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People Management in 2020: Skills for Building a Better Workplace

People management is the key to creating a comfortable, productive, and competent workplace. We explain the skills needed for it.

Companies that invest time and energy in effective people management build a workplace that helps employees thrive and shine.

Effective people management ensures that managers spend less time filing incident reports, and more time ensuring tasks are completed and the company is stable.

We look at the skills you need to incorporate a successful people management system in your company in 2020.

Strong Communication Skills

Communication is an important part of working life but it becomes more so the higher up the corporate ladder one goes. A manager needs to be able to communicate with their team on multiple levels.

For one, managers regularly hold meetings with their entire team, or parts of their team. They need to be able to create an agile meeting agenda so everyone is on the same page and meetings don’t meander.

Being a manager also means communicating with higher-ups, whether a campaign has gone well or badly.

You are on the front line if things go wrong, so you need to be able to take a hit, without wanting to throw your team under the bus.

Communicating the needs of higher management to your team, and vice versa is at the core of people management. It’s a skill that you can hone over time but it should be a priority for managers.

Ability to Encourage Feedback

Communicating isn’t a one-way street—managers need to be able to instil confidence in their teams to share their thoughts and concerns.

Feedback is necessary for a company to grow and for a workplace to feel functional and comfortable.

There are creative feedback tools that teams can use to communicate and give each other tips, and they should be used by all businesses.

Feedback makes everyone better—sharing opinions may lead to the team’s ability to write quality content or to catch mistakes before they happen.

Create a collaborative and feedback-rich environment to make the workplace better.

Listening to Employees

Encouraging feedback is one thing, but are you actually listening to your employees? People management is about collaboration and that won’t happen if people don’t listen to each other.

Perhaps your team feels like they aren’t getting the right tools or software to do their job. A manager needs to be open to hearing this feedback and acting on it by bringing in SaaS tools or project management software.

Listen to what your team says and give them solutions—you don’t need to do it immediately, but let them know that you will be working on the problem.

And try to explain to them why a certain request hasn’t gone through—don’t let people think that you’ve forgotten about them.

Organisational Skills

A manager needs to be organised to ensure that the departments they are in charge of—whether its content management or inventory management—run smoothly throughout the year.

It isn’t possible to keep an eye on everything—but you should ask for regular updates through the team chat or via email.

When it comes to being organised, many managers veer a bit too close to micro-managing. This should be avoided. Your team knows how to do their job—they need encouragement and direction, not to be belittled.

Ability to Resolve Conflicts

This is probably one of the toughest parts of people management. Workplaces are busy spaces and can be quite tense—as a result, conflicts tend to arise.

Most of the time, workplace conflicts blow over fairly quickly—two colleagues don’t agree on something but one of them eventually sees the light and comes over to the other’s side.

But conflict can often become serious—if someone is being belligerent, or dangerous, you need to step in. Try arbitrating between the parties to bring about some resolution. If that isn’t possible, you may have to bring HR into the matter.

Conflict resolution and crisis management aren’t easy but they are an essential part of workplace life.

Flexible Mindset

Flexibility has become extremely important in the modern age—the workplace is no longer the rigid 9-5 that it used to be.

People have varying ideas about how something like email deliverability or social media scheduling should work, and managers need to be open to those ideas.

Additionally, there are numerous kinds of people in the workplace now—more genders, ethnicities, abilities, and orientations have fought their way to representation.

Effective people management will ensure that everyone feels comfortable within the work environment but that marginalised communities should not feel like the workplace isn’t for them.

Sensitivity training is in order for all staff members, but especially for management.

Empathy

People who have no empathy for others make terrible managers, and terrible people, in general. You shouldn’t have to have experienced something to care about it—the fact that someone else is going through personal or professional trials should be evidence enough.

Managers need to have empathy if they are to create a trusting environment for their team. If an employee has a sick family member, they should be granted leave or the flexibility to change their timings.

If someone needs to work from home for their mental health, a manager should have no qualms granting their request.

Empathy is what helps human beings connect with each other—it should be a requirement of people management.

Motivational

Managers need to be able to motivate their teams to be their best selves, but to also push their own boundaries, whether they are working on lead generation ideas or trying to make a brochure.

The daily tasks sort themselves out but the way to grow a business is by encouraging teams to do more, and to try new things.

A good manager will be able to motivate their team to do more than they have been able to, whether their attempts are successful or not.

Summing Up

People management is the best way to keep teams together and workplaces happy. A manager who is a good people person will find it easier to manage their employees and see more long-term success.

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