Managers make mistakes, too.

Given the recent exciting changes our firm has undertaken, it seemed like fate when I checked my emails one day to see an email advertising a seminar attracting  the ‘Young Guns’ of accounting firms. Living remotely in Mount Isa it can sometimes be difficult to drop everything and fly out to all the good events like this, even as important as Professional Development is. Though, the group running the seminar, Smithink, recognized this and made the entire two day seminar available in a series of videos online. You couldn’t believe my excitement – Within a few clicks we had access to this kick-ass resource!!!

Our first workshop was presented by Mandy Holloway from Courageous Leaders, I’ve never met Mandy but I cannot speak more highly of her session which was full of value – bombs!

Within a short time I had more clarity on how to turn a bunch of common mistakes managers make into bright ideas! From this short time with Mandy, I learnt about the following mistakes that all managers can make, and some juicy tips on how to avoid them….


Once upon a time, you were the ‘doer’ – It was up to you to get all those little tasks done, and boy did you do a good job of it! But as a manager, you MUST delegate – Even when you think that it would be just easier to do it yourself. Mandy told us “Every time you don’t delegate your work to someone, you are THIEF – and are robbing them of personal development!”

As a manager you should take the following steps when you are faced with a task your new role does not require you to do:

  1. Stop Doing – Get into the frame of mind that you are no longer the doer.
  2. Find the right person – Ensure you have allocated the job to a team member with the right skill set.
  3. Identify the right level
  4. Have the right conversation – Explain exactly what you want, lay it all out (people can’t read your mind)
  5. Bring Accountability – Communicate with your team members their responsibilities of completing the task and the consequences if it’s not met.

Providing the right Feedback:

Providing feedback to your team is not often what managers are slack with, it’s how we provide the feedback and how that impacts our team. Mandy’s hints are:iStock_000071060603_Full

  • Hold up the mirror – Look at yourself before providing feedback;
  • Be developmental and positive (5:1 positive/negative)
  • Create awareness
  • Be specific
  • Describe the impact it had on yourself… and in DETAIL.

It’s important to remember when providing feedback that there is a time where people need to be aware, accept and the take action. You cannot expect action/awareness at the same time as providing feedback. There’s a cycle that every individual must go through when receiving feedback, and you must give them time to process all of their thoughts and feelings.

Receiving Feedback:

It is just as important that as a manager, your team provides you with feedback for self-improvement. It is important when receiving feedback not to defend or justify, this is also your time to reflect, accept and take action later.

Make sure you actively seek feedback from your team, ask them to review your actions constantly. If they aren’t aware you expect their feedback the responses you will receive may not be useful to you at all (“Ummm, yeah it was good” doesn’t really mean much to you)

Facilitate thinking in others:

As a manager we want to have a team who are solution orientated people not problem oriented people. Mandy suggests one way of creating this is not to teach your team but to facilitate thinking through;

  1. Brain Connection
  2. Ask Questions – Instead of telling them what was done wrong, ask questions to see if they can get there themselves
  3. Stimulate new thoughts
  4. Be Solution Orientated and not Problem Oriented
  5. Let go of control – It’s going to be hard, but it has to happen.

No matter how much experience you have managing I feel we can always learn. Implementing the smallest change could make the greatest difference to you and your team. If you take away just one tip from the above, I’ll be very happy – I can already see the differences in myself and my team from just a few small changes.

Thank you to Wardles and Smithink for providing this opportunity to me.



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Naomi Hart

Naomi Hart

Operations Manager / Senior Accountant

Hi I’m Naomi and I’m a focused & driven accountant in our firm whose number one priority is attending to my clients’ needs whether it be completing their compliance work, helping implement strategic plans, improving their cash flow, providing them with results for their monthly management meetings or assisting staff with bookkeeping. In October 2013 I was nominated, and honoured to win the Customer Service Excellence award in the Northern Outback Regional Business Awards. I have recently decided to take the next step in furthering my career by starting the Charted Accountants program. I am also working towards becoming the office’s cloud accounting Xero guru. I always have my guns a blazing ready to assist staff in-house, setting up new client files & running training sessions with clients on how to be a Xero expert in their business as well as provide day to day assistance to my other clients who have taken the leap into the cloud! On the weekend you’ll find the dust following my car out bush with my boyfriend & dogs camping or learning to ride horses. I have not long returned from a holiday of a lifetime over Christmas & New Years with my sister where we travelled to 11 countries in 6 weeks. They say once the travel bug bites, there is no known antidote, you will be happily infected til the end of your life! (Trust me it’s true!)

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