Being a great manager is more than just your technical skills, job experience, or ability to solve problems. It also depends on having the right people management skills to help your team members excel in their respective roles to achieve organizational and career development goals.
Managers play a significant role in employee engagement as they inspire and motivate employees, becoming their role models. A Gallup report even suggests that they affect 70% of the variance in team engagement because they "set the tone" for the engagement of other employees.
As a manager, you can influence your team positively or negatively, so you must hone the right soft skills required to keep employees engaged and productive.
If you have just landed your dream job as a manager or are hoping to learn essential people management skills to boost team performance, this article is for you.
We will explain people management skills, their importance, and 15 skills to help you better manage people on your team, so read on.
What are people management skills?
People management skills are soft skills required to help managers better communicate, guide, and inspire team members for more desired results.
Soft skills include:
- Interpersonal skills (empathy, listening, communication, etc.)
- Time management
- Leadership, etc.
Good managers combine these attributes to treat people better and manage their potential for the benefit of the team. These skills also promote employee teamwork, harmony, and loyalty.
Why are people management skills important?
Most companies today look beyond technical skills when hiring managers or other employees. They also consider soft skills that help managers relate well with others to achieve organizational goals.
While these qualities may seem familiar, they are essential to differentiating the best managers from the regular ones.
Let us tell you why a company will pick a manager with good people management abilities over one with only the required knacks or experience.
We mentioned earlier that managers could positively or negatively influence employee engagement because the way a manager handles his team determines whether members will be actively involved or detached.
It's no secret that employees play a crucial part in a company's growth, and companies with engaged employees perform better than their competitors. Still, data from Gallup's State Of The Global Workplace 2022 Report revealed that only 21% of employees are engaged globally.
With the right approach and qualities, managers can help increase the number of engaged employees in a company.
A good manager with people management mastery:
- Challenges employees to be better
- Communicates clearly to other employees
- Provides feedback
- Requests opinions from employees
- Sets expectations clearly
- Inspires career growth
- Identifies weaknesses and strengths
- Manages performance, etc
Doing all these will build trust and encourage new employees to be engaged in their roles and interested in the company's growth.
When employees are engaged, they become more dedicated to carrying out their duties effectively, taking responsibility, and solving problems to achieve organizational goals.
Effective performance and overall productivity
Proper people and performance management are necessary for the growth process of any team, organization, or company. Managers skilled in managing people will boost their teams' overall performance and productivity, leading to better business outcomes for the company.
For example, a manager with the right level of emotional intelligence will not only identify when an employee is lagging but also communicate with the person to find the root cause of poor performance and help resolve the issue. Doing so will make employees feel valued and more dedicated to improving their performance.
On the other hand, a manager without people skills will most likely lash out at the employee and worsen the situation.
Ultimately, employees are more productive when they have a manager that relates better with them.
It costs companies more to hire new staff than to retain older ones, especially in light of the Great Resignation era. Therefore, more companies now try to compensate their team better and create a healthier work environment that inspires growth.
It is why they ensure that managers have the right attributes to retain employees because they play a crucial part in whether an employee stays or leaves.
A report by SHRM Research Institute lists "uncaring and uninspiring leaders" as the fifth-ranked reason for employee turnover.
This data shows that good managers with the appropriate people skills are more likely to retain talents and reduce turnover rates.
15 people management skills you need to develop
Now that you know why they are essential, it's time to share 15 people management attributes you need to become an outstanding manager.
Trust is essential for the success of any team, and it goes both ways. Managers need to earn the trust of their subordinates through their words and actions because employees need to trust you to lead them effectively to achieve team goals.
Also, as a people manager, you can develop this skill by allowing your subordinates to carry out their assigned duties without micromanaging them. You need to trust them to make decisions on their own to achieve organizational goals, even if these decisions differ slightly from yours.
- Effective communication
One way to encourage effective communication as a people manager is by creating a receptive environment allowing everyone to air their opinions freely without fearing retribution. You must also ensure that you communicate clearly and respectfully at all times.
- Ability to motivate others
Managers play a critical role in inspiring and motivating their teams. As a manager, your dedication, transparency, and work ethic should encourage your employees to improve. You can build this quality by being an example and consistently affirming the right words at the right time to boost employee morale.
Excellent managers lead by example. They are not afraid to show vulnerability or accept mistakes when they are wrong. Doing this inspires most employees to replicate the same behavior when necessary because they have witnessed it firsthand.
Practicing what you teach and taking responsibility for your actions are simple ways to foster accountability.
Understanding that there are several correct ways to solve problems or achieve goals makes you an outstanding manager and builds flexibility. Being rigid in the workplace will only cause disengagement, so you have to be willing to adapt to different styles of working, coaching, or achieving team goals based on the given circumstance.
Problem-solving is critical, as no one will look up to a manager who can't solve their issues. Great managers are excellent problem solvers, so your ability to solve problems promptly and efficiently reiterates why you are indeed a manager. It gives you a chance to showcase your expertise.
Therefore, you need to constantly look for new challenges and ways to improve your problem-solving skills to stay on top of important issues and provide solutions as they come. The good thing is you don't always have to do it alone or have all the answers. You can seek help from your colleagues, subordinates, or superiors to improve when necessary.
- Giving feedback
An excellent manager frequently provides constructive feedback through direct reports, one-on-one interactions, or routine meetings. Frequent feedback helps you set expectations and let your subordinates know how they perform or if they need improvement. You should also be open to receiving feedback from your team.
Being a good manager doesn't mean being dismissive or hostile. Making yourself available and open for your colleagues or subordinates to seek guidance or clarification without fear is a great way to build this attribute. If you are busy at the time, let them know nicely and ask them to book a more convenient time for you to discuss.
Inspiring managers mostly have a knack for good judgment. They are skilled in making the right decisions that benefit the team. Their choices are usually not biased or influenced by personal gains. A great way to develop this skill is to base your decisions on the following:
- Data or facts obtained by thorough research
- Your experience in the role
- Instincts or "gut feeling" with the team's interest at heart
- Clear vision
Great managers have a clear vision of what they hope to achieve. Setting SMART goals help you and other team members to hone this ability and complete goals better.
- Positive attitude
Your ability to create a positive work environment that boosts your team's morale helps relieve stress or tension in the workplace. A positive attitude also helps you and your team build the right mindset for growth.
Practice focusing on the solution rather than the problem, show appreciation for employees' contributions, and focus on their and your well-being by providing opportunities for work-life balance.
A famous quote says, "patience is a virtue," and we couldn't agree more. A remarkable manager is skilled in keeping a level head and tolerating stressful situations or dealing with difficult people. You can strengthen this skill by being patient with your colleagues or subordinates and open to seeing things from other people's perspectives.
- Listening & empathy
Admirable managers are supportive and compassionate. Know when a team member is facing a downtime personally or professionally and often offer a listening ear when needed without interrupting. Don't be quick to judge or abuse their vulnerability, but open to hearing their concerns or suggestions about you or the workplace.
- Coaching others
Managing people and coaching them go hand-in-hand. As a manager, you are responsible for the growth of your team members and guiding them through making the right career decisions. You can help them identify their strengths or weaknesses and empower them with the right tools or resources to improve their performance.
Being organized significantly affects how well you carry out your duties as a manager. It helps you assign tasks efficiently and set up frameworks or processes to track performance. Thankfully, you can leverage several management tools to help you coordinate team activities seamlessly.
An excellent manager inspires others through their words and actions. To become excellent at managing people, consider the attributes we listed in this article, as they will differentiate you positively from your peers.
Authentic leadership involves connecting with your people and helping them maximize their potential. Not only will these qualities help you become a better manager, but they will also help you bring out the best in the people working with you for the good of your team.
FAQs: About People Management Skills
Why are people management skills important?
These skills are essential for so many reasons, such as:
- Helping teams stay engaged
- Promoting clear and effective communication
- Fostering a healthy work environment
- Increasing employee retention
- Boosting overall productivity and performance
- Building the trust and loyalty of employees
What makes a good people manager?
To consider yourself a good manager means you've earned your subordinates’ trust, respect, and loyalty and can help them fulfill their potential for the company's growth and personal development.
What are the key elements of people management?
There are five elements of people management, popularly known as the 5 C's.
- Create: Create a team with the proper structure, processes, clear goals, boundaries, and tools to achieve success
- Comprehend: Understand your team by noting their personalities, strengths, weaknesses, and what motivates them
- Communicate: Communicate clearly and effectively with room to give and receive constructive feedback from your team members
- Collaborate: Promote teamwork and proper delegation to ensure everyone participates actively
- Confront: Settle differences objectively with emotional intelligence to avoid bias or resentment
How do you develop people management skills?
One significant way to develop these attributes is by being intentional about learning, taking courses, or attending webinars. Another way you can develop these qualities is through practice and active listening.