The art of managing people

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Managing people is no longer simply a responsibility - there is now an increasing recognition of the importance of the skill of people management. How well or badly a team is managed can affect employee retention, productivity, creativity and even your employees’ health.

So it makes good business sense to be an effective people manager. If you are unsure about where to begin, here are five steps to get started.

Adopt a people-focused culture

There is good reason why some of the world’s top organisations attribute their success to their people. By treating their employees as the most valuable asset of the company, they achieved impressive results and became more competitive across many fronts.

These companies tend to create a favourable brand perception (internally and externally) by treating their staff well, and this helps them when they need to attract talent. By making sure your employees know that they are valued and are seen as part of the company’s growth and success, you will find they become more energised, will think more creatively and will be more willing to take ownership of what they do.

Be a leader, not a manager

Many business managers are often trapped in the daily operations of running their companies or assigned divisions. While micro-managing all aspects of a business will probably make you a strong manager, it won’t necessarily make you a great leader.

In today’s world, to remain competitive, your company needs inspiring leaders who can inject enthusiasm into the work environment and make employees excited about their job, as opposed to having staff who simply ‘do as they are told’.

A great business leader moves people to extraordinary performance and is able to communicate his or her vision to the staff and get their buy in. Genuine leadership cleverly uses talents to bring about real and limitless productivity, as employees begin to emulate and internalise their leaders’ positive attitude and approach to work, especially when these leaders support them wholeheartedly.

Know your team’s strengths

Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses so it’s important to get to know your team and find out what they excel at and where they need extra support. That doesn’t mean you can’t encourage and challenge those who don’t think they have particular strengths to go out of their ‘comfort zone’, but it can help you to put together the right team for each assignment.

When a company becomes too entrenched in rules, regulations, guidelines and policies, it kills creativity and innovation within the workplace. 

Try to make yourself available

You will have your own priorities so cannot be available for your team all the time. However, if you make it clear that you don’t want to interact with your team unless you are telling them what to do, you are unlikely to get the best out of them. You may prefer to base yourself in your own office (with the door closed, if you find it hard to work with background noise) but make sure you take time to meet and talk to your team regularly – both as a group and individually. That way you can deal with issues before they become problems, find out about ideas that could help the company and provide feedback about ongoing projects.

Encourage risk taking and innovation

When a company becomes too entrenched in rules, regulations, guidelines and policies, it kills creativity and innovation within the workplace. You may have worked for companies like this in the past, where employees will clock in their hours daily and perform their assigned duties as contracted, but no more.

Build a culture that encourages and empowers people to take certain level of risks. With the knowledge that mistakes are permissible, your employees will be more open and proactive in sharing their thoughts, ideas and opinions on how to make things better.

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