One of the top soft skills every leader needs is people management. Understanding this is very important in achieving increased productivity in leadership and also achieving the right relationship with your employees. Although people management is often categorized under the human resources department in most organizations, every leader should know how to manage people.
People management is the act of building teams, organizing employees, and building them up in the right way and culture of the company. The goal of people management is to train employees and empower them to the point of maximum efficiency. To get the best of any of your employees, you need them to be at their best when they are working for you. To achieve this, you need to understand people management.
Contrary to what some leaders believe, people management is not about controlling people or ordering them around to do your every bidding or expecting complete obedience and submission from them. Rather, it is about reaching to the heart of employees and building in them the desire and willingness to work. People management is critical to your job success as a leader and here are a few things you can pay attention to in order to enhance your people management skills.
1. Careful Observation: Human beings can be difficult to read sometimes. As a leader, you need to be able to read your employees. This can only be done by careful and continuous observation. Hiring employees, assessing performance, assigning tasks, delegating responsibilities, empowering employees, and sacking employees are all organizational tasks that require a high level of people management.
Observing your employees over a long period gives you the chance to know them, understand their unique strengths and weaknesses. Give them tasks and watch how they perform. Note which tasks they have difficulty delivering and which ones they perform quickly. All these speak to the kind of person every employee is and all this information is needed in ensuring that they are at their best while working for you. If you want to know your employees and want to know how to manage them rightly, then observe them.
2. Good Communication: a follow-up step needed after careful observation is good and effective communication. Communication is the bedrock of any relationship that will last and fulfill its intended purpose. Once you’ve observed your employees enough and you know all there is to know, now is the time to begin to engage them in conversations based on what you’ve observed about them and their work.
To be effective at managing people, you have to be effective at communicating with them. You need to know how to instruct your employees and assign tasks to them, listen to their opinions, and also communicate yours. Communication is not just about talking. It is about both listening and talking. Ensure that you pay attention to what your employees are also saying.
Your communication skill is also closely linked to your persuasion skills. As a leader, you need to be able to convince your employees to listen to your ideas and work with them. You will not achieve this by commandeering absolute obedience. You need to be able to persuade with your communication.
3. Emotional Intelligence: human beings are emotional beings. Managing people means dealing with emotional beings. You need emotional intelligence to navigate this aspect of leadership and people management.
Skills like empathy are part of what makes up emotional intelligence. You need to be able to feel what your team members are feeling, to be able to understand their emotions, how this may be affecting their productivity at work and how you can be of help.
A good example would be an employee going through a divorce. As a leader, you need to bring in your knowledge of emotional intelligence and show empathy. While you need the employee to be at their best for the productivity of the entire team, you also need them to be fine, for their good. Showing your employees that you care more about them during their time of need is a crucial part of people management, one that is needed for effective leadership.
There is no one-size-fits-all manual for people management. It is unique to every leader and their team. You have to carefully study all the tips above and many others to determine how they fit into your company’s plan and how you can execute them for better people and employee management.