10 Tips for Better People Management

In order to successfully run a business, you need to be adept at managing your people. This is because, in a lot of businesses, you need a team to get things done. Poor management can make or break a business.

In this article we discuss tips you can use to get better at people management. 

Be accessible

In order to get better at people management, you have to be accessible to your team. This isn’t just about having an ‘open door policy’ where the door is open but employees are still afraid to come and knock. Being accessible involves reaching out and talking to staff.

Don’t wait for there to be a problem to call a team member into your office for a chat. While scheduled check ins are advisable, you can ask an employee how they are doing at any time.

It also means a willingness to check in on areas outside of work. If a member of staff has a child who has graduated, show you care by saying ‘Congratulations’. Building habits like this will make a manager more approachable, making it easy for staff to speak up when they need anything or when they make a mistake. 

Learn to say no

Being accessible can lead to a closer bond with workmates. However that doesn’t mean you can’t say no or make choices that do not suit everyone. Being a manager who can’t say no is a recipe for burnout, unfair workloads for some people and all round poor decision making. 

Arm yourself with conflict management skills

Better people management requires a skillset in conflict management and resolution. In a healthy work place, ideas will push against each other and this might create conflict. Conflict might also be of a personal nature. Without conflict management, situations can be left to fester and this can result in a toxic work environment. 

Keep learning

Whether through attending seminars, workshops or courses, keep learning in order to improve your people management skills. Arm yourself with resources and follow industry leaders’ tips on the topic.

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There is an increase of millennial workers and the entrance of gen z into the workplace and this workforce has different needs. Managers who wish to remain good at their jobs need to expand their knowledge base to be able to effectively manage the new generations of workers. 

Support your team in learning

As you advance your skills, remember that your team members need to do the same. To be better at people management, avail and create opportunities for learning for your people. Career stagnation can affect both morale and productivity. 

When you support people to learn you show that you care about their advancement and that you value quality output. Skills advancement can be done through new certifications, workplace rotations, workshops and more. 

Make growth a priority

Now that your team has upgraded their skills, where do they go? Skilling people and not promoting them, giving them new responsibilities and new challenges is a recipe for training them for their next employer. A lack of growth is one of the reasons people leave their jobs in search of greener pastures. 

In small businesses in particular, it might be hard to offer promotions. However, you can offer new responsibilities. Give an employee the task to head the next campaign, manage the newest client or implement their big idea. 

Be flexible 

Flexibility is a wide encompassing area. It covers being open to doing things differently. From changing meeting formats, surprising employees with a 4 day week with and adapting ways of working that are more equitable for everyone. 

Employees crave flexible schedules that give them more control of both their home and work lives. Being open to this will result in more fulfilled and thus more productive employees. 

Flexibility also means being willing to bend a few rules if it is for the greater good. This might be a hard call to make but a leader should be able use their judgment to ascertain if the risk is worth it. 

Rewards are a big motivator, don’t skip them 

It is hard to manage people who do not feel appreciated. They are not motivated to do a good job or to exceed their targets because whether they do or they do not, their efforts will not be noticed. Recognizing and rewarding your employees’ efforts is a key step in better people management. 

To make it easier for people to do great work, clarify goals and set milestones. Recognize the team or top performers at every milestone. This will energize your team to keep going and achieve the end goal. 

Cash is a good reward but not all rewards need to be costly. It is also beneficial to have some input from your team on what they would like as a reward. Remember, be flexible. While one person would like a work from home day every week for a month, another might appreciate drinks out with colleagues. 

Welcome feedback

Better people management includes treating feedback as a priority. Listen to people. Ask questions and seek clarity. It isn’t just about making someone feel heard. If you have committed to do something after the conversation, do so.

Be prepared to receive negative feedback as well. Aim to understand how you can improve when it is shared. Being able to take feedback will also help in managing other people like clients and bosses. 

It’s okay to be vulnerable 

As a manager or leader, there is a lot on your shoulders and it might be hard to get everything right all of the time. Some things will inevitably fall through the cracks, there will be things you do not know, and situations that are hard to navigate will come up.

When this happens, it is okay to be vulnerable with your staff and tell them you do not have the answers. According to vulnerability expert Brene Brown, this makes for healthier workplaces. 

In Summary

Better people management requires curiosity, openness and a willingness to learn. These 10 tips can be implemented in any industry and in workplaces of all sizes. The rewards for better people management include happier, more productive employees and managers too. 


Gerald Ainomugisha

Gerald Ainomugisha

Gerald is a freelance writer with a pen that is keen for entrepreneurship, business and technology. When he isn't writing insightful articles on employee engagement and corporate culture, Gerald can be found writing for a number of media outlets.