To get the best results you have to be very good at managing your people. These are skills that are mostly ones that you can learn and develop, and, of course, it really helps if you have a natural capacity to get on well with people too.
Practicing and building your abilities is not as hard as you might think. Here are the simple secrets that you can focus on to make the difference.
1. Do What It Says On The Tin – Manage!
Your people see the name on your badge, or your door (or your parking space) and they expect you to do what’s expected of you. They want you to lead from the front and show you’re in charge. This is about leadership; being the last on the ship and heading the charge into battle. When things get tough you dig in and show up.
Managing is about making sure you recognize what your responsibilities are and deliver them, and only them. People management skills deliver by giving others some responsibility and letting them get on with it. And that you are accountable for it all. No-one else; no shirking and blaming others. It’s you.
2. Build A Great Team
If you really want to make the best of your people asset, you get great at leveraging the amazing talents of all your people. Squeezing their potential to the full by supporting, guiding and coaching (maybe even ‘coaxing’ them!), to realize what is possible.
You see, a manager’s role is to deliver success. And not just in the results in their business – psst, it’s more. People management skills are totally about a legacy of developing and utilizing capability fully. Gluing individual talents together. Making the whole bigger than the sum of the parts.
3. Ooops – And Let’s Not Forget Those Results
Bottom line, is that you have to deliver the day to day, year by year business and profits or other success measures expected of you. It’s what pays you and your people.
So, you have an obligation to keep your eye on the ball and deliver. Your people will depend on you to lead them to success, with their help, of course (and believe it, they will be your rocks, if you do this right). They trust you to work hard enough to make the numbers stack. In the tough business world we inhabit, their jobs depend on it.
4. Build Relationships
OK – let’s rewind a little. It helps you as a people manager if you get on well with people. If you are a people person. It’s pretty much a pre-requisite. When you are wringing out performance from your people, it really helps if you have a rapport together.
And it’s easy to do.
You show an interest in them. You ask them questions that show an interest in them as people and not just colleagues – what’s important in life to them. You listen effectively and hear what they say. More, you start to anticipate what they are on about when they talk to you. Or before even. And, of course, you treat them as equal human beings and show trust and respect to them.
Then it works.
5. Accept Feedback
The final key people management skill is an ability to show a little humility. You aren’t perfect – not at all. The very best managers listen hard and learn much from their people too. It’s a fine-edged balance that they get just right. Managing how they absorb and react to feedback is a testament to who they are. And they get back the reward for the way they handle what their people share with them about them.
Listen, your best advocates are the people you listen to and help you develop yourself. Then they listen to the constructive way you help them. It’s two-way traffic and mutual support. It’s invaluable. It’s terrific.
Five little steps that will help your people management skills succeed. You may need to flex and change a bit. You may need to gulp down a bit of your pride too and change your behaviors.
And wow – is that OK!