Control freaks: It’s time to give up control. Or, so says a new survey conducted by Robert Half Management Resources of 2,100 CFOs, which reveals that 32 percent of the CFOs surveyed said they would be more productive if they empowered their employees.
The survey asked",If you gave your staff greater autonomy over how and when they do their jobs (such as flexible work hours, working remotely or less direct supervision), what effect, if any, do you feel it would have on your own productivity?" (Fifty-five percent said there would be no change to their productivity, and 13 percent thought their productivity would decline.)
“This is a trend which has been coming in the accounting and finance field for the last ten years,” says Tim Hird, executive director of Robert Half Management Resources, in San Ramon, Calif.
“CFOs are more active in strategic planning in addition to traditional roles,” says Hird. “Freeing up their time allows them to become involved with critical corporate initiatives. Autonomous employees are more apt to develop softer skills, such as leadership, negotiation and communication skills, which they will need to assume leadership positions.”
In short",despite the traditional data and deadline driven nature of the work, when staff have freedom to decide how and when work gets accomplished, they develop management skills earlier,” he says.
Hird ascribes changing corporate cultures as companies rise to meet demands for greater work/life balance and flexible schedules.
“It’s incumbent upon the CFOs to create a culture of increased autonomy. They have a direct impact on whether an employee stays or leaves the company,” Hird says.
CFOs need to identify high performers and invest in them to free themselves for more critical initiatives. They need to allow employees to set their own priorities and make mistakes. “If you’re told what to do and how to do it, you’re not developing out of the box,” Hird says.
“Empowerment drives succession planning,” says Hird. “CFOs recognize the need to empower, nurture and develop their staff’s abilities to become future leaders of the organization.”