To get the top tips for becoming a better finance or accounting manager, we polled entry- and mid-level candidates to find out what they look for in an efficient, effective, and successful manager.
How to be a good finance manager: 10 tips
Be sure to follow these tips to become a better financial manager.
1. Improve communication skills and be transparent. To be the most effective manager you can be, it is vital to have open lines of communication with your employees. Communicate your expectations clearly and often, consider the employee’s unique perspective, and encourage them to ask questions or voice concerns openly.
2. Develop your own skills. If you expect your employees to develop their technology skills, expand their business knowledge and get certifications, you should lead by example. Your employees will admire your tenacity and dedication to continue to learn and better yourself.
3. Deal with conflict (don’t avoid it). This is really important. Don’t put off approaching your employees to discuss issues or conflicts. The longer you wait and allow conflict to fester, the more credibility you lose in their eyes. Uncover the issues quickly, and come to a reasonable resolution as soon as possible.
4. Set high, but realistic, expectations. Challenge your people, but make their goals achievable. This will show that you understand your employees’ skill sets and capabilities and have confidence in them. By empowering them to accomplish more, good employees will work harder, get better, and ultimately achieve success for the whole team.
5. Be open to new ideas and new perspectives. As a manager you are privy to a variety of different perspectives and ideas. Tap into these. Use them as a competitive advantage. Definitely don’t expect others to conform to one way of thinking. Embrace these unique viewpoints – you could uncover ways to be more innovative or efficient.
6. Take a break. Sometimes you have to work through lunch. It happens. Just make sure this is the exception and not the norm – you don’t want to accidentally develop a workaholic lifestyle. Taking a few minutes throughout the day to clear your head and prioritize can increase your own productivity, and also sets an example for your employees to do the same.
7. Recognize your big-picture impact. As a manager, you have the potential to change someone’s career, and sometimes even their life. That’s a big responsibility, so take it seriously.
8. Listen more than you talk. Before you can manage your team, you must listen to their concerns, questions, and opinions. Make a point to pause in your conversations more often, and really listen, instead of thinking about what you’re going to say next. You’ll be surprised at how much you’ll learn about your employees, what motivates them, and what they’re looking for from you.
9. Figure out employees’ personal and professional motivators. This skill is directly related to listening. Pay attention to each of your employees’ individual motivators. A one-size-fits-all system for rewarding good work is likely to only fit a select few and may lead to disengaged employees. Motivation has to happen on an individual level. The best way to incentivize or reward an employee is to listen to and observe what motivates them – both professionally and personally.
10. Learn from your mistakes. In order to grow as a manager, embrace any mistakes you make. And, just as important, own up to the mistakes that you make as a team – after all, these are your people and your responsibility. Don’t be ashamed of failures; use them as motivation to improve your team and your results, and to be a better manager and a better financial professional.
Final thoughts on being an effective finance manager
Hopefully these 10 tips will give you a better understanding of what your people are looking for in a manager, and help you lead your accounting and finance teams to success. For more tips on becoming a more effective manager, managing your workforce, or to add top finance and accounting talent to your team, contact an LHH office near you.