In this issue...

  Understanding Your Management Style 
Self-awareness is an important tool to master in both your personal and professional life. It is especially important for business owners anmanagers, as they are responsible for the success of their business and managing key business relationships, i.e., staff.

Business owners and managers often develop a management style over time. Depending on the type of style, this can either help or hinder their business.

If you are looking to improve your management skills, understanding your style is important. You do not have to adopt one single management style; you can use different styles for different situations to achieve the best results.

Consider the most common management styles:


Bureaucratic managers direct their team by making sure everyone follows the rules and procedures. This style is common in workplaces with hierarchies where the manager has the final say in every decision. These workplaces usually feature roles with strict responsibilities and decision making capabilities. It is helpful for environments where safety is of utmost importance, ie., engineering or health-related jobs. A bureaucratic style is not suitable in workplaces that require creativity and agility to succeed, ie., creative industries.


The democratic style speaks for itself. Management collaborates with the team before making decisions. Employee consensus and cooperation is important in making this style work. Due to the amount of consultation involved, the democratic style can impact efficiency. It can take a while for decisions and solutions to arise as the input of all employees is necessary. However, it is beneficial in promoting a culture of effective communication through discussion and debate. It can also facilitate trust between management and staff, as employees can feel appreciated by sharing their opinions and contributing to solutions.


This style instils a fear of consequence as a driving force. There is no leeway for employee feedback and employees are instructed on what to do without any control over decision making. The manager takes on a dictatorial role and motivates staff through threats and discipline. It can be beneficial to use this style during periods of crisis or stress, however, in most circumstances, it stifles creativity and innovation. It can also result in low employee morale and limits any room for employee development.


Laissez-faire management, sometimes known as delegative management, is all about giving employees the freedom to do the job themselves. Generally, the manager delegates decisions and allow staff to choose their direction over the work. Unnecessary formalities and hierarchy often diminish creativity in the workplace, so this style is excellent for creative industries. It can also be useful in industries that have teams of experts, as the manager can trust that their staff have the appropriate knowledge and experience to perform tasks without too much oversight. The downside is that employees need to be committed and responsible for their work at all times as there is very little guidance from their managers. It may not be ideal for workplaces with employees who are not willing to be held accountable for their work. This style can also cause role ambiguity where employees are unsure of their manager's expectations for the role or project.

  Communicating Effectively With Difficult People
Working with unreasonable people is inevitable for most individuals at some point in their careers. Whether it is an unhappy customer, difficult colleague or uncompromising community member - chances are you will encounter at least one of these situations.

Unfortunately, there is no crash course in dealing with difficult people, but by applying some basic principles of communication, you can manoeuvre through these situations with ease.

Here are three ways to improve your communication with difficult people:

Harness the power of listening

When dealing with a difficult person, it can be easy to fall into the trap of not listening to them and instead concentrating on what is bothering you. Switch your focus to understanding the other person's viewpoint. Try to understand the underlying motivation behind the person's behaviour, ie., they may feel unheard or unappreciated.

Make your intentions known

Communication is a two-way street - you need to be able to listen effectively and express your interests in a clear manner. Think about your communication style. Analyse your strengths and focus on improving your weaknesses. Do you use healthy body language to boost your verbal message? Are you quick to interrupt when someone else is talking? Do you get to the point or use vague language? When the other person doesn't understand your message, you need to improve communication through feedback, ie., verbal and non-verbal cues.

Don't make it personal

When you are emotionally activated, it can be difficult to stay neutral. Be aware of your self-talk and if it is fuelling negative thoughts of the other person. Look at your situation from an outsider's view and remain objective. If you are providing feedback, make sure it is constructive and not a personal attack. If you are struggling to take a neutral position, get some perspective from external parties that have dealt with similar situations. They may assist in helping you to see your own situation in a different light.

  Harris Black's Digital Toolbox – 'Trip It' 
Digital technology provides great opportunities to amplify the impact of your business activities and practices.

Gone are the days where you need to do everything manually within your practice like ordering, logistics, payments and receipts, marketing, HR, motor vehicle log book and so many more.

Every month, Harris Black will showcase a digital tool that will improve awareness, knowledge management, communication, and productivity within your business practice.

In this month's issue, we give you TripIt.

Managing your travel arrangements isn't easy as 1, 2 and 3.

TripIt instantly organises all your travel plans in one place. By simply forwarding your bookings or travel confirmation to TripIt, the app will automatically create master itinerary for each of your trips. You can also opt to allow TripIt to auto import travel plans from your email account or Google Apps so you don't have to forward your bookings and travel confirmation.

The best thing is, you can access your travel plans on your smartphone, tablet, computer or any wearable device anytime, anywhere.

TripIt - Instantly Organize Travel Plans with TripIt
Source: TripIt YouTube

With TripIt, all your travel plans, in one place!

  Personality Over Experience 
Hiring a new employee with the longest experience or the best qualifications may seem like the ideal choice for a business, but what is often left unconsidered is their personality.

An employee's personality matters. How they will interact with your clients and how well they will work with your current team is going to affect their performance in your business.

Always remember that you can build your employees' knowledge and skill base on the job, but you cannot alter their personality. Picking a candidate who has the longest experience but no enthusiasm for the role may not be the wisest choice. Be open to motivated and passionate candidates who are willing to learn as these employees can usually be moulded into the best team players.

Consider these qualities whenever you are hiring a new employee:

Positivity and confidence is key

Adding enthusiastic employees to your team can change the overall energy in the workplace, creating a more enjoyable environment for all. Energetic employees will always put more focus and effort into each task they complete.

Confidence goes hand in hand with a positive outlook. A confident employee will be comfortable in their role and more willing to take on challenges. They have the self-assurance to convince your clients that they are the best candidate to take on their work.

Action focused

Do not be wary of employees who are inexperienced but looking to take action or form innovative ideas in their role. Though not every decision they make is likely to be successful, they have more potential to grow your business than an employee who stays inside the box.

Dots the 'i's, crosses the 't's

Employees who pay attention to the finer details are more likely to avoid making silly errors that might seriously jeopardise your business.


A long history of experience is useful, but to maintain and protect your business' reputation, always look to employ candidates who are honest and genuine.

Career motivated

Those employees dedicated to growing their careers are always looking for ways they can perform their role more efficiently to move up the ladder.

  Preventing Burnout In Your Workplace 
Burnout can be detrimental to your employees' wellbeing and the overall productivity and performance of your team.

Despite the consequences associated with burnout, many workplaces do not have effective strategies in place to prevent it from occurring. The key for many employers is to keep employees engaged, satisfied and harmonious.

Here are three factors that can influence employee burnout:

Work/life balance

Expecting staff to be available at all hours of the day is unreasonable for most jobs. If staff are expected to check their emails after work hours or on weekends and paid leave, you may want to consider the type of culture you are instilling in your team. Furthermore, when staff work overtime and through their lunch break, there is limited time for relaxation which can impede creativity and problem solving. Overworking your staff can result in exhaustion and mental fatigue, both of which play a large role in burnout.

Compensation and rewards

There is no sure-fire way to prevent burnout but paying your staff adequately can help reduce some of the stress associated with the role.

Competitive salaries and "work perks" can give staff motivation to continually strive for the best results. On top of a decent salary, rewarding great performance by providing bonuses, promotions and awards can help to ensure staff feel appreciated and recognised for their hard work.

Empowering staff

Staff need to feel valued and responsible for their work. Give staff autonomy and ownership of their work by setting clear tasks, providing them with the right resources, and ultimately, avoiding micromanaging. It is also important to be supportive and realistic when staff members make a mistake. Trusting your staff to recover from a blunder gives them the confidence to overcome it with more ease.

  Personal Tax Cuts Now Law 
The legislation to enact the Government's seven-year personal income tax reform plan, as announced in the 2018 Federal Budget, passed Parliament on 21 June 2018.

Under the plan, a new non-refundable Low and Middle Income Tax Offset (LMITO) will be available from 2018–2019 to 2021–2022, providing tax relief of up to $530 to low-income individuals for each of those years. The new offset will be in addition to the existing low income tax offset (LITO). The top threshold of the 32.5% tax bracket will increase from $87,000 to $90,000 from 1 July 2018.

In 2022–2023, the top threshold of the 19% bracket will increase from $37,000 to $41,000 and the LITO will also increase.

The top threshold of the 32.5% bracket will then increase from $90,000 to $120,000 from 1 July 2022.

The legislation passed without amendments, although some had been raised in the Senate that would have prevented increasing the top threshold of the 32.5% bracket from $120,000 to $200,000 from 1 July 2024, removing the 37% tax bracket completely. This third step of the seven-year plan will now go ahead under the new tax law. And finally, taxpayers will pay the top marginal tax rate of 45% for taxable income exceeding $200,000.

If you have any questions in relation to personal income tax reform plan, contact your Harris Black team member today.

  Major ATO Focus On Work-Related Clothing And Laundry This Tax Time  
This tax time, the ATO will be closely examining claims for work-related clothing and laundry expenses. Clothing claims are up nearly 20% over the last five years and the ATO believes many taxpayers are making mistakes or deliberately over-claiming. Around a quarter of all clothing and laundry claims in recent years were exactly $150 – the amount claimable without a specific requirement to keep detailed records about the work-related clothing expenses.

The ATO has issued a stern reminder that the $150 threshold is not a "safe amount" that everyone can claim. We can help make sure your tax return claims are done right – contact us to find out more.

To know more about work-related clothing and laundry expenses, contact your Harris Black team member.

  GST Property Settlement Online Forms Available  
From 1 July 2018, purchasers of newly constructed residential properties or new subdivisions must pay the related GST directly to the ATOas part of the settlement. The ATO says property transactions of new residential premises or potential residential land that involve GST to be paid directly to the ATO on or before settlement will require purchasers or their representatives to use the following online forms:
  • Form one, GST property settlement withholding notification, is used to advise the ATO that a contract has been entered into for new residential premises or potential residential land that requires a withholding amount. This form can be submitted any time after a contract has been entered into and prior to the settlement date.
  • Form two, GST property settlement date confirmation, is used to confirm the settlement date and can be submitted at the time of settlement and when the payment has been made to the ATO.
Depending on which state or territory the property is acquired in, the purchaser's representative can include a conveyancer or a solicitor.

  Important Tax Dates  
31 July 2018
  • Lodge TFN report for closely held trusts if any beneficiary quoted their TFN to a trustee in quarter.
  • Lodge Franking account return for 30 June balancers if there is an amount payable.

14 August 2018
  • Lodge PAYG withholding payment summary annual report for large withholders whose annual withholding is greater than $1 million and ayers who have no tax agent or BAS agent involved in preparing the report.

21 August 2018
  • Lodge and pay July 2018 monthly business activity statement.

25 August 2018
  • Lodge and pay July 2018 monthly business activity statement. 

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This newsletter is for guidance only, any professional advice should be obtained before acting on any information contained herein. Neither the publisher nor the distributors can accept any responsibility for loss occasioned to any person as a result of action taken or refrained from in consequence of the contents of this newsletter. We recommend that you contact your Harris Black team member before making any decision to discuss your particular requirements or circumstances. 

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