Remote people management is tricky because it strips away so much of the incidental communication that people management runs on. Here are a few tips for improving your people management while working from home.
What Is People Management, and Why Is It So Important?
In this article, we answer these questions and move on to talk about why and how business leaders should be invested in their company’s people management performance. We also offer some tips for how to practice good people management in a remote working environment.
But people management is about much more than this. At its heart, it’s about paying attention to and caring for employees. This could mean looking after their wellbeing, compassionately helping them overcome stumbling blocks, or inspiring them to do their best work and strive to meet their personal and professional development goals.
- Ensuring that employees are getting the compensation they deserve
- Making sure each employee and team has the resources they need to do what is expected of them (including having enough time to do what they are asked to, or enough team members with whom to share a workload)
- Ensuring that employees have the wellness resources they need to feel safe and happy at work (including, for example, listening and compassion from their manager when they are struggling)
- Helping mediate and resolve conflicts between employees or on a team, or better still, cultivating a communicative and cooperative environment that doesn’t breed conflict
- Going beyond workplace training to help employees develop the confidence and enthusiasm they need to realise their potential
- Helping employees overcome challenges that hamper their job performance
Consider how even an “ideal” hire can be disengaged and unproductive without strong management, while someone who may not be the best fit for their role can develop new skills and do a good job if they have a great manager.
Essential people management skills
People management requires several soft skills, including those that can lead to open and honest communication as well as improved employee experience. Each of these skills can better help you interact with your employees and perform organizational tasks.
1. Empowering employees
Empowering your employees helps them develop new skills and be more productive. It’s important to train new employees well and give them the knowledge and resources they need to perform assigned tasks and continue learning on their own.
2. Active listening
Active listening is the practice of listening to the speaker to fully understand their perspective, question or concern before responding. Active listeners remove distractions, maintain eye contact and offer verbal or non-verbal cues to indicate their engagement and understanding.
When an employee comes to you with a question or issue, use nonverbal cues such as nodding to demonstrate your engagement while they’re speaking. Respond thoughtfully by repeating a summary of your understanding of their message. If you have understood, you can then ask follow-up questions to learn more about what they need. You can also express that you empathize with their experience to further assure them you understand and respect them. These active listening techniques lead to quality people management that promotes positive interactions in the workplace.
Good conflict-resolution skills can help address interpersonal challenges. You can analyze the situation and identify what the causes of the conflict might be. If there’s a miscommunication or differing opinions, you can mediate between opposing parties and help them make a compromise or reach a collective understanding. After mediation, monitor the situation to ensure the conflict is fully resolved and to prevent it from occurring again.
Knowing when to be flexible and when to more firmly direct employees is an important aspect of effective people management. You can demonstrate flexibility in your management style by accommodating individual employee needs—such as adjustable schedules or remote work options—and allowing employees to adjust their individual workflow so they can be as productive as possible. You should assess the results of the employee’s process to ensure its efficiency and to help them revise the process if it can be optimized.
For example, if one of your employees prefers to complete related tasks in batches while another employee moves back and forth between different tasks, analyze each employee’s results. If both employees are their most productive using their respective processes, then you can encourage them to continue using and improving their systems. You may even ask them to demonstrate their individual processes to other employees to optimize the entire team’s workflow. If an employee seems to be struggling with personalizing their process, you can coach them through the standard steps, and help them discover what works best for them.
Patience is an important people management skill that uses kindness, respect and empathy while helping others overcome obstacles. You can use patience when training new employees, teaching new processes, handling conflicts or solving problems. When employees can trust their managers to be patient, they are more likely to ask for clarification to ensure they understand directions and to increase the quality of their work.
For example, if an employee continues asking questions about a single process, you should continue to guide while trying new ways to better communicate your message. Consider providing multiple examples that clarify and demonstrate your instructions, or combine typed instructions with visual diagrams if possible.
6. Clear communication
Communication is a necessary people management skill that enables team members to work together in solving problems, brainstorming new ideas and adapting to new changes. Your ability to clearly communicate with your coworkers can help you be a better team member.
, such as too much information at one time or inaccessible terms. Allow your employees to ask clarifying questions, and directly confirm that each member of your team understands the information so there is no miscommunication.
Trust means believing that you can rely on someone’s abilities, assistance or advice when you need it most. Building trust helps your team work together more efficiently and productively. Teams should be able to trust that their leader supports them and believes in their hard work. Leaders should be able to trust that their team can complete tasks correctly and on time.
You can build trust by reliably performing your tasks and demonstrating technical skills when employees ask for help. You can also promote trust when you provide constructive feedback that helps team members improve their skills and work quality.
Last but not least, the soft skill to be able to appreciate people for the work they do is something that can make a people manager rise to the top. As a people manager, he or she should praise and reward team members for the good job that they do. This can positively impact how employees perceive their work and make them feel grateful for the experience they are getting in the organization.
What is people management?
People management is a part of human resource management that encapsulates all the processes of acquisition, optimization, and retention of talent in the organization. It involves training, directing, and motivating team members to maximize the productivity of the workplace and enhance overall professional growth.
Leaders in a company, namely the team lead, department heads, and managers, leverage people management practices to oversee the flow of tasks and increase the performance of employees on a daily basis. The process looks into how employees work, engage, behave, and attain growth in the business. It is the job of a people manager to provide continual support and lead the way for employees towards success.
A people management system leveraged to manage team members have a significant influence on the overall working of the company. As such, people managers need to adhere to these practices as a holistic puzzle without deviating from the main objective of the business. Effective people management involves providing support for the following:
What is people management?
People management is a broad topic that covers what it means to develop, organize, problem-solve for, and grow the employee side of the business. These skills range from being able to mediate a personality clash between team members to building an effective performance management strategy for a business.
People management is different from performance management in that it extends beyond considerations of employees’ work and instead focuses more broadly on employees’ well-being. While performance management is about the ongoing process of setting and evaluating employee progress against established goals, people management is about enabling employees to solve problems and engage effectively with other team members.
You have a management team because you don’t expect employees to magically come up with and enforce company structure. Similarly, the idea behind people management is that you have managers because you also can’t expect employees to manage their own development, processes, and people problems all on their own.
You can build your people management skills by making small changes in your mindset and your perspective on problems. The management tips that follow will help you think about tweaks you can make in your own process to be a more effective and successful manager.
1. People management starts with listening.
We think of good listening as something that happens between the beginning and end of a conversation: being attentive, making eye contact, taking notes, and waiting for the other person to finish before you start to talk. And those are all parts of the listening skill set that you should practice.
But good listening is essential to the management role, and it starts before you even sit down to talk to an employee. Keys to listening well include keeping an open mind and not jumping to conclusions before or during conversations, according to Dianne Schilling, an expert on emotional intelligence.
This means you can’t assume what an employee is thinking, what their problem is, or what the solution to their problem is – you have to let go of your preconceived notions, and you need to ask them. Even if they think the cause of a problem is obvious, a great manager listens with the intent of understanding as much about the situation as possible; they don’t just barge in with a possible solution. Prep for meetings, but don’t go in thinking you know all the answers.
2. Separate personal problems from organizational ones.
Employees are going to have problems and you are going to have to help solve them. But not all problems are created equal. The root causes of workplace problems often fall into two categories: personal and organizational. They may manifest the same way when talking to one or a few employees, but understanding the difference will save you from a disproportionate response. Treating an organizational problem like a personal one is like putting a bandaid on a broken window. Similarly, treating a personal problem like an organizational one is like remodeling your kitchen to become a better cook.
These problems, when they occur with one (or a few) employees, can be corrected with your people management skills and no significant reorganization. On the other hand, organizational problems are entrenched and can’t be solved by problem-solving one employee’s problem.
These issues stem from inherent problems in the organization of the company. Managers need to use their people management skills to comprehend the organizational problem behind the above problems, while still people-managing to keep employees’ heads above water until the problem is truly fixed.
3. Understand each employee’s purpose.
To communicate with employees and empathize with them, you have to understand what draws them to their role and what joy they derive from their work; i.e., their purpose. Purpose is a huge part of what keeps people satisfied at work and what drives them to succeed and push themselves professionally. Knowing why an employee feels connected to their role and why they’re inspired to be an individual contributor to the business helps you as a manager understand how to help them succeed in a way that also benefits the company.
People want to work on projects where they believe they can do well, and when they’re given the opportunity to do what they do best, they feel more connected to their work. Pinpointing exactly what an employee likes about their role — or why they may be striving for a promotion — allows you to frame solutions in a way that helps employees gain perspective on their larger context in the business.
For example, two engineers are both struggling with a project they work on. One isn’t interested in the end result of the project, and doesn’t feel motivated to complete the work. The other enjoys the project and the collaborative aspect of pair programming, but isn’t getting along at all with their pair programming partner.
Being transparent and open is one of the best ways to build trust with your employees. It shows them you are being honest with them and not hiding any information. If you want to be transparent, you need good communication skills and to make good use of your data. Tell your employees what is happening instead of letting them find out on the grapevine. Make sure you communicate why you have made a decision, ideally by providing data and analysis.
Tip: Use HR software that has an employee portal, so everyone can access relevant information at the same time, even if they aren’t in the office. SentricHR provides a news feed within its employee portal, which displays the latest news and company activity.
The type of support you give for these personal concerns may be different from the support you give for business matters, but the result is the same: inspiration to continue doing their job to the best of their ability.
20 People Management Skills Every Manager Needs To Succeed
A big part of being a successful manager is leveraging your experience and technical skills to get the job done. But those two factors are really only half of the story. Your success as a manager will primarily depend on “soft skills” that are easy to take for granted. What are these talents that mean more than experience and technical prowess combined? Three words: people management skills.
You can assess your own people management skills by simply asking yourself the following question: “How well do I work with others?” But when you try and get to the specifics of what it means to be an effective team member , the insight often breaks down into generalities such as, “She’s likable,” or, “He’s got a good personality.”
11) Leadership Skills
One of the most important people management skills you can develop is the ability to lead effectively. Effective leaders motivate their team to do great things. Ineffective leaders often have undermotivated, underperforming, disengaged teams.
But, like all the skills on this list, you can develop and strengthen your leadership skills. All it takes is an understanding of what motivates your team members, a willingness to make improvements, and plenty of practice.
Don’t feel overwhelmed if you’re not doing any of these things right now. Choose one and work on it until it becomes a habit. Then choose another trait from the list and practice it for a few weeks. Take it one step at a time and your leadership skills will improve dramatically.
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