Lessons From Busy Season: How To Be a Great Boss

Every business has a busy season. For us, we’re in the most demanding one of the year. Business returns are due tomorrow, and April 15th is just around the corner. Our team is coming in early and working late. It’s easy for folks to get discouraged, especially the younger teammates who don’t have a lot of tax seasons under their belts yet. What’s our leadership team to do?

Over the years, we’ve learned that when the going gets tough, being a “good boss” is more important than ever.  The extra support and encouragement for teammates are just what’s needed to get us across the finish line.

Unfortunately, being present and going the extra mile is something a lot of business owners and managers miss. When things get busy and stressful, they work hard on the business but not on their team. Customer needs #1, everything else dead last. And, that’s unfortunate, because that perceived lack of appreciation for a job well done, that lack of support…that’s precisely what causes people to start looking for new jobs.

A few years back, we shared our thoughts on this topic. Below you’ll find some additional tips we’ve picked up along the way.

 

Manage workflow with software.

We have offices in three cities, we allow teammates to work from home when needed (though obviously, they do this less during busy season), and you’ll often find our accountants working at client sites. That could cause trouble with workflow progression, but we employ software that keeps us informed of what’s going on as good as if we were working together in the same office. The software provides real-time information, helps with ongoing status reports, identifies what’s missing in any given project, and lets staff know where their teammates may be stuck and could use a hand. All of this allows us to continuously measure and monitor workflow.

Of course, it’s specifically designed for accounting practices, but it’s not the only software out there. Chances are, tools and technology exist for your industry, too, and could make a world of difference for you as you manage your daily operations.

Help employees control their hours.

Just because it’s tax season, it does not mean we expect employees to work until they drop or sleep under their desks just to get started early again in the morning. We want people to work a decent number of hours and take at least one day off per week so that they make it through tax season in one piece! There will be overtime, that’s a given, but employee lives cannot be completely devoured by tax season.  

To manage their time, we pay close attention to time sheets and encourage employees routinely to set priorities and share their needs with others on their team. Asking for help is critical to avoiding the neverending day.

Let people work in peace

Much of our staff works in an open-air environment, in cubicles with low walls, or in offices with glass doors. That’s great for transparency and teamwork but not the best if you need to shut out the world and get some work done. We needed a workaround.

In addition to being free to put calls on “do not disturb” and shut office doors and blinds, we’ve come up with a color card system that staff can use to let others know they’re not to be disturbed. A hanging red card on their cubicle wall or office door is a sign that that person needs to work in silence and is not to be disrupted for any reason outside of an emergency. Allowing staff the freedom to use their cards at their discretion goes a long way toward job satisfaction. People can get a lot of work done, and that time of solitude can be incredibly refreshing in an office that’s always buzzing.

Feed them

Hard working people need to eat! This one needs no real explanation. If your budget prevents frequent catered lunches, we’ve found that sweet treats go a really long way. Not only do they provide some needed sustenance, but they provide the opportunity to break and socialize and clear the tension in the air. See you in the break room for ice cream!

Celebrate

The end of busy season will come. It always does. And, that’s when you’ll find us playing cornhole and enjoying food and drinks on the roof in Charlotte, or taking a brewery tour in Hendersonville, or lunching somewhere fabulous in Myrtle Beach. We do these things as a team to recognize what we’ve just accomplished together: months of solid, steady, and important work. We never skip this. It’s incredibly gratifying. Don’t you skip it either.

Being a great boss is important and incredibly rewarding work during the busy season. Do what’s necessary to keep your team motivated and enjoying work — even during the hard times.

About Rachel Coughtry

Comments

  1. very interesting article,provides a great help thank you for sharing

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