Listen up, managers: Your firm’s ability to hire and retain top performers for accounting and finance jobs hinges largely on your ability to maintain positive working relationships with your employees. So it pays to take special care to avoid management etiquette mistakes that could cause your team members to feel undervalued, uncomfortable or just plain unhappy while at the office.

Here are five examples of etiquette mistakes that many managers make with their staff.

Etiquette mistake #1: Playing favorites

If staff members sense that some employees receive special treatment from management, their motivation and productivity can suffer.

One way to overcome real or perceived favoritism is to make time for each member of your team, even if it’s just stopping by to say hello and check in. Show people that you are interested in them and value their contributions.

For more insights on how to engage millennial workers, download the Robert Half report, Creating a Leadership Pipeline: Developing the Millennial Generation Into Finance Leaders.

Etiquette mistake #2: Letting personal problems affect the workplace

Everyone goes through difficult times. As much as possible, though, discussion about personal difficulties should be left out of the office. If you find these matters are affecting your work and business relationships, consider taking time off or talking to your manager or to human resources privately about the situation. Is it time to take a break from work? You might want to consider the strategic value of getting away.

Etiquette mistake #3: Failing to respect employees’ time

Financial professionals know that there are times when they need to put in extra hours (tax season or year-end, for example), but it can’t be all the time. If you constantly need people to stay late and work weekends, and it’s not a seasonal or short-term issue, it could be a sign it’s time to hire.

Etiquette mistake #4: Using generic recognition tactics

Grand rewards are great, but sometimes a simple thank-you is all your employees need to stay motivated. So, when you praise your employees, make it genuine, personal and meaningful to them. It really can make all the difference in your ability to retain valued team members for the long term.

Etiquette mistake #5: Micromanaging

Hovering over your employees’ shoulders can stifle productivity and innovation in your department. It also can diminish morale and build resentment. Instead, give your employees the autonomy to use their skills and expertise. (The upside for managers: You’ll have more time to devote to your own priorities.)

Want to see a micromanagement nightmare? Watch this video. (You DO NOT want to be like this guy.)


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This post was updated recently to reflect more current information.