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Great leadership at work is a fundamental building block of a happy and successful career. For senior accountants and finance professionals, a leadership role offers new possibilities for meaningful work that will outlast repetitive and mundane tasks.
There are many interpretations of what a ‘strategic business leader’ signifies in the workplace context today. It primarily refers to a professional’s potential to express a strategic vision for the organisation within the business environment and risk context, to motivate others and mobilise resources to acquire that vision and enable success.
Exemplary strategic business leaders usually possess a myriad of professional skills. These can range from leadership and governance, financial planning to technology and data analytics. These skills are important to senior accountants and finance professionals aiming to move into a strategic decision making level.
This requirement is what is handled in ACCA’s Strategic Business Leader (SBL) paper. With this paper, you as a financial professional can now jump on the bandwagon where a globally focused, continually developing and forward-thinking accountancy is commonplace, thus giving recruiters a major reason to recruit you as an ACCA member.
But why do we need strategic business leadership, specifically? And, is ongoing leadership skill training essential to ensure that leaders stay on the right track? Let us explain why these two concepts work in tandem with each other.
Every business can benefit from a review of its leadership style. It starts with recognising that a company undoubtedly already has emerging leaders within the organisation.
When you recognise these leaders, you acknowledge and value the individuals’ unique traits and skills. This leads to building a pool of strategic business leaders for the company’s future success while boosting their morale at the same time.
This recognition serves a dual purpose – not only can the individual embrace a leadership style that is in line with the current vision and mission of the company but also help the organisation identify the leadership style critical to remain competitive and/ or relevant and achieve its vision better.
Leadership style is not the only skill students/ professionals learn in the Strategic Business Leader course. Sophisticated techniques, models and relevant theories are introduced to students/ professionals to help them analyse, evaluate and support business decisions in a simulated business environment.
This is important because these ‘future’ strategic business leaders are the key decision makers who make everything work together seamlessly in a company. Without these valuable skills and knowledge, a company risks becoming obsolete in today’s ever-evolving business landscape.
In many companies, leaders who make their way to the top of the hierarchy do so by demonstrating superlative contextual leadership, persistent actions and the right skills to solve problems as they arise. Hence, these traits come across as pivotal if leaders are to meet the expectations of those who placed them there.
However, as painful as it may sound, not all leaders can learn fast enough, or do enough on their own to effectively form a strategy and then define, shape, and execute the organisational response in a timely manner.
How effectively a leader performs is usually demonstrated in the form of strategic decisions and actions in response to a change or crisis. Without the critical skills discussed before, leaders may find it challenging to not only produce a winning strategy required at the specific point in time, but also to get the right employees to execute the strategy.
So appropriate leadership skills training and proper transition can essentially make sure that leaders are on the right track to lead the company to organisational success. This has to be coupled with individual efforts from the professional to hone their leadership skills in day-to-day activities through observation and Continuing Professional Development.
Arduous and toilsome challenges lie ahead for the stagnant, ineffective and inexperienced leaders. So what do you choose to be? A great, effective and agile strategic business leader who brings the company to the next peak or an ineffective and irrelevant leader who fails to resolve the challenges, causing the company to be in the doldrums?
If you want to be a leader who can win irregardless of business circumstances, it is imperative that you gain the right skills and knowledge to be real time game changers in today’s business world. And ACCA’s Strategic Business Leader course is the big, right step forward in that direction.