One of the essential skills for any manager to be successful is learning how to manage people effectively. Good managers create the best possible work environment for their employees and help them grow and develop professionally. However, if managing people is not done correctly, it can lead to frustration and low productivity. Every manager needs good people management skills to help build a strong team and get the most out of your employees.
How do you develop people’s management skills?
There are many approaches to learning how to manage people effectively, from shadowing a more experienced manager and taking on additional responsibilities within your team to taking management training programs and workshops. But the most effective way to develop people management skills is through hands-on experience.
Most people learn best by doing, and management is no exception. Learning by doing is putting yourself in real-work situations and learning from the circumstances you find yourself in.
Managing people is a delicate process. But, there are several things that you can do to make the process easier. Here are 15 examples of learning how to manage people:
1. Know the strengths of your people
First, understand the strengths and weaknesses of your people. You can then provide guidance based on their strengths and put them in positions where they can each best succeed.
For example, if you have a team member who brings innovative ideas, you may give them more creative freedom. Also, if you have a team member who brings new ideas but struggles with execution, you may need to provide more support and guidance.
On the other hand, if you have a team member who follows instructions and completes tasks on time, you may want to task them with more detailed work.
When understanding every person’s strengths and weaknesses, you can better tailor your management style and provide appropriate support and guidance needed for each team member.
2. Understand people’s ways of working
The first step in learning how to manage people effectively is understanding that everyone is different and that what works for someone may not work for another person. Employees do not work the same way, so you need to manage them differently.
Some people need freedom and minimal supervision to do their job well. Others need direction and oversight. Also, some employees need deadlines to stay focused, while others work best with more flexible timelines.
The key is to understand what drives each person on your team and create an environment where they thrive and feel motivated. As a manager, you need to know what makes your team members tick and get it available all the time.
Read also: 19 Examples of Smart Goals for Managers
3. Don’t micro-manage
Do not micro-manage — give your employees some breathing room. All you need is to set clear goals for your employees and allow them the freedom to do their work.
Trust them to work out what they need to do and how best to do it. If you have specific concerns, address them individually, but do not hover over your employees or critique every mistake they make.
If you do that, it will make them feel demoralized and unsatisfied with their job. Instead, let them know that you have faith in their abilities and that you are confident they can do the job well without your interference.
4. Delegate wisely
As a manager, you cannot do it all yourself, so trust your team members to do some of your work — but do it wisely. You can assign a task to someone, but be available if they need you.
Do not walk away. And ensure that you delegate to the right person at the right time, and each must have access to the resources they need to complete the work successfully.
When you delegate the right way, you create time to focus on your other responsibilities while knowing that everything is under control. Your team members will appreciate sharing your responsibility and feel empowered.
5 Seek feedback often and openly
Managers need feedback, whether positive or negative, to improve and grow. So always seek feedback — it can be difficult to know how you are doing as a manager, and one great way to find out is to ask your team.
Ask your employees to tell you things you do that have had a positive or negative impact on them.
6. Recognize when you need help
Good managers admit when they do not know something. As a manager, you cannot know everything. In fact, it is impossible to know everything. When you admit that you do not know something, it opens up the door for your team members to share their knowledge and expertise.
So, let them know that you are willing to listen and want their input on decisions whenever possible. And if there are times when you do not have all the answers, be upfront about that too.
It will help build trust and show your team that you are approachable and willing to learn. Managing people is an ongoing process that takes time and practice.
7. Be decisive
Be decisive and let your team know what you expect from them. Let your people know what you expect from them and make it clear that there is a specific process or protocol in place that must be followed.
It will help reduce confusion and ensure everyone is on the same page. It will also help them stay organized on track and avoid any confusion.
Read more: 21 Good Examples of Accountability
8 Understand your triggers and quirks
One of the best ways to manage people is to be aware of your triggers and quirks and then work around them or manage them. For example, if you get irritated when someone is constantly late, ask that person to be in early.
If you know that you get overwhelmed by noise and distractions, then schedule important calls and tasks during times when there are fewer distractions. Similarly, if someone starts arguing with you, it is best to step away and cool down rather than continue to argue.
By knowing your triggers and quirks, you can manage them proactively and avoid letting them get the best of you. In other words, by knowing your triggers and quirks, you can better manage your reactions and interactions with your employees.
9. Be honest with employees
It can be tough to deliver bad news, but one of your responsibilities as a manager is, to be honest with employees about their performance. It can be difficult to tell someone that they need to improve, but it is necessary.
Always be upfront and honest about the issue instead of sugarcoating things. People will appreciate your honesty and will respond better than if they received vague or ambiguous feedback.
10. Handle difficult conversations
You cannot avoid handling difficult conversations with employees, but you can learn how to do it effectively. Start by setting clear expectations and providing regular feedback.
If someone is struggling, talk to them about what they need to do to overcome their challenges. Be honest, but stay positive, and remember that the goal is to help the employee improve their performance.
So, focus on the issue at hand. Do not get sidetracked by emotions or personal feelings. If you lose focus, it will be difficult to resolve the issue. And always strive for a resolution. Even if it’s not what either of you wanted, agree on something so that both parties feel fair.
Finally, always follow up after a conversation to make sure there are changes in actions or behavior. The conversation may be difficult, but never forget that you are still dealing with another person. This means being respectful, listening carefully, and responding thoughtfully.
11. Be assertive
Be assertive, but not aggressive. It is possible to get your point across without stepping on someone’s toes or coming across as pushy. You can make your needs known while respecting the rights and needs of others.
When you communicate with people aggressively, it can quickly lead to misunderstandings and conflict. If you have to deal with someone aggressive, try to stay calm and firm in your stance.
Let the person know that their behavior is unacceptable and that you will not tolerate it. Be clear and concise in your communication, and avoid raising your voice or arguing with your employees.
12. Listen carefully
Do not just talk. Too often, managers simply talk and do not listen to what the employee says. This can lead to miscommunication and frustration on the part of the employee.
A good manager listens attentively and tries to understand what the employee is saying. So, do not just talk — listen carefully to what the employee says.
Once you have heard them out if necessary ask questions to help you understand their point of view better. This will not only show that you’re interested in what they have to say, but it will also help you better assess their strengths and weaknesses.
Employees appreciate it when their boss listens to them and tries to understand their point of view. It shows that you care about them and want to work together as a team. And that is what managing people is all about — working together with your employees towards a common goal.
Related read: 14 Key Areas of Improvement for Managers
13. Communicate emphatically
It is important to communicate with your employees and let them communicate with you. So, talk to your people and let them talk to you every day.
Encourage a two-way dialogue where they feel comfortable coming to you with their concerns and issues. This will help you better manage them, understand their needs, and ensure that they are productive and happy in their roles.
Furthermore, speak with conviction and be clear about what it is you want your team members to do. Make sure that your instructions are easy to understand, and take the time to answer any questions they may have.
As a manager, you should be open and honest with your employees, and allow them the same courtesy. When everyone is on the same page, it becomes easier to manage a group cohesively. This fosters trust and respect among coworkers, leading to a more productive work environment.
14. Make yourself approachable
Some of the things managers can improve on are being more available and approachable. Managers need to be always present to provide support to their employees.
So, be visible and accessible. Let people know that they can come to you with any questions or concerns at any time, and make yourself available for meetings and discussions.
As a manager, you must walk around while talking with people and make yourself available for questions or concerns. Let your team know that you are always available to listen and help resolve any issues makes them feel appreciated and valued.
15. Managing people’s expectations
When it comes to managing employee expectations, it is crucial to remember that everyone is different. What works for one person may not work for another, or what one employee expects from their job may be different from another employee.
The key is to get a sense of what each employee wants or needs from you — it is essential to be aware of this when managing the expectations.
The best way to manage expectations is to communicate clearly what is and is not possible. As a manager, you should be transparent about what you can do and not do to meet or exceed people’s expectations.
You do not want to set them up for disappointment by making promises you cannot keep. Be honest and upfront with your employees — let them understand what they can realistically hope to achieve from their jobs.
Learning people management skills is a process that takes time and practice. One of the best ways of learning how to manage people effectively is to learn by doing which means going out there and actually doing it.
Managing people effectively means understanding their individual needs and desires and then helping them to achieve their goals. People are unique, so there is no one-size-fits-all approach to managing them effectively.
Employees have different desires so what works for one may not work for another because of their differing interests and goals. The key is to learn what works best for you and the people you manage.
Create a positive work environment where everyone feels supported and appreciated. And try to adapt your management style to fit the situation and the individual.