How to Manage People (With Steps and Essential Skills)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Updated January 14, 2023
Published October 18, 2021
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
Knowing how to manage people is an important skill in the workplace, regardless of your position or rank. To become a good people manager, a combination of skills and experience is essential because people and roles pose distinct challenges that require a unique management approach. Understanding how to manage employees is a critical factor in attaining company goals and making everyone happy. In this article, we show you the steps you can take in order to manage people more effectively, give you tips for managing people effectively, and share some key people-management skills.
How to manage people
Here are 10 steps on how to manage people more effectively in the workplace:
1. Evaluate your strengths
The first step toward managing people is knowing your strengths. Understand what type of leader or manager you are in order to establish how to relate to others. There are different management styles, such as democratic, autocratic, or laissez-faire. Knowing your strength involves evaluating your soft skills, which are skills that enable you to relate with others. By understanding your strengths, you can then customize your management style to accommodate other personalities.
2. Let your team evaluate you
While a personal assessment is important, it might also be subjective and may not give you an accurate evaluation of your management approach. Get your team to evaluate your strengths and areas of improvement. Asking for an evaluation from your team allows you to understand how they perceive you and can inform your management style. You also build trust, as it shows your commitment to fostering a positive work environment and effective management practices. Use anonymous surveys to enable the evaluators to express their opinion freely.
3. Set improvement goals
With a better understanding of your strengths and weaknesses, you can now embark on improving your people-management skills. Outline the skills that make a good people manager, such as patience, communication, and problem-solving skills. Identify which of these skills are critical for your role and which ones are likely to have a greater impact on your team's success. Make deliberate plans to improve people-management skills, including how to measure progress on these goals. Ensure the improvement plans are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound.
4. Create a support network
Establish a support network to help you improve your people-management skills. A robust support network provides you with an objective perspective of your skills, success, and mistakes. A professional support network gives an unbiased opinion of how your team is performing. By maintaining a support network, you also become accountable not just to yourself but also to others, which is crucial in helping you achieve more. A support network can include people from your team, peers in management, mentors, or people in similar positions in other companies.
5. Improve your knowledge
People management is a learnable skill that anyone can improve through research, reading, and other knowledge-acquisition methods. As you gain more experience in working with people, you learn what motivates them or what makes their performance dwindle. You can also gain more knowledge in people management by enrolling in leadership courses that brainstorm solutions to common workplace challenges.
6. Open new communications lines
Good communication is an important aspect of managing people. Create and maintain open communication channels with your team to enable them to reach you and reach each other all the time. Open communication channels encourage transparency in your team activities and foster collaboration. You also become an active listener, which is an essential people management skill.
7. Recognize your team members
Recognizing members who make the most impactful contribution to the team's success is a great way of improving your people-management skills. Recognition makes it possible for teams to bring forth ideas on how to improve performance. Recognizing your best performers has an impact not just on the recipients but also on you, as people become drawn to working with you. Recognize the best performers by comparing their current performance to their previous rather than directly comparing them to other employees.
8. Promote professional growth
As you develop your people-management skills, your team members may also want to grow professionally. Discuss with your team members at least once per quarter to identify their professional goals and explore how to help them achieve those goals. These discussions also enable you to give constructive feedback on areas they can improve. Promoting professional growth enhances performance, improves efficiency, and increases staff retention rates.
9. Encourage cross-functional collaboration
Cross-functional collaboration entails bringing together team members across different departments for a common purpose. Cross-functional collaboration is an excellent way of managing people who perform diverse functions to achieve a greater goal, such as improving efficiency or building team camaraderie. To implement better cross-functional collaboration, identify projects that can benefit from having mixed team participation.
10. Reevaluate and set new goals
People management is a continuous learning process that entails ongoing evaluation of your skills. Conduct a personal assessment to find out how much you have achieved in people-management skills. You can also develop a feedback system from your team to enable you to get critical input on your skills and growth. Set new goals and work to achieve them within a set time period.
Tips for managing people effectively
Here are tips you can implement to manage people in the workplace:
Manage your workload
Managing other people becomes much easier when you lead by example. Before managing other people's workloads, strive to manage your workloads effectively. Create a schedule of tasks and create time to complete them. Completing your tasks creates more time that you can use to help others.
Know your team
Knowing the people you are working with is important in effectively managing them. People have unique personalities and react differently to management styles. Understanding your people allows you to tailor your leadership style accordingly. For instance, some people do well when allowed greater freedom, while others require a hands-on approach. Learning your team entails knowing what motivates them and fostering the right environmental factors for maximum efficiency.
Delegation involves assigning tasks to team members best qualified to handle those tasks. Delegation enables you to focus on high-level duties while allowing your subordinates to improve their skills in handling delegated tasks. By delegating tasks, you show your team members that you trust in their abilities and make them feel part of the organizational success.
Identify clear workflows
Team members have unique abilities you can harness to improve collaboration and efficiency. Identifying workflows enables you to assign roles to team members likely to have a greater impact on your work processes. Establishing workflows allows you to design a reasonable timeline for your employees to accomplish their workloads.
Create clear project goals
Set project goals with your team to keep everyone focused on their individual deliverables and common goals. Setting goals guide your management approach and allows you to respond differently as the situation demands. As you set goals, let your team members provide suggestions and ask questions on strategies to meet or surpass team goals.
Managing people requires that you be consistent in your leadership style. Exhibiting consistent behaviour attracts respect from your team and also presents you as a trustworthy leader. Consistency also allows you to be predictable and reliable. When you set out to do something, ensure you follow through in order to raise the standards of behaviour in your team members.
Resolve conflicts as they occur
Workplace conflicts may be unavoidable, but it's how you deal with conflict that matters. Identify and solve professional conflicts as they take place to avoid prolonged disruptions to workflows. Miscommunications in your team may cause some conflicts, while others may be because of incompatibility among your team members. Active resolution of these conflicts strengthens your team and enables you to meet project goals.
Crucial people-management skills you need
Becoming a successful people manager requires leveraging your experience and skills. Here are some of the most important skills you require managing people:
Patience: Patience is the ability to hold your cool, even under stressful conditions. Developing patience requires constant practice and simple techniques, such as taking deep breaths.
Communication skills: Excellent communication with others enables you to convey your thoughts, listen to their concern, and arrive at an agreement.
Ability to relate: People have different personalities and attitudes. Good people-management skills enable you to view a situation from other people's standpoints and relate better with their viewpoints.
Flexibility: Flexibility is the ability to adjust to changing circumstances. Good people-management skills allow you to accept different ways of doing things as long as they achieve results efficiently and ethically.
Accountability: Taking responsibility for your actions is a good way of developing people-management skills. Being accountable for success and failures serves as a good example to your team members and builds their confidence.
Problem-solving skills: People management involves helping others achieve success, and this means helping them solve problems. Improving your ability to identify and solve problems is key to becoming a good people manager.
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