Managing people is an essential skill for successful business management. However, the amount of training around this topic is rare – it’s almost as if it is expected to come naturally. In this week’s article we look at 10 cornerstones of people management skills.
1. Don’t Turn A Blind Eye
It is so easy to blinker yourself to an issue than actually confronting bad practice. But even though that bad practice may not cause major issues in the short term, in the long term you could be witnessing the tip of an iceberg which could see your team collapsing like a pack of cards. If one worker knows they can get away with it, the bad practice will spread like wildfire leading to disrespect for you as manager and unstable procedures.
Catch any issue early and talk it through with the worker concerned. But remember to use constructive criticism so you are enabling the employee to develop.
2. Be Seen as A Leader
The word “leader” has many different connotations. The most effective leaders are those who gain the respect of their followers. These people know they gain this respect not by barking orders and sitting in an ivory tower, but by making employees development and happiness an essential element of company growth. A leader needs to mix with his employees to understand them individually – they need to be seen and seen to be fair.
3. Effective Delegation
Delegation can be a great way to dissipate tasks, but it can also be difficult to manage appropriately. Some managers find it hard to let other people carry out a task which they have done successfully in the past. In order for a company to grow and in order for your employees to grow you need to be able to let go. This may mean a focus on training or shadowing and coaching employees in the first instance.
Be careful not to fall into “making a clone of yourself” – your employee needs to find themselves and release their potential in their own situation.
4. Listening Is the Key Process
It is easy in a management position to spend your days giving people your opinion and giving orders. But when you are working with human feelings, aspirations and personalities, you have to make sure your employees are coherent as a team, they can carry out tasks in their own unique way and in the party line and are developing along their own career path. In other words, you need to be able to listen to your team members needs too.
In the same way, to create a strong team, you need to be able to mediate. That means listening to two parties within the team, highlighting where each is coming from and enabling both to come to a positive outcome.
5. Streamline Team Management
Budgets, deadlines, meetings and reports can often get in the way of just giving your team that extra bit of time. But the fact is, a team the understands the company mission, feels looked after, and works well together, is going to make your daily tasks so much easier to handle. Consider ways to enhance team work such as days away; team building days, rewards for goals reached, and individual career plans.
6. Don’t Skip the Training Process
Employees don’t naturally look forward to training sessions and employers see training as a drain on budgets, but at the end of the day a well-structured training schedule which is intrinsically linked to individual needs and company needs can only lead to reduced budgets, better working practices and higher sales.
Sometimes training can be on the job – so be available for coaching when you can. If you are busy and you recognise a training need in an employee, book some time so you can give them valuable input.
7. Motivating Essential Change
People are more likely to be motivated if they feel part of the bigger picture – if they know how their contribution has an effect on the company and brand. Make the time to keep employees informed as to how their tasks fit into the overall vision and how their efforts are making a difference. Go out of your way to show appreciation for good work and offer rewards to individuals who have gone above and beyond what is expected. Ensure this appreciation is recognised by others in the team.
8. Clear Vision and Signposts
In order to bring your team together and instil in them the necessary tasks, there needs to be purpose. Therefore, you need to have vision and be able to cascade those concepts down to your employees.
9. Separate Company Goals from Emotions
We are all human and there is always going to be members of the team you don’t particularly like or get on with. This shouldn’t get in the way of good people management, feedback or influencing change. The key is recognising your feelings and separating them from the business goal in hand. When you find yourself being led by your feelings rather than business goals, take time out and ask yourself what is your ultimate goal? Never act when you are feeling angry, frustrated or hurt by someone.
10. Value and Back New Ideas
As much as you have to show yourself to be a leader and a role model it should never mean you have the answer to everything. If you feel threatened when someone has a good idea you have a problem. Welcome new ideas and reward employees. Nurture that innovative thinking.
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