Part of managing your accounting team involves providing feedback. When done promptly and well, giving performance feedback increases productivity, strengthens relationships, and improves retention.
Follow these guidelines to reap the benefits of providing feedback to your accounting team.
Provide feedback in real–time as much as possible. When a teammate is doing a great job, publicly let them know. When an issue comes up, rather than putting off the discussion or emailing about it, privately talk with your team member. The incident will be in their mind and easily recalled, making it easier for them to modify their behavior. Your teammate can give their perspective and work on improving.
Use neutral terms to describe specific actions or behaviors that need addressing. For instance, if your teammate often shows up late for work, mention the time they arrived that day. Ask what kept them from being prompt and what could help them arrive earlier. This reduces defensiveness and encourages open dialog. If you feel angry about an issue, put off discussing it until you’re calm. You need to remain open when listening to their side of the story.
Explain the Impact
Share how your team member’s actions impact the team or business. For instance, if an accountant often is late for meetings, point out how that suggests their time is more important than others’. Showing up late means missing out on key information, needing to restate what’s been said, and taking longer to conduct business. If the teammate’s lateness causes the meeting to run over, everyone’s schedule for the rest of the day is set back. They won’t have adequate time to complete everything they had planned.
Listen to Your Team Member
Actively listen to what your teammate says. They had their reasons for deciding to do what they did. Perhaps they believed they’d receive more desirable results. Maybe they misunderstood your directions. Ask clarifying questions to find out more information. Involve your team member in coming up with a solution for improvement.
Offer Suggestions for Improvement
Give specific advice on ways to do better. Your teammate will be more likely to take action when they know exactly what to do. For instance, you may suggest that an auditor communicate more with a client at set points throughout their work.
Set a time to follow up with your teammate. Whether circumstances call for a week or a month, sit down at that time to review progress in the area needing work. Point out which improvements you’ve seen and whether you have additional suggestions to do better. Ask your teammate for their input. Remind them that they’re valued and respected for their contributors.
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