People Management

People Management is one of the most critical aspects of Human Resources and is vital to the success of every organization. Managers need certain specific People skills to successfully drive business outcomes and for improving employee engagement. Managers with these specific people skills are therefore central to the organization’s performance. People management is the ability to treat employees as people and not just as jobholders.  People management as a skill should have the following key elements:

  • Ability to build a workforce that is in-sync with business objectives and ready to tackle the tasks assigned
  • Ability to understand the current work process and evaluate its effectiveness for the future
  • Ability to communicate openly that helps control the way people feel at work. Components like Feedback 360 & Continuous Feedback ensure employees get timely feedback for course correction and increased motivation. Ability to forge channels for collaboration helps the team to work in harmony and build a lasting relationship.
  • Ability to zoom-in on the key differences of employees to set a precedent by resolving conflicts and creating a positive outlook within the team.

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A company may be about profits, but it requires dealing with people on a micro level to run the business effectively. Hence, besides having functional competencies, technical know-how, and relevant experience, managers must have “people skills”. A manager with strong people skills/management can lead, encourage, train, inspire, and build relationships with the team.

People Management is a key part of Human Resource Management (HRM) and can be defined as “all the management decisions and actions that directly affect or influence people as members of the organization rather than as job-holders.”

In any company, managers must possess skills to manage people effectively for the smooth working of the organization. The ever-evolving business world requires managers to be more resilient, agile, and decisive. A manager’s people skills can be the difference between a motivated and productive team and a team that is anxious, unsure, and unproductive.

What are the Key Elements of People Management

1. Build a Workforce for the Future

As a linear process, employee management would start with talent acquisition. A manager should be aware of each team and its human resource requirements. This helps in hiring a task-force that adds value to the company. Knowing where there is a need for more resources is crucial to a company’s success.

When hiring new candidates, identify the right recruitment tools and platforms. Using these, build an employer brand that candidates trust and want to be a part of. Provide new employees with proper training & development to build confidence in the company. An engaging working environment will further boost the commitment of employees to their goals. Managers should create a robust and concise team structure to build a path to success.


2. Comprehend the Past and Foresee the Future

A company’s human resources are a combination of people with varied personalities, traits, and skills. To be an effective people manager, it is imperative to understand the ”People”. As an active listener and a people’s person, managers can comprehend employee personalities, personal and career aspirations, and motivating factors.

For managers to understand each employee, switching to tech-enabled tools and in-person conversations can lend deeper insights. These insights will help to evaluate the past and create a success plan for the future.


3. Create an Open Channel of Communication

The more effective the communication system of an organization, the more in-sync are its resources. Creating open channels of communication and feedback proves effective to manage people. Through open communication, managers can control how employees feel about their work and the company.

A digital 360 degree and continuous feedback system ensure that employees are given timely feedback and motivation. Feedback and open channel of communication ensure that employees are connected with their managers and can enhance their productivity.

Continuous Feedback

4. Be the First to Collaborate and Build Cooperation

As the legend says “No one man can run the whole show”, same is true for any organization. Businesses are an amalgamation of human resources that work in teams to achieve business goals. To ensure that all the teams are on the same page, using effective performance management tools can prove beneficial.

Managers should assign individual tasks and team goals to delegate responsibility and build effective team collaboration. Making certain that each employee is aware of the role he/she plays in the organization’s success will increase cooperation within the teams. The success of a manager and a company depends on sharing and delegation responsibility for positive results.

Employee Motivation

5. Optimize on Healthy Differences

People are different in their perception, behaviors, preferences, and thought-processes. To build a sense of loyalty, respect, and commitment towards each other, people management should focus on acknowledging and optimizing these differences.

By being upfront and acknowledging these differences, managers can create a positive impact on the conflicting employees. Diversity in the workplace is a common topic of conflict in most organizations, how the management reacts and resolves can make or break the team.

Employee Relations

Managers are the link between the employees and the senior management of a company. To be effective at managing the human resources and coordinating with the management, managers need to have some key skills.

Top 10 Skills a People’s Manager Should Possess

  • Communication

Communication is the key to maintaining a healthy relation with team members and collaborating with the management. A manager who can communicate clearly and timely can be an effective people’s manager. Through effective communication, a manager can give clear instructions, motivate employees, and forge better working relationships.

Whether it is a formal email, face-to-face interview, or a text conversation, communication skills play an important part in staying connected. In this digital age, managers need to stay updated with modern communication channels like hangout, WhatsApp, messengers, etc. to be more approachable.

  • Patience

It is truly said, “Patience is a virtue”, and not everyone possesses this. The ability to maintain the right attitude when you face setbacks and obstacles is a vital trait in a manager. Patience is built over time by facing minor inconveniences and hurdles in day-to-day life.

Examine your emotional state and reactions when faced with long queues, delays in traffic, etc. in your daily life to boost your tolerance level and patience. Simply recognizing your emotions can help you better manage them.

  • Lead by Example

Assigning tasks and demanding that everyone works a certain way can result in conflicts rather than cooperation. So, a manager should lead by example how your team should perform and act in the workplace. An honest, hardworking, and hands-on manager will command the respect of his subordinates who will follow his lead.

It is one of the most important traits a manager can cultivate. Teams are likely to mirror the actions and behavior of their manager.

  • Build Trust

If your subordinates feel you trust them, they are more likely to work and give their best. Managers who micromanage employees don’t build trust leading to low motivation and decreased productivity. When you delegate a task, trust your employees to get the job done.

Employees who feel trusted by their managers work with a sense of responsibility and accountability towards the assigned tasks. As a manager, if you can build trust within your team, this will be an invaluable feather in your cap.

  • Empathy

The ability to understand and share other people’s emotions is known as Empathy. People who have this ability are considered to have high emotional intelligence. In a manager, empathy can help understand the level of stress his/her team is experiencing during deadlines or personal crisis. During such times of crisis, managers who can empathize can help the team navigate through these times.

  • Active Listener

A good people’s manager must have the ability to listen to what the others have to say to hear what is being said. An active listener can help avoid misunderstandings and resolve conflicts.

Unlike empathy, a manager can hone his/her listening skills by practice. Consciously making an effort to listen, understand, and then respond will help you understand other’s points of view. When you listen, make the effort to hear what the employee has to say and don’t interrupt to respond.

As Bryant H. McGill truly says, “One of the most sincere forms of respect is listening to what another person has to say”.

  • Recognize Achievements

Recognizing the efforts and achievements of employees is the most effective way to motivate them. Managers who can recognize the efforts of their team are often successful in keeping them engaged.

While performance appraisal focuses on increments/promotions which are great financial motivators, creating a rewards and recognition system to share an individual’s performance can be equally or more effective. Make it a routine to praise outstanding work in team meetings, internal newsletters, or cafeteria talks. To ensure you don’t miss out on any employee, maintain a record in a digital system.

  • Ability to Adapt

Change is the only constant and managers who can adapt to the changing times come out as winners. Adaptability is a people management skill that ensures a manager can change course as and when needed.

There are multiple ways to achieve a goal. Each employee in your team will have a unique way of working on the tasks assigned. Your ability to recognize their uniqueness and their methods of working add to your adaptability. Managers who can adapt to the changing times and ways of performing a task become better people managers.

  • Decision-making

A manager makes an array of decisions in his/her day-to-day work. People management skills require a manager to be an active listener, open to ideas, and adaptable. However, at the end of the day, the final decision rests with the manager.

Managers need to be decisive in their decisions to guide the team in the right direction towards the company goals.

  • Accountability

Willingness to take responsibility for his/her actions is known as accountability. A manager should be able to admit to his own mistakes and that of his team. Managers who are willing to take responsibility for their actions command the trust and respect of their team and the management.


People management skills have become a vital factor when selecting a candidate or employee for the managerial position. Managers have to constantly interact with team members, other managers, and the management to ensure the smooth functioning of the organization. Having the above 10 skills enable the manager to guide the team in the right direction.

People are the heart and soul of any business and to ensure that every person within the organization is engaged and motivated, managers need to possess people management skills. These skills distinguish a good manager from a great manager.

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