Are you the manager of a CPA firm? If so, you are no doubt aware of the high level of people skills you must have in order to be successful. Every manager, no matter their field, simply has to be good with people. This is especially true for those in charge of accounting firms. Not only are these individuals responsible for developing entire teams of accountants and other finance professionals; they also must provide impeccable customer service, stay up to date on accounting practices, and run a business! None of this is possible without solid people skills.
How Does Someone with Great People Skills Behave?
‘People skills’ is a term most of us have heard multiple times. Do you know what it entails? Sure, it is suggestive of working well with people, but how does someone with great people skills behave? First and foremost, he or she is a good listener. Also, the person is empathetic toward others. Third, an individual with above-average people skills can solve problems quickly. Although these certainly aren’t the only abilities a manager should have, they are some of the most important.
3 Ways for CPA Firm Managers to Build People Skills
Are you looking to build your listening, empathy, and problem-solving skills? If so…
1) Make eye contact with employees – In the article How to Become a Better Listener, Dan McCarthy wrote, “Listening is one of the most consistently lowest rated behaviors in 360 degree feedback assessments for managers.” To become a better listener, McCarthy suggests that those in management positions consciously make eye contact with employees during conversations. In addition to this, head nodding and keeping one’s arms uncrossed can aid the process of active listening.
2) Strike up conversations with strangers – Being empathetic is a gift. Not only does it benefit others, it also benefits the individual doing the empathizing by greatly strengthening his or her people skills. Since we live in a culture that’s heavy on digital interactions and light on real-life interactions, sometimes we have to intentionally stir up our ability to empathize. How? One way is to “have a conversation with a stranger at least once a week that gets beyond superficial talk,” wrote Roman Krznaric, contributor to TIME.
3) Play games — Working crossword puzzles and playing games such as chess and Sudoku can be great for your problem-solving skills. Try to engage in this type of activity fairly often.
Do you want to become a better CPA firm manager? Then make eye contact with your employees when talking to them, occasionally strike up conversations with strangers, and play games that make you think. So easy and so effective.