Laura Iñiguez, Content Manager at Hirebook
Laura is a content strategist focused on Human Resources, People Management and Culture. She has previously worked as a Talent and Corporate Culture Specialist and as a Social Media Manager for renowned companies such as Sheraton Hotels.
Pub: August 10 2021
. Upd: September 22 2021
People management skills are often overlooked and we tend to focus on developing and using other skills just to try to “meet our goals”. We forget that there’s so much more in management than just hard or technical skills. But we’re here to remind you that when it comes to managing people, soft skills play a huge role in leading your team towards success!
Table of Contents:
What is People Management?
People management is a set of practices or “soft skills” focused on the processes involving talent, from talent acquisition to optimization, motivation and retention; providing ongoing support and guidance to the employees to enhance their growth and benefit the organization.
It’s difficult to define the set of skills required for people management, but they’re as important, if not more important, as technical skills. And mastering people management makes a huge impact on the efficiency and effectiveness of a team’s work.
Successful employee managing plays a huge role in employee engagement, so leaders must not only focus on outcomes, but also on the processes their direct reports go through to achieve those outcomes, and find solutions to make these processes more efficient from a human perspective, besides the technical one. Part of a manager’s job is to keep the team motivated, review how employees work, behave and develop, and lead their team towards success.
People management is not just a management style, it is a system of engagement that leverages team effort to push the entire workforce of a company. Effective people management involves providing support in areas such as:
Wellbeing and Safety
As a manager, you’ll face a lot of challenges and situations that go beyond the daily tasks and achieving goals; you have to be involved and trained in the aforementioned areas not just to “help” certain departments but to help your team do their best and feel their best.
A few examples of how people managements skills come in handy in the workplace are:
- Resolving conflicts between employees and promoting mutual respect.
- Instill employee collaboration to help meet deadlines.
- Help training new team members or teaching new softwares and skills to your employees.
- Promote company culture and a safe work environment.
- Help out your team when they have blockers or feel overwhelmed at work.
Developing people management skills will overall help you foster your manager/employee relationship to give your reports the motivation and support they need to perform and face challenges.
Below, we’ll provide you with some management tips to help you out.
What are the People Management Skills I Need to Thrive as a Manager?
Establishing the proper channels of communication will create a natural and dynamic manager/employee relationship. These channels should be free and open, allowing bilateral and continual feedback and a constant update of how your team’s efforts impact the entire organization.
A good leader must be able to clearly communicate new ideas, projects and tasks to their reports and let them know what is expected from them or what the new steps ahead are.
In order to become a better manager, communication has to be in your toolkit, it makes the whole difference between trust and uncertainty amidst change and difficult times. Which brings us to our next skill:
Like in any type of relationship, trust is the foundation of a manager/employee relationship. It is crucial that employees trust each other, trust their leader and for the leader to trust their team.
By trusting your team you’ll be able to rely on their abilities and believe in their potential to complete objectives, instead of turning to micro-managing and constantly watching over your team with disbelief, treating them as if they were children in need of constant supervision.
Employees that feel their manager trusts them tend to push harder to achieve better results and make their leaders proud. They take ownership of their work and feel confident enough to ask for your advice when they feel they need it. This helps make processes more efficient and helps your employees to feel confident in themselves and capable of accomplishing their goals, while encouraging career development.
Motivation is something that we hear a lot about but not every manager has the ability to motivate their team, and that’s because motivation involves so much more than offering a couple of perks or prizes.
Sure, sometimes employees are intrinsically motivated by the nature of some of their tasks and perform them well, but there’s always a stack of tasks they want to put off until there’s no more escape but working on them, and that often leads to not-so-good results.
That’s where a manager’s motivation should come in. And for this to work, first you need to know your team members well to figure out the best way to get to them. Identify their strengths and aspirations, what gets your team moving. When it comes to the moments or tasks where employees are “just not feeling it”, it’s important to appeal to what’s important for them regarding their professional selves. Make them see why those dreadful tasks are important and how they will benefit from doing them, how they’ll impact the entire company, and how those tasks play an important part in their professional development.
Appreciating your employees’ work and victories is a people management skill that you should master, and it doesn’t have to include monetary prizes or perks, but it’s definitely not as easy as just saying “good job” every now and then. As a manager, it is important to learn how to praise and reward your employees for a job well done, but it is also important to know when to do so, it can become a double edged sword.
Showing your appreciation towards your direct reports impacts them individually and encourages them to continue performing as good, if not better. But if you constantly praise them and congratulate them, it won’t feel genuine and can be perceived as fake, hence the double edged sword. You can check out this article to see some examples of positive feedback.
To show appreciation to your employees, you need to pay attention to what they’re doing, and honestly praise them when they’re performing well, thank them for their dedication and make sure they know how they play a very important role in the functioning of the organization.
As a manager you’re not only responsible for your duties, you’re responsible for your team members’. In the end, whatever happens with your team comes down to you. A good manager holds themself accountable when something goes wrong or is not working, and they also give the proper credit and praise to those in their team doing a good job.
Managers should be able to account for everything that’s either done or not done, and take responsibility for both successes and failures. This is not only ethical, but when employees know their leader has their back, they work hard not to let them down, which means you’ll be driving great performance and achieving greater results.
Managing a team is hard, sometimes it can feel like being a teacher in charge of a group of students for the better part of the day, sometimes you feel nothing is going right and you have nowhere to turn to because basically you have to lead the group and show them the way. Yes, it can be frustrating, that’s why patience is a must have in your people management toolkit!
You can think that patience is something you’re born with, but it’s actually a skill you can develop by doing some simple exercises. First of all, don’t forget to breathe, we tend to forget how breathing is a big part of solving problems and it’s extremely underrated, but taking a deep breath amidst a difficult or stressful situation makes a huge difference. Then, try to keep your cool and control your emotions; how you respond will affect how your team responds. It’s better to try to calm yourself down, not only because it’s healthy emotionally and physically, but because it’s easier to resolve and think clearly with a cool head. Your team will follow your steps and you can all work together in finding solutions.
The ability to react appropriately and not be triggered by emotions is a great asset, is something that your colleagues will aspire to do and will allow your team to have harmony and be confident that they’ll always power through effectively.
We all aspire to do great work and get promoted, but when we get there we don’t always know how to handle it. We can be professionally prepared, but being a leader takes more than just professional knowledge, and we must keep in mind that soft skills are as important as hard skills.
The importance of people management skills cannot be overstated - they’re just as much of a business strategy as culture development. Hirebook’s software empowers teams to set goals and have frequent performance conversations needed to succeed, making employee managing easy!
Photo credit - 8photo