Tax & Accounting Blog

Be a Better Boss

Accounting Firms, Professional Development July 18, 2014

What makes a great manager? More and more leadership manuals are published every year, yet the basics elude many bosses.

Among the flaws employees cite are breaking promises and blaming others for their own mistakes. To hone your leadership skills, try these tactics.

  1. Become a good listener. Encourage your staff to express their ideas, and treat their opinions respectfully. Take an interest in your employees. Ask them about what matters to them, whether it’s their children or their hobbies. Remember people’s names and use them often, suggests Dale Carnegie in his business classic How to Win Friends and Influence People.
  2. Give credit where it’s due. Show appreciation for your employees. Acknowledge jobs well done, both one-on-one and in staff meetings.
  3. Don’t criticize. Begin every review with praise. If an employee needs to improve his performance, give feedback that will motivate and encourage him, advise Stephen Kohn and Vincent O’Connell in their book 6 Habits of Highly Effective Bosses.
  4. Put your employees first. Many managers focus on pleasing customers, investors, and higher-ups before their staff members. Morale plummets and so can performance. Remember, it’s the employees who bring value to your company’s products and services, says Geoffrey James, author of the forthcoming book Business Without the Bullsh*t.
  5. Foster team spirit. Don’t single out star players. Instead, encourage employees to collaborate and combine strengths, which sets the stage for greater achievements, writes Stephen R. Covey in his bestseller The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
  6. Ask questions. Bosses often think their employees expect them to have all the answers, James writes. But it’s smart to look to your employees for answers, too. Good managers realize that asking questions is a strategic way to spark creativity, empower employees, and gauge what’s really happening in your company.
  7. Smile often, stay humble, and have a sense of humor. An optimistic and personable leader can set the tone for the entire team. Don’t forget that a smile is contagious, even in the workplace.

Who was the best boss you ever had, and what were the qualities that made him or her earn that honor? Tell us about it below.