5 Tips for Effectively Managing Staff

by Nicole DeRosa, CPA, MAcc, Wiss | March 27, 2024

Effectively managing staff is a challenge for everyone — and there is no one-size-fits-all approach, which makes this much trickier. As leaders, we are consistently wearing many hats, but it is imperative that managing staff is not put on the back burner. The ultimate goal of effective leadership and management is to create a cohesive working environment that motivates and fosters constant growth of the team. Here are five tips.

  1. Communicate. Communication should always be encouraged. If staff feel comfortable conveying ideas, questions and concerns, an environment will inherently be created where employees feel valued, respected and motivated. Effective communication goes both ways though, and oftentimes we don’t focus on the active listening component. Being actively engaged with what another person is saying to us is extremely important as it gives every person the chance to share opinions while also feeling empowered.
  2. Reward hard work and acknowledge growth. “Coach the players you have, not the players you wish you had.” Positive reinforcement is a highly effective management technique as it improves the overall employee experience, helps to motivate staff and shapes company culture. Feedback should always be honest, without being discouraging, so that it can be used as an opportunity for growth. Appreciate the unique skills and attributes each individual person brings to the table and focus on their strengths. When employees feel appreciated either through formal or informal recognition, they will feel encouraged to continue exhibiting the behaviors that led to the appreciation. When you notice someone producing quality work or exhibiting a positive behavior that you would like to see repeated, learn what motivates them and play on that. Perhaps providing incentives or perks to employees that align with company culture can be explored and incorporated into daily operations.
  3. Get to know your team. Personalities respond differently to various leadership styles, plain and simple. To be an effective leader, you must get to know your staff by building professional relationships. Knowing your employees on a personal level will aid in cultivating their potential, and personalized attention can elevate their potential. Knowing how an employee works best and what inspires them should factor into your management techniques. Start learning about your employees by using active listening techniques and making time to talk about things other than work. Although sometimes cliché, ice breakers can really aid in getting the ball rolling here.
  4. Encourage learning. It goes without saying that embracing a culture of constant learning and development truly benefits everyone in an organization. Improving one’s skills and overall experiences not only boosts retention of employees but also boosts their overall expertise and confidence. Encouraging formal learning, such as CPE, and informal learning (i.e., on-the-job training) is integral to a successful organization, but also a characteristic of an effective leader. Teach how you would have liked to have been taught.
  5. Practice what you preach. Last but certainly not least, perhaps the most important tip: lead by example. Demonstrating to your staff that you hold yourself to the same standards that you expect from them is very powerful. It shows that you are a team player. Becoming a truly effective leader will require self-reflection and constant growth. As important as it is to give feedback, it’s equally important to seek feedback about your management skills. Depending on the comfort level and type of feedback, consider using an anonymous channel so that your staff are able to communicate their honest thoughts without the fear of retribution or awkwardness.

At the end of the day, a good manager understands that they’re only as good as the team behind them. By strengthening the team, you are elevating yourself as an effective leader.


Nicole M. DeRosa

Nicole M. DeRosa

Nicole DeRosa, CPA, MAcc, is a partner at Wiss and a member of the NJCPA Board of Trustees.

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