflicts within the team. Through these discussions, the mentor provides guidance that shapes the mentee’s leadership style while boosting their confidence in handling diverse situations.

Another opportunity for knowledge sharing is finding a learning partner from your team or across the organisation, with aligned learning interests and development goals. This is a powerful way of keeping each other accountable, whilst supporting each other through development goals. This process isn’t just about passing on knowledge; it’s about sparking inspiration and igniting potential – empowering others through collaboration.

Learning from Failures in Finance Leadership

In finance leadership, mistakes and failures are almost inevitable – it is the only way to grow, more decision-making equals greater confidence in your own capabilities.

Embracing failure as a stepping stone can be powerful, as it allows leaders to pinpoint the exact causes of failure and take necessary measures to rectify them. It sets the stage for introspection, analysis, and, most importantly, growth. Therefore, encouraging a culture that views failures as opportunities for development is key to cultivating resilient finance leaders.

An example of this would be a project that experienced cost overruns due to inadequate risk assessment. Instead of viewing this as a complete failure, empowered finance leaders would analyse the errors made during the risk assessment process, extract valuable lessons, and implement corrective strategies. This approach fosters a mindset focused on continuous improvement rather than dwelling on past mistakes.

Extracting Valuable Lessons

Learning from failures isn’t just about acknowledging what went wrong; it’s about digging deeper to understand why things didn’t go according to plan and holding each other accountable. Identifying root causes, whether it’s a lack of communication, flawed assumptions, or poor decision-making processes, provides pivotal learning points for finance leaders. These lessons become guiding principles that inform future strategies and decisions.

It’s akin to dissecting a watch to understand how it works. By examining each part intricately and understanding its role, you gain insight into how everything fits together. Similarly, reflecting on past failures in finance leadership presents an opportunity to understand the intricacies contributing to the undesirable outcome.

By recognising and accepting failures, finance leaders allow themselves and their teams’ permission to experiment, innovate, and challenge the status quo without fear of reprisal. It brings agility and adaptability to an organisation, which is essential for success in today’s fast-paced financial landscape.

Understanding and embracing failure as an integral part of the learning process prompts continuous improvement within the realm of financial leadership. This lays a solid foundation for resilient and adaptable leaders capable of navigating any challenges that come their way.

Fostering Innovation in Finance Leadership

In finance, embracing a culture of innovation propels the organisation forward and drives progression within your team. It’s about more than just suggesting ideas; it’s about nurturing an environment where creativity thrives, and introducing new thinking can rewrite the rules of engagement. It’s about making a decision and taking action.

Idea Incubation

To foster an innovative culture, the first step is to create spaces where new ideas can be born. Provide platforms or forums where finance professionals can share innovative ideas, propose solutions to complex financial challenges, and collaborate freely without fear of judgement. Consider establishing regular brainstorming sessions with open invitations, encouraging team members to contribute ideas even if they seem radical. This can stimulate out-of-the-box thinking and help generate solutions that might not have been unearthed otherwise.

Cross-Functional Collaboration

Another critical component of cultivating innovation in finance leadership is cross-functional collaboration. By offering opportunities for collaborative initiatives across various departments, you allow finance partners to lead innovative projects and contribute to strategic business decisions from a holistic standpoint. This way, they can better understand the business’s inner workings and identify areas where innovative financial strategies can make a significant impact. This cooperation creates a melting pot of diverse perspectives, enriching the range of potential solutions and insights into complex issues.


Imagine a scenario where the finance team collaborates with the marketing department to develop a data-driven strategy for a new product launch. Fusing financial expertise with creative marketing ideas can result in an innovative approach that captures the market’s attention while maintaining prudent fiscal discipline.

Cross-functional collaboration also allows finance leaders to gain visibility within the organisation. It promotes a sense of unity and shared purpose, breaking down silos that hinder innovation and progress. By leading collaborative efforts seamlessly across departments, finance leaders can position themselves as vital catalysts for change within the organisation, earning respect and trust from their peers.

By prioritising idea incubation and cross-functional collaboration, finance leaders can sow the seeds of innovation within their teams, transforming them into dynamic engines that drive organisational progress.

The road to becoming an influential leader in finance begins with fostering an innovative environment that thrives on collaboration and bold ideas. For those aspiring to elevate their leadership potential in finance, embracing these principles could lead to groundbreaking business partnering achievements. Contact Us About Our Finance Business Partnering Impact Program Experience.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Top Posts

subscribe to our newsletter

Get such content delivered directly to your inbox