When a person starts a small business accounting firm, sometimes it feels like they’re juggling sticks that are on fire. There’s always too much to do for just one person, but you may be scared your employees will get burned if you hand off too much responsibility.
But, boy, can the fire get hot if you’re juggling too much! At Universal Accounting School, we’ve seen the toll that taking on too much leaves on business owners as we’ve helped them start small business accounting firms. Our team of coaches, many of whom started successful firms of their own, struggled with the pressure of doing it all.
Don’t get left holding on to the heat. Owners who struggle to delegate tasks and outsource work may feel like they are unable to take a break. This can lead to feelings of burnout and a lack of work-life balance, impacting their physical and mental health. Here are some ways to build trust with your team and pass on key tasks with confidence.
1. Don’t micromanage
It’s hard for employees to build confidence at your small business accounting firm if you’re always checking over their shoulder to see how they’re doing. They’ll work more slowly if they feel like they need their boss to sign off on everything they do and worse, they may feel frozen if they’re stuck on a task and do nothing if you’re too busy to guide them.
Micromanaging can build a frustrating dynamic for your employees and showing your confidence in them by leaving them alone to work on an assigned task (even if they don’t perform it exactly as you expected them to) will strengthen your relationship so you can trust them with more.
2. Train and retrain
We all know the old adage about teaching a man to fish versus giving a man a fish, but in the world of small business accounting firms, sometimes CEOs feel like it’s just simpler to do the fishing themselves.
You can’t always train everyone on everything they need to know, but setting time aside to ensure that employees have the training they need to carry out their responsibilities will make things run smoother over the long run. Don’t be afraid to revisit training to clearly lay out your expectations for specific tasks. Your employees are juggling a lot, just like you, and a simple reminder of a training can be all it takes to make a project shine.
3. Empower employees
This suggestion is dependent on the amount of trust you can build with your employees. How can you empower them with more to handle if you don’t trust their performance in the first place? A great way to build trust is by recognizing and rewarding good performance. Invest in your employees’ success and they’ll be more likely to invest in yours.
Empowering your employees to take ownership of their work and make their own decisions can lead to innovations and growth that you never would have imagined. Build that trust for employees to go off script and be creative without potential backlash from the top.
4. Address poor performance with empathy
As much as we’d like to imagine that delegating tasks will always lead to a smoother operation at your small business accounting firm, eventually you’ll run into a situation where an employee lets you down on something you asked them to do. Remember, the goal is to make your life and their life easier by sharing responsibility, not for you to pile on if they’re already frustrated with their performance. That will only make it harder to work together in the future.
Take time to empathize with your employee and discuss solutions for the next opportunity you give them. Don’t berate them or belittle them for their slip up in front of other employees. You’ll build more office morale, and thus more confidence in handling the tasks you delegate, by treating your employees with respect and giving them specific strategies for improving when they slip up. No one has an infinite leash of course, but you’re more likely to get an employee back on track if you understand where they’re coming from.
5. Prioritize and outline
As you weigh what you need to delegate at your small business accounting firm, consider how you’ll lay out these tasks for your employees. If you’re going to give them new responsibilities, be sure to make it clear where that new ask fits in as a priority with the work they’re already doing. The point of delegating is not to pass off your burnout onto your employees by giving them to handle. It’s to create a healthy and uplifting environment for everyone who works at your firm.
Don’t leave any space for confusion when you ask an employee to take on a new assignment. Let them know what they should prioritize finishing before jumping on what you’ve asked them, or if you need them to drop everything and get to work. If you don’t, you may leave them feeling overwhelmed and confused.
The Universal Solution
Universal Accounting School has helped small business accounting firm owners get the most out of their companies since 1979. Universal specifically designs its online video instruction to help CEOs make their businesses sustainable without constant oversight from the top. Learn more on how you can build a better work-life balance for yourself by calling 877-801-8080 today, or schedule a time to discuss your future online by clicking here.