Regulatory compliance professionals have historically relied on their subject matter expertise and ability to solve problems to advance professionally. More recently, compliance and regulatory issues have become regular C-suite and board room topics, and the ability to manage a compliance team while also serving on an influencing executive management teams is a prerequisite for success.
In the increasingly complex regulatory environment financial institutions are facing, leadership skills are often as important to professional effectiveness as deep expertise. Ability to be an effective compliance leader rests upon not only knowledge and expertise with regulations and compliance risk management, but the ability to effectively interface with business line leaders in order to successfully manage the intersection of increased regulatory risk and the demands of business in a highly competitive industry. Compliance/risk managers can grow in their roles and claim their seats at executive tables by understanding and honing the skills that propel successful leaders and influencers. More specifically, the leadership skills needed in today’s compliance leaders include the ability to:
- understand their own leadership style and the leadership styles of other compliance officers and business people;
- develop a strong leadership voice and presence;
- embody effective assertiveness and direct communication with peers, more senior business people, and direct reports;
- motivate and inspire teams;
- handle difficult conversations;
- solve intractable problems; and
- develop greater self-awareness and a deeper understanding of how to avoid becoming an obstacle to your own success.
The level and rate of change taking place in regulatory compliance makes the job of effective risk management a significant challenge even for the most experienced compliance professional. However, with this challenge comes an opportunity to lead transformational change on both a personal and professional level.