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A Guide to People Management: Tips and Skills Every People Manager Needs

May 4, 2021
3 Min Read
Photo by
Ivanna Mikityuk

Effective people management is the key for aspiring leaders and managers. Especially when it comes to leaders who strive to foster a positive environment and understand the quirks and ambitions of their teams.

In this article, we'll be examining the skills and tips that makeup people management and how they can help you and your team reach success.

What is people management?

People management is a set of practices and strategies that provides ongoing support and guidance for individuals part of an organization.

People management includes:

  • Leading team meetings
  • Navigating interpersonal conflicts
  • Fostering a positive culture
  • Managing expectations, responsibilities, and deliverables

In terms of skills, people management can cover areas like development, organization, problem-solving, and growth-mindedness to build strong teams.

People management skills

You can build your people management skills by making small changes in your mindset and your perspective when it comes to facing any obstacle. Shifting your fixed mindset to a growth mindset starts with implementing small changes to your daily routine.

Listen before you speak

Active listening is the practice of listening to the speaker fully before responding. Part of being an active listeners is removing distractions, maintaining eye contact, and offering verbal or non-verbal cues to show you're fully present in the conversation.

For example, while you're chatting with a peer, respond thoughtfully by paraphrasing or mirroring their message. When you demonstrate your understanding, you can ask follow-up questions to further empathize with your peer's experience.

Understanding everyone's superpower

If your team doesn't feel empowered then it's hard to reach success. It’s important to train new team members and give them tools they need to grow in their role. When it comes to empowering your peers try:

  • Offering constructive feedback and kudos
  • Being readily available for questions
  • Allowing peers to adjust workflow to improve their productivity
  • Encouraging them to take additional projects or learning opportunities
  • Providing support when facing challenging at work

Random syncs

Not every meeting has to be business. Incorporate moments throughout the week to just catch up and do a wellness check. While meeting weekly to communicate project updates is ideal, squeeze in casual meetings. This shows your team that you're available to provide support beyond the workplace.

Sharpening your communication

Popular opinion: Communication is a necessary people management skill. With effective communication skills, you and your team can work together to overcome obstacles, brainstorm out-the-box ideas, and adapt internal changes.

Sharpen your communication skills by using clear and simple language. Whether it's written or verbal communication, be clear and concise to ensure everyone is on the same page. Also, allot extra time to answer clarifying or follow-ups questions, so there is no miscommunication among your team.

Promoting feedback culture

According to a Quartz survey, about 44% of managers said giving negative feedback was stressful and about 40% of the same group admitted that they had never given positive feedback. This is a big no.

Part of people management is finding the balance of both positive and constructive feedback. If you only give praise for good work, that may frustrates team members because you don't help them grow. But only providing constructive feedback may make your team members feel discouraged and less confident in their role. Take a look at how to provide feedback above.

Organizational culture

Managing a team mean juggling different ongoing tasks simultaneously. Organization is another important people management skill that helps you track and maintain your team’s productivity. Don't mistake this as micromanaging which can hinder your team member's focus.

Creating an organizational culture starts with:

  • Promptly responding to emails, Slack messages, and questions
  • Keeping Google calendar alerts for deliverables
  • Running meetings with high-level topics of discussion
  • Delegating tasks to team members who fit the project appropriately

People management books

We recommend learning people management skills from the experts. Check out some rich books to help you absorb the subtle nuances of people management and pass those insights on to your team.

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