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19 Expert Tips for Managing People at Work

Company Culture
October 25, 2021
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A whopping 76 percent of job seekers say their boss is 'toxic,' negatively impacting the way they work, motivating them to search for a new job. We’re going to discuss what makes a good manager, the right tools to succeed and the skills needed when managing people at work.

What Makes a Good Manager at Work?

As you know, managing people at work extends beyond delegating tasks and adhering to deadlines. However many managers believe that this is what makes good management. 

While these are necessary skills of a manager, what makes a good manager is their self-awareness and commitment to improving their leadership skills. Sticking to deadlines and completing tasks is important for a company's growth, but they cannot be achieved without the right support from management. 

As much as management revolves around fulfilling specific duties, it's also based on understanding staff dynamics to create a strong working environment. Having the ability to motivate staff, mediate between team members and embrace constructive feedback is what nurtures a productive and positive workplace environment. 

Not only are these qualities of a good manager, but these are qualities that focus on what matters: supporting staff wellbeing and mental health, treating people like people. 

What is People Management at Work?

Your staff determine the success of your business. Which is why, it's crucial to develop a strong team and learn how to manage conflict. While technical skills in management are important, soft skills like communication, trust, active listening, and empathy create the foundation for a positive work environment that supports employee wellbeing and mental health.

This is where people management is a powerful tool. It focuses on teaching managers how to develop, organize, problem-solve and grow their team while placing employee wellbeing and mental health at the forefront. People management skills can range from knowing how to mediate between clashing personalities within the team to increasing employee motivation

Why are Good People Management Skills Important?

As a manager, there are two things you know, and it's that people come with different backgrounds and work ethics. When managing people at work, you need to understand your team, what motivates them, and make the most out of their combined skills. But you're not going to achieve that by delegating tasks and deadlines. 

To help your team reach their full potential, you can use a range of people management skills to increase motivation by supporting their wellbeing and mental health. If you’re unsure of the wellbeing of your employees, a wellbeing tool can give you real time insight into your employee’s mental health, helping you make decisions that improve employee mood, increasing motivation and productivity.

What are Tips for Managing People at Work?

Whether you’re a first-time or seasoned manager, there are always new techniques to try out. Managing people at work effectively doesn’t come with a one-size-fits-all approach. Here are some tips to improve personal management skills. 

1. Manage Your Work First

As a manager, your role is to oversee your team. However, you need to make your work is a priority. If not, your own wellbeing and mental health will be at stake. It’s a fine balance that you need to work on. So, give yourself a section of the day where you focus on completing your tasks. 

2. Know Your Team: Understand their Purpose

Managing people at work extends beyond delegating tasks and deadlines. You need to know who you’re managing. Take time to learn the different personalities in your team, adjusting your management techniques to each team member. 

Learn what motivates your team, how they like to work, and what’s preventing them from reaching their potential. If you’re unsure, using a wellbeing tool can help you identify real time issues, giving you the opportunity to take proactive steps to maintain employee motivation and mental health. 

3. Delegate

If there’s one skill of a manager you’ve encountered on a daily basis, it’s delegating tasks. While it can be hard to let go of important tasks, it’s crucial to allow yourself to trust your team. 

Once you understand the strengths and weaknesses of your team members, you’ll feel more comfortable delegating tasks to people who match the required skill set. However, make sure when delegating tasks, you clearly define the expectations to eliminate stress and anxiety. 

4. Communication

While you’ve told your team they can contact you with any questions or concerns, it could be that you haven’t had too many reach out to you. 

Don’t wait for them; take the initiative to reach out to your team members, helping them foster open communication with you and their fellow team members. Show them the channels for communication and check up on your team, encouraging communication.

5. Clear Workflows

All businesses need structure. By mapping out your workflow processes, you create a clear path for management and staff to follow. Having streamlined workflows minimizes room for errors, reduces micromanagement, and increases communication. 

This way it enables the transparency of processes and accountability. In addition, you identify redundant tasks, helping your staff focus their attention on what matters. It also facilitates teams to optimise the processes in their work to save time and make improvements.

6. Set Clear Goals & Measurable Objectives

A successful team knows where they’re going and why they are going there. As a manager, your role is to set broad ambitious goals for your team to reach. 

Using OKR’s (Objectives and Key Results) helps to set clear goals with defined measurable outcomes that show progress towards achieving them. As a manager you should set the destination whilst giving your team the autonomy and guidelines to figure out how to get there. OKR’s are a great goal setting framework to help you with this.

7. Consistent Leadership

Your team needs to trust you. To gain your team’s trust and respect, you need to be consistent in your leadership. If you say you’re going to do something, follow through with it. While your management techniques may vary to each team member, hold everyone to the same standards - no favoritism. Through this consistency, you’ll gain their trust and boost employee morale. 

8. Positive Reinforcement

To boost employee morale and confidence, reward team members with positive reinforcement. If an employee is accomplishing high-quality work, be vocal and celebrate their success with the team. 

Identify what motivates your team and use it as positive reinforcement. It could be verbal praise, monetary reward, etc. However, make sure not to show favoritism, this has the opposite effect on employees.

By krakenimages from Unsplash

9. Honest Feedback

Managing people at work can be a challenge, especially when it comes to employee feedback. While it may not be comfortable, one of the qualities of a good manager is honesty. 

When providing feedback to an employee, it’s important to be honest about their strengths and weaknesses. While you should be honest, the key is to deliver feedback encouragingly, using it as an opportunity for growth. 

10. Resolve Conflicts

When there’s a group of people working together, there’s bound to be conflicts. Naturally, how you interact with your employees is important; however, the interaction between employees is equally significant. 

Interpersonal conflicts can shift employee morale and motivation, reducing productivity and spread throughout the team. Adopting a wellbeing tool can help you identify the mood within the team in real time, enabling you to proactively resolve conflict. It can also give employees the resources and knowledge to self diagnose their own issues and resolve things themselves.

11. Ask for Input Within Open Ended Questions

It’s important to ask your employees open-ended questions. If you don’t allow your team to share their thoughts with you, you’ll be disconnected from their needs and concerns. 

By asking open ended questions, it gives support to employees and encourages them to be more open and transparent. A very simple way to start any catch up meeting and really get to the heart of any problem an employee may have is to simply ask “what is on your mind”. This will encourage the employee to say the most important thing that they are struggling with. 

To conclude a meeting and start the learning process for employees, a great way to wrap up a meeting is to ask “what was the most useful thing from today’s meeting?”. This will encourage your team to create learning moments and help you better monitor their progress.

Be appreciative of their openness and honesty while strongly considering their feedback and looking at ways to resolve their issues. 

12. Be Flexible

Managing people at work can be through many different leadership styles. However, one of the qualities of a good manager is flexibility and the ability to adjust the leadership style to the team. People respond in different ways. Some may need more support, others may need to be encouraged regularly. 

While you may think your team responds to targets and incentives, they may respond best to autonomy. By discovering what motivates your team, you’ll be able to get the best out of them. But this will require flexibility on your side.

To be flexible you need to be able to understand what motivates different people, and adjust or change that approach if it's not working. Your job is simply to support your team to be motivated and to help them grow. This can be challenging, so be patient, and be ready to adjust and allow for mistakes.

13. Meet Your Expectations

As a manager, you need to lead by example and live by the standards you instill in your team. A good starting point is to communicate with everyone the actions you are taking to help the team achieve its goals. 

This will show your dedication to the project and team by following the same deadlines and expectations that you also set on them. 

14. Frequent Check-In’s even when Nothing is Wrong

Your presence in the office matters, even when you think everything is running smoothly. By frequently checking in, you can gauge your team's wellbeing, identify any issues and make adjustments to help them achieve their goals. 

By regularly checking in with your employees, you're taking preventative measures to maintain employee motivation and morale. 

15. Listen & See Through Others Eyes

Are you really listening? When managing people at work, you have a million things going on in your mind, so it can be challenging to sit down and actively listen to your employees. However, while there are many important business skills, listening is the most important one. 

A great manager listens. Make eye contact, be attentive, and wait for the other people to finish before you begin talking. While listening, keep an open mind and don't jump to conclusions.

16. Separate Personal Problems

There are two types of problems: personal and organizational. An organizational problem extends past the employee and is a foundational issue of the company. In contrast, a personal problem can be treated with your people management skills. 

Take a step back and try to identify the source of the problem;  this will help you decide the next step to take. A wellbeing tool can help identify this if needed.

17. Balance Praise and Criticism

It’s all about balance, especially when it comes to employee feedback. One survey found that 44 percent of managers said giving negative feedback was stressful, but 40 percent of the same group never gave positive reinforcement. 

While constructive criticism is essential for growth, so is praise. When providing constructive feedback, focus on helping employees find solutions and know when to give praise. 

18. Get Help When Needed

When managing people at work, it can feel like it’s all on your shoulders. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. No matter how big or small your company is, there’s always help around. 

As an employee yourself, you also need to protect your mental health and wellbeing. Employee wellbeing training courses and self diagnosis tools can really help with this. Also seek the opinions and help of your fellow staff members because they’re there to help you.

19. Be Human

No matter what position you have in the company, at the end of the day, you’re human. So, be human. Get to know your team - their family background, who they live with, where they live. 

This information will help you understand their life outside the office, giving you the opportunity to help protect their personal time. Take the time to understand someone’s personal circumstances so you can make adjustments and support them, rather than adding to their challenges. For example, if they have children that attend preschool, allowing flexibility in their work schedule can help alleviate the stress of balancing work and life.

By Lagos Techie from Unsplash

What People Management Skills Are Best?

While there are numerous people management skills, which ones are the best to have when managing people at work? Here are the 7 skills you should have as a manager.

1. Trust

In any relationship, trust is key. As a manager, your employees need to feel they can trust you and vice versa. To foster a trusting work environment, learn to step back and ease up on micro-managing your team. To achieve this, communicate the objective clearly, outline the expectations and give a space for them to try and achieve the goal, without you being prescriptive on the how. This is true autonomy..

2. Motivate

Not every task is exciting, but as a manager, you need to inspire your team forward. Show your team why the less exciting tasks need to be completed and how they impact the overall goals of the project/company.

3. Patience

Managing people at work isn't easy, and if things aren't going the way you'd like, frustration can occur. However, as a manager, you need to be patient. When a stressful situation occurs, stay rational, control your reaction and behave calmly. Take a couple of breaths before responding to your team. 

4. Give Credit

No one likes having their credit given to someone else, if anything, it fuels resentment and lowers employee morale. As a manager, be aware of what your team is working on, the individual tasks, and give credit where it's due especially outwardly to the rest of the organisation. There is nothing worse than a leader who takes credit for their team's work. 

5. Problem Solving

Problem-solving is one of the most important skills a manager needs to have as there are always problems that need to be solved. Take preventative steps by using a wellbeing tool that helps identify employee mood in real time. By doing so, you can spot problems early on and maintain your employee’s wellbeing, mental health and ultimately productivity and focus.

6. Accountability

As a manager, you're responsible for your work and the work of your employees. Being a good manager means taking accountability when things go wrong and taking little credit when they go right. Your employees will appreciate it and return the favor. By showing your team that you support them through the good and bad, you’ll increase trust and employee morale. 

7. Positivity

Your attitude is contagious, so it’s vital you spread a positive attitude rather than a negative one. As a manager, you need to focus on maintaining employee morale and motivation. Look to reduce employee stress and anxiety in the office, and identify early problems within the team. 

Wrap Up

Managing people at work, as you know, isn't an easy task. However, with the right techniques and tools, you can improve your management skills and the wellbeing of your employees. Whatever techniques you choose to implement, remember the key is understanding your employees' needs and mental wellbeing to foster an environment that encourages empathy and positivity. 

An employee wellbeing platform can significantly help you improve employee wellbeing, maintain motivation and morale, and increase workplace productivity. 

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