Ultimate Guide to People Management 2022
A Gallup survey found that 70% of employee motivation is affected by their managers. This shows that the relationships between employers, employees and leaders can determine a company's success.
A leader's ability to manage depends on their people-management skills or employee engagement.
A good leader will inspire their team, improve productivity and reduce employee turnover.
A leader lacking people-management skills will have an unsatisfied, disengaged team, and it is likely that members will eventually resign.
Research found that 73% of employees would resign if they did not receive recognition and support from their managers. Therefore, people management includes training and motivating, as well as instructing and guiding.
Let's take a look at the areas where people management skills are of most importance.
Managers with people-management skills can easily mediate conflict between employees and encourage collaboration and respect.
Managers are responsible for onboarding new employees, delivering on-the-job training and keeping everyone up to date with company changes.
Conducting effective training also includes feedback and constructive criticism. When this is done well, employees feel supported and confident in achieving their career goals.
People-management skills include time management. To meet project deadlines, as the leader you have to be organized before expecting the same from your team.
You should also ensure that you are not assigning unrealistic deadlines or too much work.
As a leader, you have the power to influence company culture for the better.
Using your people-management skills can build an environment of trust and improve your relationships with your team or employees.
After creating a positive culture within your team, you can take your results and feedback to senior management to initiate a company-wide change.
Being a good leader means taking care of your employees. That involves noticing when something is affecting them and taking action to help.
It also means encouraging their work-life balance, approving time-off requests and having empathy.
In today's work environment, people management and employee engagement are so important because that is what the workforce wants.
Employees are no longer driven by paychecks and status. Instead, they want:
- Recognition for their efforts
- Ample paid time off
- A good work-life balance
- To be appreciated
- To feel that their contributions are worth something
- Decent remuneration and employee benefits
- To be trusted to make the right decisions
Leaders are responsible for:
- Ensuring employees know their roles and how it contributes to overall business success
- Making sure the work is completed to a high standard
- Supporting and developing their team
It is also a leader’s responsibility to meet the expectations of their team.
Unfortunately, most managers do not have the skills necessary to be leaders, especially with new workforce trends and attitudes.
They often lack the communication skills needed to give meaningful feedback and directions. Instead, they come off as rude or micromanaging.
There are still managers who prefer to take an authoritarian leadership style. They do not believe in building a community or don't feel it is their responsibility to assist in professional development.
It is these types of leaders who have a poor-performing team and high employee turnover.
The skills necessary for people management are:
- Leading by example
- Having a strong leadership identity
- Knowing when you need to be firmer or adapt your style
Your team's motivation is not solely your responsibility. However, as a leader, you should know your team well enough to understand what motivates them and what doesn’t.
Being aware when someone is having a bad day and to want to take action demonstrates strong leadership.
Not every employee will be vocal about how they're feeling or what's happening in their lives. However, they will appreciate you noticing and wanting to help.
This skill is particularly important when giving feedback and delegating.
Your tone of voice says more than your words, and sometimes tone can come across as judgemental, authoritative or rude.
Being able to say something politely and as an equal will improve employee engagement.
Non-verbal communication relates to the importance of how you say something rather than what you say. If a leader always has their arms folded or uses aggressive hand gestures, their team will not respond well.
If the manager uses open, relaxed body language, the team will respond in the same way.
Written communication can play a large part in motivating your team. Sending an email of appreciation at the right time in the right way will boost your team's morale.
Knowing how to write out instructions or send a request to someone without filling them with dread will also help build trust and enthusiasm between you and your team.
Active listening means being actively engaged while listening to your team says and understanding what they are saying. It involves verbal and non-verbal cues such as nodding and paraphrasing.
Sometimes we look like we're listening, but we're actually thinking of a hundred different things.
When employees know they are being heard, it inspires them to do better. They are even more motivated when you take on what they have said and make the appropriate changes.
Some days, your team will perform exactly as you want, but other days, less so. It might take someone longer than others to adjust or learn something new.
Having the patience to guide and support that person will motivate them to deliver to the same level.
Every leader needs to make the right decisions for the team, not for themselves.
A good leader can also make quick decisions and knows when to ask others for their opinion.
Colleagues do not always get along, which is where conflict resolution comes in.
As their leader, you need to step in and resolve any issues before they go too far.
As part of leading by example, you cannot expect your team to meet deadlines and be on time if you don't show the same behavior.
Being organized includes:
- Knowing what stages your team are at
- Knowing where everything is
- Understanding what comes next
- Promptly responding to emails, questions and requests
These two skills help the most with employee engagement.
Make it a priority to develop these two before any other skill.
Knowing how to communicate with your team will prevent many problems, especially misunderstandings.
By learning about your team members' personalities, communication preferences, strengths and weaknesses, and current personal issues (if appropriate), you will know who to assign tasks to and why someone might be having an off day.
You will also know how to direct your feedback, as you will have an idea of their career goals.
Taking the time to get to know your team adds a human element to your role. It brings everyone together, and it boosts motivation.
Even if nothing is happening and everyone seems to be working well, take some time to speak with your team and check everything is well with them. You never know what someone may be going through.
Showing this type of support and attention creates trust in your work environment.
Know when to change your leadership style or give someone space. Understand that people have unexpected emergencies and might need to leave early or take the day off.
If the work can be done remotely and an employee needs to stay at home to look after a sick child or relative, let them do so.
If you do allow someone to work from home, trust that they will get the work done.
Trusting your employees to make decisions for themselves goes a long way to improving morale and productivity.
When they know they can work without constantly checking with you, your employees will perform to a higher standard.
Trust also encourages creativity and innovation as your team feel confident enough to express their ideas without being embarrassed or shamed.
Make it clear that you want your employees to succeed, whether at your company or elsewhere. Showing this level of support will encourage them to stay with you.
Recognizing and valuing their achievements will also encourage them to work harder and stay loyal to your company.
Making professional development mandatory will:
- Encourage your team to think about their goals
- Make them feel supported and valued
- Improve the skill set of the entire workforce
- Improve employee retention
- Encourage innovation and collaboration
- Create an environment of trust
Take the time for your own professional development by:
- Completing leadership courses
- Reading about new leadership styles and workplace trends
- Asking for feedback from your employees
People management is needed to help encourage a collaborative and trusting company culture.
It involves training, managing, conflict resolution, time management and delegating.
Without people management, there would be low morale and a high employee turnover.
A good people manager knows that appreciation and empathy improve job satisfaction and reduce employee turnover.
They are supportive, encouraging, trusting and know how to get the most out of people.
They are interested in their team's wellbeing and do what they can to support their career goals.
A good people manager has:
- Empathy and emotional intelligence
- Excellent time-management skills
- A strong leadership style
- Communication skills
- Analytical thinking
- The ability to motivate
You can improve your people-management skills by:
- Developing essential skills such as active listening
- Work on one skill at a time to ensure you get it right
- Enroll in professional-development courses
- Invest in a business coach who specializes in people management
- Ask your managers and employers for feedback
Any university or college that offers an HR or a business-related program will help develop people-management skills.
People play a key role in the success of companies, so employee-related courses will always be offered in these programs.
Outside of school, free online courses are a great way to develop people-management skills.
Taking the time to practice either at work, internships or volunteering commitments will also improve your skills.
People management and employee engagement are vital to a company's success.
Whether you are a supervisor, manager or the boss, your leadership style can make a difference to the working environment.
Take the time to develop your people-management skills and encourage others to do the same.
Once you start using these skills, your team or employees will start doing the same, eventually creating a thriving, collaborative working environment.