Fraud Basics

How to be the team leader who gets results

So you've assembled a team of highly skilled CFEs, auditors, paralegals and attorneys to investigate a major fraud scheme. Everyone is excited about the case, and you're turning the levers. However, just a few weeks or months into the case, participants' enthusiasm has waned, and it seems the case is no longer important to some team members. They don't answer your calls or emails promptly, and they've made other cases their priorities. You assume the team members still enjoy working fraud examinations because that's their chosen profession. But before you question their commitment or work ethic, consider that the entropy could be a result of leadership problems.

Most of us can probably think of a case that would've had a more positive outcome if the team leadership had been better. Poor leadership can demoralize the most skilled team and render it utterly useless (to you). Of course, this is great news for fraudsters who'd like nothing more than to go undetected and unpunished regardless of the reason.

Sometimes the seemingly subtle yet damaging impact of poor leadership can make it difficult to identify as a root cause. In other cases, it's clear something is wrong, but the leaders are in denial of their shortcomings and will attribute all other possibilities to explain their ineffectiveness. Those in leadership or supervisory positions might expect their subordinates to follow them and do what they say only because they're lower on the totem poles. But that type of leadership rarely, if ever, yields extraordinary results.

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