To help you become an effective people manager, we’ve gathered seven invaluable tips from founders, HR managers, and other leaders. These insights range from practicing mindfulness to scheduling regular one-on-one meetings. Dive in to discover the strategies these professionals recommend.
Benefits of a Great People Manager
A great people manager can have a profound impact on an organization and its employees. Here are some of the key benefits of having a great people manager:
- Employee Engagement: Great people managers can foster a sense of belonging and purpose among their team members, leading to higher levels of employee engagement and motivation.
- Improved Productivity: Effective managers can set clear goals, provide regular feedback, and remove obstacles to productivity, resulting in increased work output.
- Talent Retention: Skilled people managers can create a positive work environment, reducing employee turnover and saving the organization time and resources in recruiting and training new staff.
- Skill Development: Great managers support their team members’ professional growth by providing opportunities for skill development and advancement within the organization.
- Conflict Resolution: They have the ability to resolve conflicts and address interpersonal issues, maintaining a harmonious and collaborative workplace.
- Clear Communication: Effective communication skills ensure that instructions are understood, expectations are clear, and feedback is constructive.
Essential People Management Tips
1. Enhance EQ Through Practicing Mindfulness
Emotional intelligence is about being aware of our own emotions and understanding the feelings of those around us. When a manager has strong EQ skills, they can sense when a team member is stressed, motivated, or needs support.
One effective way to grow this skill is through mindfulness. I practice daily meditation or deep breathing; it’s all about keeping ourselves grounded and focused on the present moment.
By doing this, I’ve become more attuned to my emotions and reactions. This doesn’t just help in understanding myself better, but also in reading the room in team meetings. Over time, this practice has helped me build stronger and more genuine relationships with my team.
2. Improve Through Introspection and Feedback
Every good people manager I know is introspective. As a team leader and director myself, I believe that introspection is an important prerequisite to becoming an effective people manager.
After all, it’s difficult to improve when you do not recognize your areas of improvement. If no one points out your mistakes, how will you know if you’re not aware of your own shortcomings as a manager?
To get better, you need to recognize what needs to be better. A good team leader values feedback about how they’re doing. They also understand how their actions affect others. Personally, I gather thoughts from my team members or feedback from coworkers.
3. Understand and Cater to the Team’s Needs
Becoming an effective people manager hinges on one fundamental principle: understanding your team’s needs. In my experience, taking the time to truly grasp what the team collectively needs has been instrumental.
It’s not just about deliverables or deadlines; it’s about recognizing their team dynamics and weaknesses. By focusing on this, I’ve been able to tailor my management style to better support and uplift each individual. This approach has boosted team morale and enhanced overall productivity and collaboration.
4. Learn Continuously for Leadership Growth
Like many roles that need regular skill updates, a good leader should always be open to learning, especially about leadership styles and personal growth.
Great people managers will look for opportunities to pick up new methods for handling their team and improve their management skills. Even if they’re already established and prominent leaders, they will still strive to learn, either from their peers or through educational courses.
Let’s take a brief break to learn what makes a great manager.
5. Balance Support and Autonomy in Management
Poor managers come in one of two forms: micromanagers, who are overbearing and domineering, depriving staff of much-needed autonomy and trust, and those who are inaccessible and indifferent, leaving staff feeling abandoned during their times of need.
Good people managers, therefore, must walk the line between the two, being there for staff who need them but granting autonomy to those who do not.
When applying this principle, managers should only tell staff how to complete tasks if they first ask. Otherwise, they should give staff significant leeway to complete tasks in their own way, expressing that they trust their staff and respect their autonomy.
6. Own Your Mistakes for Effective Management
In order for you to become an effective manager of human beings, you must first appear as one. That is why it is important to own your mistakes. Many entrepreneurs fear that if they admit to a mistake or that they don’t know everything, it will diminish their standing with their team. However, nothing could be further from the truth.
Admitting to not knowing something about a topic, deferring to team members who are more talented in some areas, having a sense of humor about your missteps, and above all, admitting when you are wrong, will make you appear more approachable to your employees.
By owning your mistakes, you ensure your team sees your human side as much as they do your leadership role. This will make you a more effective people manager.
7. Schedule Regular One-on-One Meetings
The one strategy I’ve found most effective for becoming an effective people manager is to schedule regular one-on-one meetings with each team member. These 30-60 minute touchpoints make employees feel valued, understood, and invested in.
Dedicate the time to ask thoughtful questions, actively listen, and provide guidance tailored to each person. Follow up collaboratively to support their goals and development. This consistent two-way communication builds trust and engagement.
It shows you genuinely care about enabling your team’s success. When people feel acknowledged and empowered, they do their best work. By taking a personal interest in their growth, you become a connector of people to possibility. That’s the heart of great leadership.
Example of a People Manager’s Professional Development Plan
Improve Team Engagement: Increase team engagement and motivation by 15% within the next 12 months, as measured through regular employee surveys and feedback.
Enhance Communication Skills: Improve communication skills to ensure clear, effective, and empathetic communication with team members, resulting in fewer misunderstandings and conflicts.
Strengthen Leadership Skills: Develop and strengthen leadership skills to foster a culture of growth and innovation within the team.
Expand Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives: Develop and implement diversity and inclusion initiatives within the team, aiming to increase diversity and create a more inclusive work environment.
Professional Development Activities
Mentorship and Coaching
- Identify a mentor or coach within the organization or industry who can provide guidance and support in leadership and management.
- Enroll in a communication skills workshop or training program.
- Practice active listening and conflict resolution techniques in daily interactions with team members.
- Attend leadership development seminars or courses.
- Read leadership books and articles to gain new perspectives and insights.
Diversity and Inclusion Training
- Participate in diversity and inclusion training programs to better understand the nuances of promoting diversity and inclusion.
- Seek guidance from HR or diversity and inclusion experts within the organization.
Regular Feedback and Evaluation
- Schedule regular feedback sessions with team members to identify strengths and areas for improvement.
- Keep a journal to reflect on personal growth and development.
- Attend industry conferences, seminars, and networking events to connect with other people managers and gain insights into best practices.
Project Management Training
- Develop project management skills to effectively manage team projects, timelines, and resources.
Monthly: Schedule feedback sessions with team members to assess progress and gather input.
Quarterly: Review and adjust the professional development plan as needed.
Annually: Conduct a comprehensive self-assessment and performance review to measure progress against the defined goals.
Resources and Support
- HR department for guidance and support in accessing training and development resources.
- Mentors, coaches, and colleagues for advice and assistance.
- Online courses, workshops, and books on leadership, communication, and diversity and inclusion.
- Monitor team engagement through regular employee surveys and feedback.
- Track improvements in communication through fewer misunderstandings and conflicts.
- Evaluate leadership skills through team productivity and innovation.
- Assess the success of diversity and inclusion initiatives by measuring diversity metrics and conducting anonymous employee surveys.
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