Finance Leaders: What Are You Thankful For?

Members of a financial team thanking the financial leader for a job well done.

CFOs who practice gratitude throughout the year can reap significant benefits from doing so.

Although one can always find something to be thankful for, the work of a CFO can be challenging. According to Deloitte, CFOs are expected to play four different roles. As stewards, CFOs protect their organization's vital assets and as strategists, they help influence the organization's future. As catalysts, CFOs stimulate and drive execution and as operators, they oversee and run an effective finance organization. Therefore, when CFOs find a home in which they are valued and they are able to reflect that value back to their dedicated finance teams, they feel real gratitude.


Some CFOs are thankful for mentors. Mentors are critical in the development of a leader, especially early in one's career. Many well-known successful people had mentors. Mentors help push the mentees out of their comfort zone, helping them break down internal barriers that prevent them from making big moves. Mentors also help leaders learn how to both accept and provide constructive feedback. If peers and the team truly appreciates one's feedback, that person likely had one or mentors that helped develop this skill.

Colleagues and Staff

Other CFOs are grateful for their peers, while others are also thankful that the support they receive from their dedicated finance teams. As reports John C. Maxwell saying, "Teamwork makes the dream work, but a vision becomes a nightmare when the leader has a big dream and a bad team."

A good team helps their CFO and other financial leaders be creative and leverage creativity and identify and resolve conflict quickly through the inherent trust. Teamwork strongly encourages risk-taking while promoting ownership and accountability. CFOs sincerely appreciate this teamwork, which shows in their leadership. As reports Tony Dungy saying, "The secret to success is good leadership, and good leadership is all about making the lives of your team members or workers better."


CFOs are thankful for opportunities to build the business base and deliver for customers and clients. High performance individuals appreciate a good challenge and these types of opportunities provide that challenge. When people achieve goals and overcome difficulties, they often experience a sense of euphoria and pride that builds their confidence — as long as they recognize and congratulate themselves on what they've done. Financial leaders are no different. Grateful leaders also help their staff access similar confidence-builders — and then acknowledge and praise them for those accomplishments. This helps both parties feel that their work is worthwhile.

Looking Ahead

According to The Wall Street Journal, CFOs have even more to be grateful for. Many expect the regulatory environment to improve, which will likely reduce their compliance headaches. Although an improving job market increases wages and the difficulty in finding talent, it also improves the environment for the goods and services their organizations sell and deliver. Many financial leaders expect competition to intensify within industry but fewer expect competition from external sources.

Practicing gratitude on a daily and weekly basis has significant benefits. According to Psychology Today, gratitude is scientifically proven to improve both physical and psychological health. Being thankful for people and experiences increases empathy, reduces aggression and improves self-esteem. Gratitude not only reduces stress, it increases the mental strength needed to overcome truly difficult situations or events.

Finally, gratitude aids in relationship building. By being grateful for what you have or are experiencing, you're much more likely to express that to others, which can make them feel more valued and appreciated, thus improving the relationship. Therefore, CFOs who practice gratitude throughout the year can reap significant benefits from doing so.