People management is essential if you want to grow in your career. You could be a researcher, a program developer, or an architect. Whichever role you take up, knowing how to manage people is an essential skill to grow in your career.
Everyone has a long list of advice for managers. We have chosen from the best and put together top advice and tips that would make you a people person.
What is people management, and why do managers need to know this?
People management is the art of handling people within an organization. It involves many skills and attitudes that managers need to build over time.
The primary advice for managers that most organizations give is to ensure the employees have everything they need to get the jobs done. This is a fundamental part of people management.
There needs to be more, though. People management is about paying attention to what the employees need and want and being considerate of them.
It involves being there for the employees and not treating them as mere resources to get work done. A bad manager can be the most significant cause of increased corporate attrition rates.
That’s why managers must learn how to manage people and do this dedicatedly and with their full attention.
10 tips for new managers on how to manage people
Being a manager for the first time can be challenging. Apart from handling everyday work requirements, people management becomes a vital responsibility for these individuals.
This is challenging for someone who has been an independent contributor with minimal exposure to people management skills. The following are 10 tips or advice for managers on handling people management at the workplace.
This is one of the most critical pieces of advice for managers when they want to manage people well. Listening and hearing are two different things, and in many workplaces, managers hear but don’t listen.
When you hear, your ears pick up the voice, but your brain may not register the content. When you listen, you pay attention mentally.
You could have designed an excellent people management strategy. However, you need to be a manager who listens to understand your employees to be able to sync your strategy with what the employees’ needs are.
Practice the art of staying neutral
You could be a manager. But you also have your own personal preferences, stereotypes, and judgments. When you start bringing in all these personal biases to your workplace, you must find a way to stay neutral.
PossibleWorks did a recent blog on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). For you to practice and implement DEI, you need to stay neutral.
Experts’ advice for managers when it comes to neutrality is never to take sides and make decisions based solely on how the scenario affects the organization.
Be honest and transparent
Honesty is a rare feature you see in a workplace. However, when an honest and transparent manager is around, you will see that employees are happy, trust one another, and have a positive work culture.
Apart from considering this as a people management strategy, honesty and transparency are fundamental human values everyone needs to develop.
Honesty and transparency grow when there is 360-degree communication within the team. PossibleWorks’ continuous feedback tool encourages frequent conversations and real-time feedback within teams.
Know your people better. Finding what clicks and what doesn’t with your people is essential if you want to sustain yourself as a leader.
Top leaders in different industries spend time finding out the natural rhythm of their employees. This helps design their roles and requirements and prevents burnout and over-expectations.
What is a rhythm? It is a system or a schedule in which an employee performs the best. When you disrupt the rhythm, the employee and therefore the performance suffers.
So one piece of advice for managers is to get to know their people. Know what the team enjoys doing and what their challenges are. Handle them based on those inputs.
Practice asking the right questions
The right questions can open up communication channels. That’s why one of the tips for the management of people is to practice the art of asking questions.
The right questions asked at the right time can help both parties. Experts advise managers to ask open-ended questions as much as they can so they encourage the employees to start talking.
At the very basic level, one such question could be, ‘is there something else?’
This question may give an opening for the employees to start discussing their issues or challenges without waiting for a problem to pop up.
As a manager, the trick to knowing how to manage people is to listen to feedback and implement them as you grow. If you are a manager who only gives feedback but never receives it, you may be stuck in the same place while your peers move on.
Manager performance reviews should include ratings from immediate employees, and there should be a place for employees to give their feedback anonymously.
We have discussed performance review templates in our last blog if you are interested in them.
Let’s say you have scheduled a meeting with an employee to discuss something. Go prepared. This is an important thing to do and gives you an advantage. Communication is more focused when both parties are aware.
This is a perfect people management strategy because when you are prepared for all sessions, your employees are encouraged to come equipped too.
This advice for managers will help streamline such sessions and ensure you get maximum value out of the time spent communicating with employees.
Be quick to reward and praise
A Harvard review states that 40% of managers don’t give any positive reinforcement to their employees. Positive reinforcements and praises are proven to motivate employees and make them their best.
The same review also mentions that a good manager offers five times positive comments for every negative criticism they give. This thumb rule is a piece of advice for managers who struggle to handle negativity at work.
As a manager, you cannot sit in a closed cabin and meet employees only when you want to. You cannot learn how to manage people by sitting away from them. Be available so your employees know they can come back to you anytime needed.
One piece of advice for top managers is to check in regularly, even if there is nothing specific. Set periodic meetings to get to know what’s happening. Be available on emails and respond within a decent time frame.
Hear out issues. Set one-on-ones if you foresee a problem, so it doesn’t blow up. All these would help make you a better manager.
Don’t take your job lightly
This is an essential tip that you should always remember. Some managers are solely into people management and don’t take up individual tasks. As a result, they may tend to slack and take things lightly.
Your ability to handle people indirectly affects their performance and productivity. This would, in turn, affect the revenue generated. So take your job seriously, keep finding new trends, and learn the latest tips for management to improve your game.
From simply lending an empathetic ear to rewarding your employees on time, proactively finding problematic areas before they blow up, and helping employees align their goals with the company, there are many tasks a manager needs to take up every day.
All these ten tips and advice for managers will help you find out where you may be lacking when it comes to people skills and up your game as you grow in handling people.
Managers need to develop a growth mindset while working on their people skills. This would help them overcome struggles, find intelligent solutions, and fix problems at the workplace. A leader with a growth mindset would be looked up to by the team.