Top Tips: Managing your People

There are thousands of articles available online, based on a range of management and leadership gurus and different philosophies, but here are a few of our favourite pointers for good people management:

  1. Maintain Good Communication

Employees want to be kept in the loop about ongoing projects, goals, and deadlines, so it’s essential that you communicate well with them and inform them about goings-on within the company. It’s also essential that you encourage feedback and that your staff feel that they can approach you with any questions or issues they want to address, so making yourself accessible to your staff is critical.

  1. Be Available and be Visible

The more involved and engaged you are with your team, the more motivated they will be to do a good job. People like being a part of something bigger than themselves and they also need to know that there’s a captain at the helm of the ship.

  1. Listen More than you Talk

You have one mouth and two ears for a reason.  Use them in those proportions! The more you listen to your people the more information they will give you. When you listen more you:

  • Get more employee suggestions
  • Find more opportunities to give feedback
  • Increase your understanding of each employee and what drives them
  • Build stronger professional relationships with your employees
  • Improve your ability to influence change
  1. Build Positive Working Relationships

It’s important to get to know members of your team individually, not only on a professional level but on a more personal level too. When you put the effort in to get to know a bit more about how your colleagues are doing and what they are interested in, it will build a much better rapport among the team.  Spend time with every employee and get to know their jobs, career goals, strengths and weaknesses, likes, and dislikes but don’t stop there. If you also get to know the names of their children and pets, where they live, and anything else that’s important to them you’ll build a solid foundation of trust.  Above all, treat every employee with respect.  You may be in a superior position but you are not superior to anyone. Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect and if you waiver from this you’ll end up losing more than your own self-respect.

  1. Support your Employees

Do you regularly ask ‘How are you?’ Listen when your employees ask for help? Give people a chance to shine? Give them time to train so that they can do their job effectively? Are you sensitive to the pressures on employees both in and out of work?

  1. Ask Employees for their Views

Do you involve employees in decision making? Encourage employees to come up with ideas? Act upon feedback received, or explain why you haven’t if you don’t? Ensure you work as a team.  Use the Four Magic Words: “What do you Think?”   This is a favourite quote from management guru Tom Peters. Asking your employees for their ideas is the ultimate display of respect and empowers them to solve their own problems.

  1. Help your Employees Understand what they Need to do and Deal with Performance Issues

Do you set goals? Give feedback on performance? Provide regular opportunities to speak one to one? How else do you communicate with them?  Don’t sweep under performance under the carpet.  Other members of your team will notice and it will impact your credibility if you don’t deal with employees who are not performing up to standard.

  1. Always Give Negative Feedback in Private

Feel free to give praise frequently and in public, however always give negative feedback in private – no matter how small or trivial the feedback is. Your people are more likely to listen to negative feedback given in private and are more likely to be defensive when the feedback is given publicly.  Your people will respect you for being discreet.

  1. Delegate Jobs to the Right People

Part of why it is vital that you establish a relationship with your team and get to know them individually is so you can assess what their strengths are. People perform better and are more engaged in roles where they feel they are employing their best skills, so delegating proper functions that suit each will have a significant impact on the productivity of the team.  Also, ensure you learn to let go of the details – focus on the big picture and what your employees are accomplishing on a daily basis and whether or not they are meeting their goals. Remember, you’re not being paid to do your team’s job so leave the minutia up to your staff.

  1. Acknowledge Good Work

Don’t be one of these bosses who only gives feedback when you’ve got something to criticise! By providing your staff with positive feedback it will help to build their confidence and encourage them to get more involved in the future, so it’s vital that you acknowledge their achievements and the effort that they are putting in. Encourage creativity and ensure that everyone is clear about what is expected of them.

  1. Be Real

Your team doesn’t expect you to be superhuman, so if you’re feeling the pressure and need a helping hand, don’t be afraid to admit it and if you make a mistake, own up! By showing the human side of yourself and allowing your staff to get to know you a bit better, your team will feel more relaxed and comfortable approaching you.

  1. Be Decisive

A good leader needs to be able to assert their authority and make important decisions for the team. There is no space for flakiness in a leadership role, so it’s crucial that you stick to your guns and go with what you feel is best the business.

  1. You’re a Boss, not a Friend 

One of the most frequent mistakes managers make is that they try to be friends with their team.  This is especially hard when you get promoted over your peers, and you’re now managing friends who were once peers. You’re now in a position of authority and being friends with one employee and not another can create perceptions of bias and favouritism. You can be friends outside of the office, but while in the office, keep the interaction professional.

  1. Keep your Emotions in Control

Managing people is an activity reserved exclusively for those who are emotionally stable. The best leaders remain calm in all situations whilst the worst managers allow their emotions to control their behaviour.  Be business like, emotional decisions are poor decisions.  If you shout and yell you will lose the respect of your people and without respect you cannot lead.

  1. Manage Conflict

When there is conflict in the workplace, it should not be ignored. Turning a blind eye could lead to a negative atmosphere, which could have implications for staff productivity and communication among the team may suffer. When an issue arises, it’s crucial that it is addressed straight away before it builds.

  1. Set a Good Example

Your staff will look to you for guidance and inspiration, so it’s essential that you set a good example to gain their respect. If you expect them to behave professionally and commit to their work, it’s vital that you do so yourself. Make sure that you are doing your job, continuing to develop your career and support your team in doing so too.  Act as a good role model.

And finally……

  1. Have Fun at Work

Fun is not something reserved for outside the work environment, work should have a degree of fun about it, whilst remaining inclusive and professional. You can have a 5 minute fun activity at the start of your team meetings, organise charity fundraising activities, sporting challenges or quizzes – the opportunities are endless.  We spend a lot of time at work and it should be enjoyable if we’re all to give our best.

For help and support on managing your people, please contact:

Adam Davey, Director – Petaurum Solutions

July 2018

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