7 Key People Management Skills for Better Leadership

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People management is more than just following procedures and achieving goals. In this article, you can learn how to be a leader who inspires and motivates his team to achieve great things.

If you want to manage people, you have to be a leader. But being a leader is different from being a manager. A manager focuses on doing things the right way by following procedures and processes to the letter. A manager is normally reactive, takes a short-term view and wants immediate results. They care most about productivity and getting things done as quickly as possible.

In contrast, a leader has a long term vision for the company or department. They aim to inspire and motivate their employees while helping them grow and develop their skills. A leader thinks outside the box, tries to find new ways of doing things, and challenges the status quo.

If you want to be a leader, not a manager, check out our people management tips below.

Overview: What is People Management?

Not everyone is made to manage people. You may be exceptional at your job, extremely knowledgeable and competent, but lack the temperament or skills needed to work in people management.

Here are some of the key people management responsibilities you will have:

  • Hire workers
  • Assessment of staffing needs
  • Performance Management
  • Training needs assessment
  • Assign tasks
  • Dismissal of employees
  • Liaise with other managers
  • Recruitment and management of contractors and freelancers

If that sounds like tasks you can manage, now you need to know the skills you need to effectively manage people.

Business leaders should have people management skills

Having a good knowledge of human capital management and business development as a whole, as well as an understanding of the work of your employees, is important for effective people management, but you also need soft skills if you want get the most out of your employees. .

1. Good communication skills

Communication is the foundation of running a successful business, and good written and verbal communication skills are essential if you want to be effective at managing people at work. You need to be able to ask people to complete tasks, as well as get others to listen to your ideas and make sure everyone is clear on what you said.

But communication is a two-way street. It involves listening as well as talking. If you want to get the most out of your staff, you need to take note of their ideas, issues, and thoughts. This feedback is an important part of effective personnel management.

Point: Solicit input from other leaders and colleagues with people management experience. Find out what they do, what worked and why it worked. Try different techniques and see what resonates the most with your staff.

2. Empathy

To get the most out of your employees, you need to support them through the bad times and the good. For example, if a loved one of one of your employees has passed away and they need to request bereavement leave, you need to empathize, understand what they are going through and respond appropriately.

Point: Make sure you have processes in place to deal with issues such as bereavement. Ideally, document them in your employee handbook. This allows you to focus on being a listening ear rather than worrying about the logistics of a furlough agreement.

3. Flexibility

It is important to document the processes in your employee handbook and try to follow them as much as possible, as this is the best way to create a fair and equitable work environment.

However, in business, expect the unexpected. Not everything goes as planned and it is impossible to prepare for and document every eventuality. Sometimes you will need to be more flexible and deviate from your normal operating procedures.

Point: Put everything in writing so you can explain why you make certain decisions and to ensure you have a paper trail in case something goes wrong later. Good communication is also key to being flexible, as you need to be able to use the appropriate language and channels to explain your decision.

4. Relationship builder

Not everyone will like you all the time because making difficult and unpopular decisions is an important part of managing people in the workplace. But you need to build relationships with your staff so you can get the most out of them.

Show you care about them, ask questions, find out what they want from their role in life. Listen and show genuine interest, and look at things from their perspective. This will allow you to tailor your management style to the unique needs of your workforce.

Point: Show your employees that you care what they think by sending out anonymous surveys and asking for suggestions on areas of improvement for managers. HR software like Workday lets you create surveys and then analyze the results to easily spot trends.

Workday screen showing an investigation dashboard separating preliminary and completed investigations.

Workday lets you create surveys to understand employee satisfaction. Image source: author

5. Focused on recognition

Performance management is a key part of being a leader, as you strive to get the best out of your employees, increase productivity and encourage innovation. But that’s only half of the equation. You need to be sure to recognize and reward your employees when they achieve their goals. This can be done through monetary recognition or verbal or written feedback.

Point: If you want to be able to recognize good work, you need to regularly check in with your employees on how they are performing. HR software like Zenefits helps you start this process by providing templates for creating goals and running performance reviews at the individual, team, and company level.

Zenefits goals page with different options to set corporate, department, team and personal goals.

Zenefits allows you to track the progress of all goals. Image source: author

6. Data Driven

Making your decisions based on your intuition has some merit, as it can draw on your past experience, but you also need to consider what data you collect – your people analytics – and HR metrics you track, tell you.

If you want to promote someone in a service, see performance management data. If you want to decide who should work during the holiday season, look at who worked in previous years.

In this way, your decisions will not be subject to bias and you can more easily explain them to your workers.

Point: Trying to collect and analyze this data manually is time-consuming and error-prone, which is why you need to automate your HR analytics process.

With HR software like BambooHR, you can get an overview of all your workforce analytics in one place, helping you make better decisions, faster.

BambooHR page displaying individual employee information, including personal information, leave tracking data, etc.

BambooHR centralizes all HR data to help you make better decisions. Image source: author

7. Transparency

Being transparent and open is one of the best ways to build trust with your employees. This shows them that you are being honest with them and not hiding any information. If you want to be transparent, you need good communication skills and good use of your data. Tell your employees what’s going on instead of letting them find out on the fly. Be sure to communicate why you made a decision, ideally by providing data and analysis.

Point: Use HR software with an employee portal, so everyone can access relevant information at the same time, even when they’re out of the office. SentricHR provides a news feed in its employee portal, which displays the latest company news and activity.

SentricHR dashboard showing who is scheduled for leave and a flow of notifications for the user.

SentricHR notifies employees and managers when there are news or new documents that require their attention. Image source: author

8. Lead by example

Don’t just tell your employees how to behave, show them.

For example, if you say your staff can only work from home one day a week, don’t yourself work from home four days a week. If you ask your employees to work overtime to complete a project, be sure to stay late as well. Or, on the other hand, if you don’t want your employees to burn out, make sure you get home on time every day so they know it’s okay to do it too.

Point: This is where 360 ​​degree feedback comes in. It is important that employees can give feedback on your performance. Not only will they feel more empowered, but they’ll notify you of any issues so you can fix them quickly.

How to develop your people management skills

If you want to develop your people management skills, you need to be open to feedback and continuous learning. Your work is never done. Here are some tasks you can undertake to develop your skills:

  • Read leadership books
  • Do in-person or online training
  • Follow inspiring leaders on social media
  • Talk to other people managers
  • Ask your employees what they expect from you

find your own way

Effective people management is different in every company and every department. There is no one-size-fits-all approach. That’s why it’s important to know as much of the company’s processes as possible, to work with other departments to find out what they need from you and how they work, and to talk to your employees to figure out how to get out of it. the best part.

Remember that this is an ongoing process and you will need to adapt and learn as you go.

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