Being a manager is about using your available resources to work towards a common objective. And, as we explore in our ExpertTrack from Savoir-Relier, there are many different management and leadership styles you can use to achieve these goals.
What is people management?
People management is the process of training, motivating and directing employees to optimize workplace productivity and promote professional growth. Workplace leaders, such as team leads, managers and department heads use people management to oversee workflow and boost employee performance every day.
Handling interpersonal conflicts
Managers and employees in leadership positions have an important role in resolving conflicts. Effective people management can help you mediate conflicts between employees in a way that promotes collaboration and respect.
Leading employee training
As a workplace leader, you may be responsible for onboarding new employees and coaching current employees on updated processes. You can use the elements of people management to provide constructive feedback and mentor employees so they can succeed in their positions.
Directing employees includes assigning tasks and establishing achievable goals. Effective people management can help you evaluate your team’s resources and set realistic deadlines that encourage progress.
Building company culture
Your leadership position may allow you to positively influence your work environment. You can use your people management responsibilities to build rapport with employees. You can also ask your team for feedback on their perspective of the company, and then turn that feedback into actionable changes to a company culture that every employee can help develop.
Essential people management skills
People management requires several soft skills, including those that can lead to open and honest communication as well as improved employee experience. Each of these skills can better help you interact with your employees and perform organizational tasks.
1. Empowering employees
Empowering your employees helps them develop new skills and be more productive. It’s important to train new employees well and give them the knowledge and resources they need to perform assigned tasks and continue learning on their own.
2. Active listening
Active listening is the practice of listening to the speaker to fully understand their perspective, question or concern before responding. Active listeners remove distractions, maintain eye contact and offer verbal or non-verbal cues to indicate their engagement and understanding.
When an employee comes to you with a question or issue, use nonverbal cues such as nodding to demonstrate your engagement while they’re speaking. Respond thoughtfully by repeating a summary of your understanding of their message. If you have understood, you can then ask follow-up questions to learn more about what they need. You can also express that you empathize with their experience to further assure them you understand and respect them. These active listening techniques lead to quality people management that promotes positive interactions in the workplace.
Good conflict-resolution skills can help address interpersonal challenges. You can analyze the situation and identify what the causes of the conflict might be. If there’s a miscommunication or differing opinions, you can mediate between opposing parties and help them make a compromise or reach a collective understanding. After mediation, monitor the situation to ensure the conflict is fully resolved and to prevent it from occurring again.
Knowing when to be flexible and when to more firmly direct employees is an important aspect of effective people management. You can demonstrate flexibility in your management style by accommodating individual employee needs—such as adjustable schedules or remote work options—and allowing employees to adjust their individual workflow so they can be as productive as possible. You should assess the results of the employee’s process to ensure its efficiency and to help them revise the process if it can be optimized.
For example, if one of your employees prefers to complete related tasks in batches while another employee moves back and forth between different tasks, analyze each employee’s results. If both employees are their most productive using their respective processes, then you can encourage them to continue using and improving their systems. You may even ask them to demonstrate their individual processes to other employees to optimize the entire team’s workflow. If an employee seems to be struggling with personalizing their process, you can coach them through the standard steps, and help them discover what works best for them.
Patience is an important people management skill that uses kindness, respect and empathy while helping others overcome obstacles. You can use patience when training new employees, teaching new processes, handling conflicts or solving problems. When employees can trust their managers to be patient, they are more likely to ask for clarification to ensure they understand directions and to increase the quality of their work.
For example, if an employee continues asking questions about a single process, you should continue to guide while trying new ways to better communicate your message. Consider providing multiple examples that clarify and demonstrate your instructions, or combine typed instructions with visual diagrams if possible.
6. Clear communication
Communication is a necessary people management skill that enables team members to work together in solving problems, brainstorming new ideas and adapting to new changes. Your ability to clearly communicate with your coworkers can help you be a better team member.
, such as too much information at one time or inaccessible terms. Allow your employees to ask clarifying questions, and directly confirm that each member of your team understands the information so there is no miscommunication.
Trust means believing that you can rely on someone’s abilities, assistance or advice when you need it most. Building trust helps your team work together more efficiently and productively. Teams should be able to trust that their leader supports them and believes in their hard work. Leaders should be able to trust that their team can complete tasks correctly and on time.
You can build trust by reliably performing your tasks and demonstrating technical skills when employees ask for help. You can also promote trust when you provide constructive feedback that helps team members improve their skills and work quality.