What Is People Management? Skills and Advice.
People Management Definition
People management is the process of hiring, training, motivating and leading employees so they are productive, successful and feel fulfilled at work. The goal of people management is to develop employees and foster a positive company culture, leading to business success.
What Is People Management?
People management refers to the set of practices involved in the process of hiring, developing and retaining employees while providing employees the tools and support they need to achieve success and contribute to the goals of the business.
Effectively managing people involves more than just memorizing leadership tips. Acquiring high-quality people management skills takes an authentic desire to promote employees’ career goals and interests while also aiding development across the workplace.
Great managers should be able to recognize their own strengths and weaknesses, communicate effectively, motivate their team and seek genuine feedback so they can learn from their mistakes. Managers find success in conflict resolution by facing challenges head-on, determining the root cause of the issue, finding where compromises must be made and formulating a plan that allows all parties to comfortably move forward.
Managers may fulfill different roles depending on their industry, company or team focus, but most people manager’s responsibilities involve:
- Handling interpersonal conflicts as they arise and ensuring employees are motivated to move forward once a resolution is found.
- Leading employee training and making sure job responsibilities, expectations and company-wide goals are communicated clearly.
- Managing deadlines so employees don’t fall behind on responsibilities, leading to disruptions that could affect the entire company.
- Building company culture and helping employees to begin and end work in a healthy state of mind each day.
Key Components of People Management: The 5 C’s
People managers typically follow five key components when they build workplace culture, ensuring organizations are set up for success.
Key Component of People Management
Company culture starts with the very first hire. Talent acquisition processes must be thorough and backed by a strong employer brand, with engaging candidate experience, informative onboarding and clear roadmapping techniques utilized to build loyalty and ready employees to grow with the company amongst any changes.
Understanding the differences innate to each person in a workplace is necessary to understanding how to motivate them to become the best employees possible.
Employees need to know that their voices will be heard in the moments when they feel like they must speak up. Managers who encourage open communication allow employees to have a better perception of their place within the company and lead to problems being resolved as they arise rather than when they reach a tipping point.
Positive work environments ensure that each employee’s output is paramount to the overall success of the organization. By fostering a spirit of collaboration between not just team members, but all sides of the business, employees feel like they have had a role in more than just the success of their everyday tasks, making them more willing to participate into the future.
Overcoming challenges will always be a component of building a successful culture, but effective people managers will always be prepared to find resolutions regardless of if the challenge is of an interpersonal or intrapersonal nature. People managers must rely on understanding and take only appropriate disciplinary action to keep company culture and employee perception aligned.
5 Essential People Management Skills
Learning how to be a good manager is far from impossible, and by following a few basic principles, professionals will be on their way to fostering more motivated, productive working environments where employees are eager to participate each day.
Miscommunications, differences of opinions and varied lifestyles are common in the workplace. When managed properly, however, these conflicts can result in an environment where all employees feel like their opinions are valued and critical to the employer’s brand. Strong people managers take an active role in mediating conflicts before they reach a point where they become insurmountable, and look to incorporate every employees’ point-of-view when creating a path forward, setting a culture that incorporates understanding, representation and accountability.
Productive work environments rely on a sense of camaraderie from the top down, but gaining the trust of individual employees takes action. People managers must be capable of listening to and fully understanding an employee’s goals, ambitions and work habits to be able to bring out the most of their abilities. By practicing patience and flexibility when employees are facing blockers, and empowering them with the skills and motivation they need both in moments of hardship and while being trained, people managers will build a far-more engaged team.
3. Active Listening
A crucial component of people management in any industry is the ability to both clearly communicate employee expectations and how they are expected to meet them, while also being able to internalize that employee’s concerns, apprehensions and struggles. People managers must learn to actively listen, maintain eye-contact, give verbal cues and ask questions to show that they are engaged with the employee. Active listening, however, must be combined with genuine empathy, appreciation and actionable steps in these moments for employees to feel validated and respected in the workplace.
Workplaces are constantly evolving, and so should entire teams — including managers. Having access to high-quality data that details project, company and employee performance over periods of time is crucial to streamlining success within an organization. Demonstrating the ability to stay up-to-date is also important for proving self-awareness to team members, and by consistently learning new skills and capabilities that can be applied to the workplace, managers can foster a spirit of quality career development.
Staying on top of routine tasks and emerging challenges, or alternatively constantly needing to catch-up and letting ongoing responsibilities slide to tackle emerging tasks, is something that will be recognized and resonate throughout a team. Great people managers actively look for ways to streamline processes, reduce clutter and accomplish tasks before they pile up while paying attention to employee workloads and making adjustments where they are needed. Employees should have access to the resources they need to stay organized from the moment they are onboarded.
Tips for People Managers on Creating a Healthy Work Environment
While conflict resolution, reinforcing deadlines and employee training are all necessary parts of a manager’s responsibility, there are many other tangible and intangible factors that go into creating workplaces that employees are excited to be a part of.
People managers must support the mental wellbeing of not only their entire team, but themselves as well, in order to prove to employees that their life and well-being outside of work matters just as much as their performance. Some ways that managers can do this include:
Making physical and mental wellbeing a priority for both managers and employees benefits the company as a whole. Employees and managers alike are more effective in their roles if they are supported with their health.
Hire Diverse Employees
Hiring employees from diverse backgrounds and ensuring their needs are being met within the workplace offers a host of benefits. Having representation of all kinds leads to the ability to share unique experiences and a company culture where all members can learn from each other.
Own Your Mistakes
Part of being a successful manager is admitting and owning mistakes. Seeing leadership hold themselves accountable shows a model for employees to follow and helps them be less stressed about the consequences of their own trials and errors.
Sharing personal and professional goals may seem intimidating, but it can help foster relationships between team members amongst team members and discourage rivalries between colleagues. Being approachable and taking a genuine interest in your employees’ lives outside of work can go a long way.
Be Open to Feedback
When managers encourage employees to give them feedback it creates an open line of communication. Managers should also continue developing new skills so employees are motivated to do the same.
Promote Employee Development
It’s important to continually raise standards and prioritize developing current employees over hiring someone new, but make sure you aren’t micromanaging employees. Company goals will transform and develop but an employee’s time should always be valued.
Give Good Feedback
Giving meaningful performance reviews can help employees stay engaged and feel motivated to continue learning and improving within their roles. Giving quality feedback also help managers communicate expectations and keep a pulse on how employees are feeling.