17 reasons you need women managers on your finance team


If at least some of the people leading your accounting and finance teams aren’t women, you’re missing a major opportunity.

Turns out, women outscore their male counterparts in seventeen of nineteen key leadership skills. That’s the finding of new research by the Harvard Business Review (HBR).

Who wouldn’t want the highest functioning finance department possible?

No matter what the current makeup of your finance management team, take a look at what those 17 skills are so you can gauge how your own supervisors are doing.

Where the ladies come out on top

These are the 17 skills where female managers surpass their male counterparts, according to HBR:

  1. Takes initiative
  2. Resilience
  3. Practices self-development
  4. Drives for results
  5. Displays high integrity and honesty
  6. Develops others
  7. Inspires and motivates others
  8. Bold leadership
  9. Builds relationships
  10. Champions change
  11. Establishes stretch goals
  12. Collaboration and teamwork
  13. Connects to the outside world
  14. Communicates powerfully and prolifically
  15. Solves problems and analyzes issues
  16. Leadership speed
  17. Innovates

The only two areas where the men outscored the women? Technical or professional expertise and develops strategic perspective.

You’ll notice that many of these fly in the face of stereotypical characterizations of women in the workplace. And they’re certainly not only “soft skills.”

For a function as critical and high-impact as Finance, this is a virtual wishlist of the ideal qualities for your leaders to have.

Consider the list above in regard to your own finance department leaders, both formal and informal. How would you rate them on each skill?

How to see more of these from your leadership team

Despite the misconceptions out there, leadership can be both taught and learned, say the folks at LinkedIn.

But much of it is both situational and reinforced through your company culture. You can’t send folks to a one-day seminar and expect them to become a top-notch leader.

What you can do:

  • Have your leaders mentor each other. And not just your vets with your up-and-comers. Let the leaders who are good at developing relationships work with those who can use a little help in that area. And your most powerful communicators can share their knowledge with those that have yet to find their leadership voice.
  • Highlight and reinforce teachable moments when you see them. When a member of your team champions change, you want to not let that go unnoticed or unappreciated. The reinforcement will create a cycle where you’ll see those important leadership skills more and more – and maybe even from other leaders you haven’t seen it from before.