How to Develop High-Performing Teams


Change may be the new normal for accounting and finance, but this shift is in motion after years of limited disruption. As teams adjust to this new reality, transformational leadership is needed to drive your F&A organization to the next level.

From a process perspective, finance transformation is key to creating efficiency and scalability without compromising accuracy. But transformational leadership is the most powerful way to increase performance. The best leaders develop highly motivated, engaged, and top-performing teams.

In this article, creator of the Purposeful Workplace Experience™ Carolyn Swora talks about the difference between transactional and transformational leadership.

She describes a transactional leader as one who treats employment as a mere economic transaction, and explains that “this style of leadership is all about rules and standards, and the way things should be done and have always been done.”

Transformational leadership is inspiring and collaborative. According to Swora, with this leadership style “people are as important as the mission, so [leaders] go out of their way to forge strong relationships that are built on empathy and trust.

“This understanding enables the leader to empower people to make decisions, learn from mistakes, and inspire others to do their best while encouraging them to strive for more.”

Here’s how to take your teams and your organization to the next level by embracing a transformational leadership style.

Consistent Leadership Encourages Creativity

“Creativity” may not be at the top of an accountant’s job description, but it’s becoming an important skill in the ever-evolving finance landscape. Unexpected challenges require quick decision-making, especially when you run into “surprises” during the financial close. A team that can think outside the box will solve problems faster and more cost-effectively.

But how you respond as a leader in those tense moments can either encourage or discourage a collaborative effort to uncover the solution. Things will go wrong, and your teams need to know that you will respond instead of react – that you won’t lose your cool but instead, you’ll create the space for everyone to collaborate and work toward a solution.

Ultimately, your consistent behavior as a leader can be the constant in an ever-changing work environment, creating the certainty and security that your teams need to thrive. This consistency will also help develop long-term loyalty.

An Adaptable Mindset Encourages Collaboration

Maintaining an adaptable mindset is part of a consistent leadership style. When you’re flexible, a “surprise” won’t turn into a catastrophe, as your team knows that you’ll support them and tackle the greatest challenges collectively.

Becoming an adaptable leader is empowering because you’re setting a realistic expectation for your teams. This takes the pressure off individuals and makes it okay to fail, knowing that the collective group can collaborate and resolve any issue.

In the moment problem-solving draws on your top talent to show up, collaborate, and contribute, which encourages both individual and team growth.

Engaging Your Teams Leads to Loyalty

Another essential element of transformational leadership is to unleash the minds of every person on your team by involving them in decision-making. This will demonstrate that their diverse opinions are valued, while also increasing their level of engagement.

When you are leading consistently and operating with an adaptable mindset, your team will be more likely to give an honest opinion when asked. And you can engage them even more by providing leadership opportunities to all of your employees, regardless of their title.

Each person in your organization has something to offer, and everyone benefits when we tap into the talent of our people by embracing diversity of thought. When individuals are invited to leverage their strengths, performance is accelerated.

Transformational leadership creates a culture of problem solving, adaptability, and engagement. Invite your people to fully “show up” and use to their strengths and talents. This will develop a loyalty that leads to retention and peak performance.

Read this blog to learn how to create an enviable work environment that empowers your teams to become exceptional.